"In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy."
~~William Blake

Hi all,

Well, I didn't want to do this again but I'm not feeling well and really don't have the patience to deal with my computer which seems to hate me today.  So here's another excerpt from my still-in-progress story.  I only have one full day and an epilogue left to write for it.  Apologies in advance for the awkward cliffhanger but it seemed like the most obvious place to break it off.

God bless,


That evening, Takoda stood off to the side during the Friends' Bible study which was doubling as Zeke's birthday celebration.  Since it was the first one in a long while that Joshua had attended in the flesh, it had turned mostly into a Q and A session... with cake and ice cream.

While the angel listened, he couldn't keep his mind from wandering back to Joshua's lunchtime conversation with Raheem.  It reminded Takoda of the stories that Wahkan had told him.  He'd spoken of people who had been massacred when the Europeans had come to the "new world."  Some had been told of an angry god who demanded they turn to him and kneel to his cross or risk eternal, fiery torment.  But then they had come face to face with Joshua... the true God... a God who resembled them more than He did their persecutors.  In Him, they'd found rest, they'd found home. 

Takoda was confident that, when the time came, Raheem would take Joshua's hand just as he had that morning.  And he would enter Heaven with a smile for his old friend... the Rabbi Yeshua who still lived... and taught.

"But what do we say to our friends and fellow Christians when they bring up the Bible's apparent condemnation of gay people?" Shane inquired of Joshua.

"You remind them that the Hebrew Scriptures are filled with laws that they freely disregard claiming they are no longer under the Law.  Why do they hold so tightly to those that they feel reference gay relationships?  They also need to consider the historical context in which those words were written... just as they need to do with my prohibition of divorce.  While many have come to understand that I wasn't condemning the more egalitarian divorce system that exists today... rather a biased, cruel, unforgiving system... they need to understand that those passages... of which there are remarkably few... do not refer to loving, committed unions.  They refer to orgies tied to the worship of idols and rape... including the rape of boys and young men by those who were much more powerful.  The worship of idols leads to greater evil.  And rape is evil.  If I truly felt that consensual, committed sex between two men or two women was abhorrent, don't they think I could have found sixty seconds within three years to give voice to that?  Don't they think I could have bribed Mattay or Yohannan to include it in their books?"

The group chuckled. 

Joshua smiled before continuing.

"They'll often bring up Sodom...  When they do, urge them to reread Ezekiel 16:49.  'Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.'  That was their sin...  A couple of guys building their life together was definitely not their sin.  Speaking of..."  Joshua turned to Owen and Graham.  "Would you please set a date already?"

Owen laughed and threw up his hands.

"I would!  He's the one with the ridiculous schedule!"

"I know!  I know!" Graham admitted.  "But we will.  Soon."

Joshua winked at them.

"You'll know when the time is right."

"So... when Owen and Graham get married, are you gonna be the person to wed them?" Zelda asked.

Joshua chuckled and shook his head.

"And cheat Mike out of something he's been looking forward to?!  No way!  But Owen and Graham know I'll be there."

"Well, that's a relief!" Fr. Mike teased.

Graham grinned.

"While I'm sure Joshua would do an amazing job... he's right.  We did already ask Fr. Mike."

"And the marriage will be recognized in the El-Chananite Church!" Kyle boasted.

"Which means a lot to us," Owen confirmed before gazing at Joshua.  "But even moreso knowing you'll be there."

"Always," Joshua vowed, beaming at the affianced men.  "Now... who's next...  Isra?"

"I've wondered...  And I wondered it a lot before... before Behnam converted...  Are there any people barred from Heaven?" she softly inquired.

Joshua approached and squeezed the woman's hand.

"Barred?  No.  It's not my will that anyone be eternally separated from me and it's certainly not Dad's will.  Have some chosen to stay apart from us?  Yes.  But the separation is enforced by them... not by me.  And sometimes... sometimes that separation isn't lasting.  You know what happened with Yehuda."

"I've heard all about him," Isra confirmed.  "So moving..."

"Yes...  Very much so.  I'm so glad to have my friend back."  Joshua's eyes moistened with tears of joy.

"Speaking of Yehuda...  How is he doing with the other apostles now that they’ve been reunited?  With his parents?  With the Father?" Zeke fired off.

Joshua laughed.

"The guys are thrilled to have Yehuda back!  Cephas' first words to him were 'Took you long enough, old friend.'  That meant a lot to him.  They've had several good, long talks and now, happily, it's like the good ol' days but even better.  His parents, wife, and children are, of course, over-joyed and are still showing him all the little corners of Heaven that they've come to love.  And Dad... Dad's just happy to have another of His sons back.  It was hard for Yehuda to face Him at first... harder even than facing me.  But they're good.  It's good."

"I'm so glad," Zeke murmured.

"He asks about you sometimes, Zeke.  In fact, I'm very sure he's wishing you a happy birthday.  And he remembers all that you, Peter, and Emma did for him.  One day, he'll have quite the story to tell you all."  Joshua glanced above and smiled.

"And... one day...  I'll gladly hear it."  Emma smiled gently as she recalled the man.  "And I'm sure the others have so much to tell, too!  Speaking of... will you ever bring some of the Twelve down to earth like John?"

"Yehuda's definitely not ready for a comeback.  At least not yet," Joshua explained.  "But some of them have expressed interest so, yes, you'll meet some of them in time.  Mattay, in particular, is anxious to get his hands on a computer.  He still can't believe that nowadays many people file their taxes without ever having to meet with anyone!"

"Or even sign anything!  It all happens with the click of a few buttons," Roger mused.  "I think I'd really like Mattay.  Seems like an interesting guy!"

Joshua chuckled.

"That he definitely is!"

"Joshua... do you miss the Superstar days more, or do you like the present, or even the future better?" Kylie inquired as she swayed with baby Felix.

Joshua drew near and stroked the little boy's head.

"You know, all times contain great beauty and love for me... but, of course, they contain painful moments, too.  The good always outweighs the bad.  Among our group, I do miss our early days... those were and remain so special to me.  But I prefer these moments when you all know who I am and I can speak freely to you about your lives without potentially seeming like a creepy psychic guy.  Plus... think of all the little ones who have joined us since.  And the bigger ones."

Those for whom the Superstar days were merely beloved stories all smiled at hearing this.

"And the future..." Joshua continued.  "Even in my currently limited view of it... I know there will be trying, heartbreaking moments.  But I also know we'll have great joy and ever increasing amounts of love."

"And we'll never be alone," Kylie cooed to the child and to herself.

"Never," Joshua promised.

"Joshua... I have a pressing question," Logan announced.

Seeing the glint in his eyes, Joshua grinned.

"And that is?"

"Is Bigfoot real?"

Laughing, Joshua shook his head.

"No comment!  If I answer then the mystery is gone!"

"Well then...  Evolution, creationism, or both?" Logan asked, half-joking.

Joshua ceased chuckling just long enough to let out a dramatic sigh.

"You can hardly expect an artist to reveal all his techniques... even to his beloved creations!  But think about it...  You were created in my image.  I like to set an example that you can follow.  As the artists here can all attest to, you don't immediately arrive upon the final version of your painting or sculpture or whatever.  You do it in steps.  You build upon each step.  And a truly good artist has love for his or her creation at each of those steps.  They have the finished product in their mind and they long for that finished artwork... but they also love all that came before.  So... supposing you did evolve, know that I loved each creature in the long journey from minuscule organisms to modern humans."

After a chorus of "awws," Ivy raised her own question.

"You talked about how some people miss the spirit of the passages that mention homosexuality.  And I was so glad to hear it!  But what are some other quotes in the Bible that people commonly use to wrongly justify something?"

"Good question.  As I just mentioned with Shane, there are a handful of quotes that people use to attack gay people when, in truth, they were meant to condemn rape, abuse of power, violation of the hospitality code, idolatry, and selfishness.  But people have also used quotes from the Bible to argue that slavery is permissible.  That's obviously not true.  The Bible acknowledges that slavery existed.  That's all.  Other passages have been used to keep women from enjoying the same liberties as men.  And that saddens me.  Greatly."

"You're not the only one..." JenniAnn muttered before brightening.  "But it feels so good to know that you do see us as equal to men."


"So speaking of Bible verses that can get misconstrued...  Is the Rapture and all that really going to happen?  It was never really part of growing up Catholic.  It came up sometimes in my Theology classes," JenniAnn recalled.  "But not even much then."

"Revelation was written at a time when Christians were being persecuted and is rich with symbolism," Joshua explained.  "Trying to take it literally is problematic.  That being said...  Of course the world will end some day.  All worlds do.  Only Heaven is our eternal Home.  But no one should be spending time trying to figure out how to get raptured or what people need to do to provoke the Second Coming... That's for God to determine.  Instead, we all need to do what we were commanded to do: be good stewards of the worlds Dad and I created for you.   Recycle and reuse... get away from single use plastic... yes.  But before that even, be mindful of what you consume and its impact on others.  I see you doing that already the way you pass back and forth all the baby supplies and hand-me-down clothes rather than buying everything new, every single time.  That's great!  Be good to nature and teach your children, friends, family to do the same.  Most importantly, be good to one another and love God.  People will always believe that they're living in the End Times.  Paul believed the end was nigh... 2,000 years ago.  But he still kept his focus on his faith and aiding those around him."

"Thanks!  Good to know!" JenniAnn chirped. 

"You bet."

"Joshua, did you ever know anyone who was disabled, mentally or physically... or rather 'differently abled'... during your first time on earth?" Azalea inquired. 

"Sure!  In fact, you may have read a little book about me healing some of them."

The group chuckled and, smiling, Azalea rolled her eyes.

"Duh.  I don't know why I asked that part.  But...  You know..."

"I do, sweet Azalea," Joshua assured.  "And yes.  I knew people who would now be diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, having Downs syndrome, and more.  But did I heal everyone?  Absolutely not.  When people say 'disabilities,' so often they have a negative view.  I really love the term 'differently abled' that Azalea just used and that you hear increasingly often.  Think of our friends in the deaf community.  Some would embrace a cure and, for their sake, I rejoice in the scientific advances that help them.  But for others, their deafness is part of who they are, part of their culture.  Were I to cure one of them, would that be a blessing?  Would it even be welcome?  No.  So I wouldn't do that because there's nothing to be fixed.  There were some of my followers... even some of my Apostles... who had conditions that some might view as disabilities.  But I didn't.  I viewed them as part of their uniqueness... and part of the unique way they might preach to and minister to others.  And some of my followers now... I view them in the same away.  And I wouldn't change a thing."

Azalea's, Basil's, Sean's, and Kemara's eyes filled as they realized that Joshua was speaking of their Lily and Miriam Joy and so many others.

"People think they know what's perfect," Basil choked out.  "They don't."

"No, they don't," Joshua agreed.

"Perfect's such a strange word, anyway," Kemara opined.  "Speaking of... what constitutes you being perfect?  Were you allowed to get annoyed by people, lose your temper, etc.?  How did that work?  Did you always listen to your parents?"

"Perfect is a funny word.  It means something different to each person," Joshua asserted.  "And, of course, the same could be said about 'sinless.'  Just because I am sinless doesn't mean a given person will agree.  They certainly didn't in my time and they don't now.  But, yes, you can be perfect/sinless and experience annoyance, reasonable anger, etc.  When someone is being cruel and harming others, annoyance and anger are reasonable... moral... Godly... responses... so long as you channel them correctly.  If your anger drives you to react violently then you're in the wrong, too.  But if it drives you to stand up for the wronged party, to try to make life better for them, to give power and voice to the powerless and the voiceless... you're doing my work.  So, yes, I got angry and annoyed... most notably in the Temple.  It was wrong to turn God's house into a market.  Temples, churches, mosques... they're meant to give people a place to connect with God... to feel peace and love... not be made to feel poor nor to be distracted by riches.  So what makes a person perfect/sinless?  Perfectly following the greatest commandments: love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as you love yourself... even when it's difficult.  Especially then.  And...as for my parents..."  Joshua laughed.  "No.  There was this one time when I was 12 and we were leaving Jerusalem and they said "Stay close by."  I didn't listen...  Well, I mean I listened.  I just... didn't obey.  I think you know the rest of that story."

The group once again broke into laughter and, soon after, the children joined them and Joshua patiently listened to another onslaught of questions from the little ones before, at just before 9:00, the group parted for the night.


Thursday, April 25th, 2019

"Hura!  Hurry!" Raheem called as he paced in front of the apartment door.

"Yes, hurry, Mom!  Dad's going to wear out the carpet!" his teenaged daughter, Amala, shouted.

Raheem shot her a look.

Amala giggled.

"I just think it's funny that you're so anxious to go... sew?"

Raheem stopped pacing and sat down on the couch beside the girl. 

"I'm not sure I'll be sewing.  Might just be hauling bags of fabric around.  But... yeah.  Your old dad enjoys spending time with friends, too.  Live and in person unlike..."  He tilted his head to Amala's cell phone which had just lit up with a text alert.

"I see them 'live and in person' all day at school, Dad."

Raheem kissed the top of the girl's head as she began to text back to her friend.

"I know.  Just giving you a hard time."

Amala set her phone back down and smiled.

"All right then.  I... I'm glad to see you so happy, Daddy."

Tears filled Raheem's eyes.  Amala hadn't called him that in a very long time.

"Thank you, sweetie."

"Uh huh."

"All right... all right...  I'm ready."  Hura entered the room and pulled on a jacket.  "I don't even know why you're so desperate to go to this.  Part of me thinks Ibrahim should cancel the whole thing in light of..."

"You've said yourself how many people could be saved by the health fair, Hura," Raheem countered.

"I know...  But it's put such a strain on Liyana.  When I stopped by for lunch today, she was so pale."

"Maybe she's preggers," Amala suggested without looking up from her phone.

Hura shot her daughter a look.

"Maybe you're addicted to that thing."

Amala shrugged and continued to play on her phone.

"Just check on your brother once or twice, please?" Raheem requested.

"Will do," Amala promised.

"And finish your homework," Hura added.

"Finished it during study hall."

"Who are you talking to, anyway?"

"Christopher.  He's in my Bio II class."

"Christopher..." Hura repeated quietly.  "Is he..."

Raheem shot his wife a look.

"Well, please, put that thing down long enough to eat."  Hura kissed Amala's cheek then joined her husband who was already at the door.

"See you later, sweetie," Raheem called.

"Have fun!" Amala shouted back as her parents left.

"Christopher..."  Hura looked to Raheem.  "Christian, no doubt."

"Probably so.  But don't think too much about it.  He'll likely be no different than Jamal from Trig or Aidan from World History.  You know how long they lasted."

Hura laughed.

"True.  She's a popular young lady."

"Gets that from you.  I was a wallflower." 

Hura squeezed her husband's arm.

"Still are.  That's why I was so surprised that you wanted to go to this."

"Joshua and Takoda will be there.  I've really enjoyed working with them.  And in only two days, I've learned so much.  You can't tell Ibrahim but Joshua has decided to surprise him with some mosaic elements on the shelves we're building.  He taught me how to cut and set tiles.  It looks really great, if I do say so myself."

Raheem withdrew his phone and showed his wife a couple of photos.  Her eye brows shot up.

"You did that?"

"With a lot of help but yeah."

"It's beautiful, Raheem.  Ibrahim will be so pleased.  And... it's been good to see you so happy."  Hura beamed at her husband.  "I think this might be a new start for you.  And while I know that sort of work is taxing... I won't be as worried as I was when you were on the docks."

"I'm not as worried as I was after the docks," Raheem replied as they descended to a subway.  "I'm not made to sit around, waiting for phone calls and interviews."

"I know...  I know, my dear."  Hura squeezed his hand.

As they settled into seats on the subway, Raheem let out a contented sigh and squeezed his wife's hand in turn.


While the women introduced themselves to each other; Raheem and Ibrahim received a tour of St. G's from the male Friends who had stopped in for the occasion.

"And this... is all the JCS stuff," Peter explained.  "Since we do that every year, we keep it all together."

"And you play Jesus now?" Ibrahim checked.

Peter nodded.

"Yeah.  Andrew directs.  And this year Kyle joined us as a member of the chorus.  Maybe next year you will, too, Takoda?"

The angel, who had been admiring some costumes, turned to Peter.

"Sorry, what?"

"Peter was suggesting that you might join the chorus next year," Andrew repeated.

Takoda looked to Joshua who smiled and shrugged.

"Yeah... yeah, maybe." 

Kyle rested a hand on his back.

"You'd love it.  It's so much fun."

"Normally we don't approve of physically showing the prophets but..."  Ibrahim gazed around.  "I may have to make an exception next year.  I'd love to see all of you perform."

"It really is a wonderful production," Joshua boasted.  "They all do a fantastic job.  But there are also plenty of other shows."

"We're doing The Fantasticks starting in late June.  But that has a pretty small cast," Peter explained.  "Most of us will be back on-stage come autumn with Fiddler on the Roof."

"I love that one!" Raheem explained.  "'Tradition...  Tradition!'"

Andrew chuckled and set a hand on the man's shoulder.

"You should come try out for us!"

Raheem blushed and shook his head.

"No... no.  I'd be too nervous.  But depending on where I am by then... might be fun to get involved behind-the-scenes."

"We can always use help with that," Peter assured.  "Now...  Fabric scraps."  He led the way to the blue room which had six massive trash bags piled in a corner.  "Some might be heavier than others and might need two men to drag them."

"Gotcha."  Andrew grabbed a bag from the top of the pile and easily lifted it down.

"Show off," Peter teased.

Andrew gave him a cheesy grin and wink then headed out with his bag.

Ibrahim, Kyle, Takoda, and Peter each took a bag and hauled them with similar ease.

"This would be the heavy one," Joshua realized as he tugged the last bag.  "Raheem, want to give me a hand?"


The two men yanked the bag out of the room and followed the others to the stage. 

"So we have all sorts of fabric in here," Peter explained.  "And it's my understanding that the heavier fabrics might not be the best so I thought we'd sit here and sort, if that's okay?"

"Sounds like a plan," Ibrahim agreed as the others nodded.

"Great.  So let's stack the good fabric over near the end of the stage.  Maybe we could even sort by color to help the ladies out?" Peter suggested.

"ROYGBIV order?  Neutrals at the end?" Joshua offered.

"If rainbow order was good enough for the Almighty, I think it's good enough for us," Kyle agreed, casting a sly glance in Joshua's direction.

Andrew laughed.


As the six men sorted, they began to chat.

"Ibrahim and Raheem, I haven't had a chance to say anything until now but I was really sorry to hear about everything you've had to put up with at the mosque," Andrew shared. 

Peter nodded in agreement.

"We had just a small taste of it here at St. G's and that was enough.  If there's anything we can do..."

Raheem looked at Ibrahim who was attacking his bag of cloth.  He guessed he was thinking of his accusation against Joshua and embarrassed.  He spoke to give his cousin time to collect himself.

"Thank you.  We really appreciate that.  Simply inviting us here means so much.  It reminds us that the wider community cares."

"Yes, definitely," a still-flustered Ibrahim added.  "It... it impacted me more than I realized but this... this is a wonderful chance to refocus on our shared mission."

"I'm looking forward to the health fair.  Although I'll admit...  I'll miss working on the preparations with Joshua," Takoda admitted.

"Me too!  It's only been two days but I've loved working with you fellows," Raheem enthused.  "I'll be sad when our time together ends."

Kyle, who was seated across from Joshua, thought he saw his face cloud for a moment but then Joshua smiled.

"Thank you both.  I've enjoyed my time with you, as well.  And as the song goes 'Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them.'"

"What song is that?" Raheem questioned.

"'Friends' by Michael W. Smith," Kyle answered.  "It's a Christian song although, come to think of it, I don't think it's overtly so.  The Lord could be understood as Yahweh... Allah."

"Do you know all the words, Joshua?" the imam asked.

"Very well."

Peter and Andrew exchanged secret smiles.

"Could you sing it for us?" Raheem requested.

With a tender smile, Joshua nodded.

"'Packing up the dreams God planted, in the fertile soil of you, can't believe the hopes He's granted means a chapter in your life is through.  But we'll keep you close as always.  It won't even seem you've gone.  'Cause our hearts in big and small ways, will keep the love that keeps us strong.'"

With a wave from Joshua; Andrew, Peter, and Kyle jumped in during the chorus.

"'And friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them.  And a friend will not say never, 'cause the welcome will not end.  Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.'"

As they listened; Takoda, Ibrahim, and Raheem were each moved for different reasons.

Takoda thought of his self-imposed exile and the time he'd missed out on with his greatest Friend.  Though they still had Eternity together, he regretted the lost time.

Ibrahim contemplated the hurt in his heart that had made him turn on his new friend.  He thought of his unborn child and prayed that he or she would grow up in a world free of hatred, fear, and anxiety.

Raheem's eyes filled as he gazed at Joshua... this man whose beliefs differed from his own but who still looked forward to a day when they would be together in Paradise.  A man who had begun to patiently teach him a new trade, surely slowing down his own work for Raheem's own benefit.

"'Though it's hard to let you go, in the Father's hands we know, that a lifetime's not too long to live as friends.  No, a lifetime's not too long to live as friends...'" Joshua finished.

From the back of the theatre came the sound of clapping.

The men all turned to find JenniAnn and Liyana at the end of the aisle, smiling and cheering.

"Beautiful, Joshua!" Liyana praised.

"So moving!  All you guys sounded great but, yes, especially Joshua," JenniAnn added.

"I'm glad we came in when we did to see if you had any scraps for us."  Liyana approached and hugged Joshua.  "It really was lovely."

"Thank you.  And, yes, we do have a few small piles going."  Joshua waved to them. 

"Good!  We'll head out with these."  JenniAnn stooped to pick them up.  "But if you're going to do a concert, come get us!"

Raheem laughed. 

"It was spur of the moment.  Joshua quoted the song and I asked him to sing it.  And..."  He beamed at Joshua,  "I'm very glad he did.  It was beautiful."

"Thank you."  Joshua rested a hand on Raheem's back and smiled at the two women.  "When we get more sorted, I'll bring it out to you."

"Thanks!  Oh and the pizza is due here in about thirty minutes," JenniAnn relayed.

Ibrahim noticed his wife begin to look a little green.

Andrew cocked his head.

"Liyana are you..."

Suddenly, the woman lunged forward and headed towards an empty bag. 

Immediately, Ibrahim and Joshua were kneeling on either side of her as she vomited.  The former held back her hair and hajib while the latter stroked her back.

"Poor love..." JenniAnn murmured.  "I'm going to run to the office.  There's usually some ginger ale in there."

"It's okay, Liyana.  You're okay," Joshua soothed.

"I'm so sorry, my love," Ibrahim added. 

Liyana gasped then sat back up, her face flushed both from her ordeal and embarrassment.

"I... I'm so sorry."

"It's nothing," Peter reassured as he began to carefully fold up the bag.  "It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last time.  More than one pregnant lady has...  I mean... not that I'm saying you're pregnant.  I only mean... we've had lots of pregnant ladies dealing with morning sickness here."

Joshua smiled to himself.  He knew that Liyana and Ibrahim had been trying.  He'd listened to the fervent prayers.  But like most of the recent future, he couldn't grasp at it.  But the Father confirmed his suspicion.

Liyana and Ibrahim quietly conferred and, when JenniAnn returned with a bottle of ginger ale, the woman took a sip.  Then the couple smiled at the others.

"It is morning sickness," she confirmed.  "Stupid name.  It happens all the time but... yes.  Ibrahim and I are expecting."

Hoots and hollers sounded around the happy couple. 

"What's going on in here?" Hura demanded as she stepped inside.  "We're waiting for the fabric."

JenniAnn picked it back up and headed towards the newcomer.

"I'll bring this out to the others.  I think you should speak with your cousin."

Intrigued by JenniAnn's mysterious smile, Hura raced up the aisle.

"Yana... what..."  She noticed the dirtied bag and faint smell in the air.  "Are you sick?  Uh oh...  Do you have the flu?"

"Not the flu," Liyana denied, smiling up at her cousin.  "Baby..."

"Baby..." Hura quietly echoed as tears filled her eyes.  She had known that her cousin had been trying to get pregnant for the past five years.

"We wanted to wait a while to tell everyone.  But... well..."  Liyana waved to the bag.  "That happened.  And this morning, too.  So we just now decided not to hide it."

"The more people to pray, the better," Ibrahim reasoned.

"Exactly."  Liyana rested her head on her husband's shoulder.

"Congratulations to you both!" Joshua cheered.  "I'm so thrilled!  So thrilled..." he reiterated.  "But now since we know...  How about you relax on the couch in the office, Liyana?  And while sipping on the ginger ale might help, I'll brew you a cup of my Ama's famous tea.  Emma and Peter always keep some here.  Many a pregnant lady in our group has sworn by its ability to lessen morning sickness."

"That sounds amazing.  Thank you."

Nestled between Ibrahim and Joshua, Liyana tentatively made her way towards the office.

Raheem looked on, tears beginning to trickle down his face.  He had prayed long and hard for his cousins' wished for child.  And now he or she was coming.  A miracle.

And, like Ibrahim before him, a theory about Joshua began to coalesce in Raheem's mind... but this was a very different theory.


A couple of miles away in an apartment building, a young man sat in front of his computer. 

He opened Facebook and then navigated to the group he'd joined some weeks ago... after he'd posed as an interested party and attended one of their meetings.

Scanning the top post, he smiled.

"Don't forget that we'll be distributing fliers about the health fair tomorrow!  If you don't have yours yet, please stop by the Manhattan Mosque to pick them up.  We don't want anyone left out!  This is a real chance for Symponia to live up to our name and serve others!"

This would be his chance...  The health fair itself would be too populated, too public.  But this... this would bring the would-be terrorists and the traitors together.  He'd pick a few off... send a message. 

Take the country back.

The man stared with gleaming eyes at the gun resting beside him.  It wouldn't do as much damage as he wanted.  But it would be a start.  And then, in the days that followed, the real fun would begin.


This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for being part of so many special winter-time and holiday season memories.

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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.)