“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens

Hi all,

So... I still don't know how to proceed with the larger stories that I have planned because they don't work really well with COVID at the stage it's at.  Thus, I'll be buying some time with a new type of story until I can get a handle on how to proceed.  The short story below is the beginning of that.

Also, happy Labor Day weekend to all those celebrating!  I hope you get some time to do something nice and/or relaxing.

God bless,

A New Venture

Monday, August 2nd, 2021

Andrew awoke to find himself alone in bed.  He glanced at the bathroom door, expecting to find it closed with a telltale line of light at the bottom.  Instead, the door was ajar and the bathroom was dark.

Andrew gave the chain of his bedside lamp a tug and referenced his pocket watch.


It wasn’t out of the ordinary for JenniAnn to get going with her day if she happened to awaken at 4:00 AM or later.  But not 2:47.

Thinking Avi might have awoken her, Andrew got up and headed to the boy’s room.  But there was only Avi, peacefully sleeping.  No sign of JenniAnn.

Next, Andrew checked Belle’s room only to get the same result: a sleeping child, no JenniAnn.

Andrew hesitated outside the door to the room Shelby had been using.  He felt awkward about barging in.  Shelby deserved her privacy as did Violeta who sometimes stayed with her, as she was that night.  Yet if he knocked and JenniAnn wasn’t there, he could needlessly wake the girls. 

The angel of death turned away from the door.  He’d check a few more places and then come back if JenniAnn was still missing.  

He checked the room Rose and Max used when they stayed over… his old room… but, as he’d expected, it was empty.  

Andrew was just about to step into the chapel when he turned around.

There was a soft light emanating from the library.

Andrew entered the library and immediately spotted JenniAnn on the couch, sitting criss-cross applesauce, with her laptop precariously balanced on her knees.

“Laja, what are you doing?” he called, keeping his voice down in hopes of not alarming her.

The sudden noise still made JenniAnn jump but she quickly recovered and smiled at Andrew.

“Not sleeping,” she replied.

“I noticed.”

Andrew sat down beside her and smiled when she nuzzled his shoulder.  Then he noticed her computer screen.

“CDC map,” he noted.

JenniAnn’s face flushed.

“Omaha’s in red again.  Manhattan is in orange.  Masks recommended in both,” she reported.

Andrew sighed and dragged a hand through his hair.

“I’m afraid so.  Not enough people got vaccinated.”

JenniAnn shook her head.

“I feel like I shouldn’t complain.  I’m living in a literal castle and my family is safe.  But… I’m back to feeling pretty useless.  I really hoped that by this point I could be back to volunteering at the shelters.  Or helping Fr. Mike at St. G’s.  But then I think about how I would feel if, God forbid, I brought it back to Belle or Avi or Landon or Amelia or Evie or any of the other kids.  Especially Ian.  Kemara is still so worried what with his heart condition.”

Andrew wrapped his arms around JenniAnn and hugged her tightly.

“You’re not useless.  You’re never useless.  You do so much for the kids and me, Laja.  And for so many people here and in the Tunnels.  But… I can understand feeling… siloed, I guess.  It’s natural and good to want to give back beyond your immediate community.  But by getting the vaccine and being careful, you are giving back.  Really.”

“I know…  But it doesn’t feel the same as actually being with people and helping them.  I mean… I know you see terrible things.  But… I’ve actually started envying you, Andrew.  You’re actively helping people every single day AND supporting and loving me and our family.  I just…  I dunno.  I’ve just never felt so much like a 1950s housewife.  And you are NOT making me feel like that.  Please know that.”  JenniAnn squeezed the angel’s hand.  “But the situation is.  I cook and clean and tend the kids and then when you come home, I ask how your day was and comfort you, if needed, and I love doing all of that.  Very much.  And I want to keep doing all of that!  And you’re a big help with the meal prep and cleaning.  You really, really are.  But… I just want my own thing, too, is all.  And I thought maybe I was on my way back to that but now…”

JenniAnn waved to the screen.

“Laja…”  Andrew kissed the top of her head.  “I understand.  I do.  I just… I’m not sure how to fix it.”

JenniAnn closed her laptop then rested her head on Andrew’s shoulder.

“I’m not either.”  She hugged his arm.  “But thank you for listening to me.”

“Always,” Andrew promised.  “And… we’ll pray on it.  Maybe get some inspiration, hmm?”

JenniAnn smiled at him and nodded.


Silently, the two prayed.

Then JenniAnn yawned.

With one sudden movement, Andrew scooped JenniAnn up.

“Love!” she shrieked.

“It’s 3:00 in the morning, Laja.  I really think you could do with some more sleep.”

Still laughing, JenniAnn nodded.

“I suppose I could… especially since it means snuggling with you.”

Andrew beamed then proceeded back to their bedroom where he happily complied.


Upon awakening at a more decent hour, Andrew reached for his cell phone and began to check the forecasts for the places he’d be visiting.  Although God always made sure he was appropriately attired, he still liked knowing what he could expect.

“Rainy, chance of storms,” he read as he looked up his final location.  Andrew frowned.  It figured.  That assignment was bound to be his most difficult one: a stalker case that could go either way depending on if the people meant to intervene listened to God’s prodding.

Just as Andrew began to contemplate the possibilities, he felt his hair pulled back from his neck and then a soft kiss.  He smiled before rolling onto his other side and facing JenniAnn.

“G’morning.  Your back looked tense.”

“G’morning.  And probably so.  Just thinking of an assignment this evening but… the kiss helped.”

JenniAnn moved in and brushed her lips against his.

“That one, too.”

“I’m glad.  You wanna talk about it?” JenniAnn asked as she stroked some hair behind the angel’s ear.

“Maybe tonight.  When I’m back.  No sense worrying now.  And… I already know you’ll make me feel better.  You always do.”  Andrew smiled then pulled JenniAnn into his embrace and buried his face in her hair.  “So comforting…” he murmured.

“Sometimes I still don’t understand how I can be more comforting than Heaven but… I’m certainly not going to complain.”  JenniAnn undid two of Andrew’s shirt buttons and placed a kiss over his heart.

“It’s just…”  Andrew halted.  Then it hit him!  “That’s it, Laja!  That’s what you can do!  Comfort angels!”

JenniAnn pulled away and stared at the angel with mock indignation.

“I’ll have you know, I have no intentions of behaving like this with anyone but…”

“Me!”  Andrew chuckled and caressed his anam cara’s cheek.  “Of course!  I didn’t mean this, Laja.  I just mean…”  Andrew’s hand raked through his hair.  “But just, like, talking to them… cookies… tea…  Maybe some arts and crafts?  Like what Adam does.  It’s like, you know, like I’ve told you before.  Sometimes when really sad things happen on Earth… it can feel almost like running away to just return to Heaven.  Because the humans left in the wake of the tragedy can’t do that.  But it helped so much, even in the early days before… this…”  Andrew motioned between the two of them.  “To come here.  Be with you and the others.  To still be among humans but… safe.  At peace.  And then sometimes opening up about whatever happened.”

“And angels can’t transmit COVID so…  I’d still be safe.  The kids would still be safe.  But… I’d have my own thing.”  JenniAnn mulled it over then grinned.  “I love it!”

Andrew returned her smile.

“You’ll do great.  Now… we just need to get word out.”

“Adam seems like an obvious place to start.  He could maybe send me the cases he thinks could benefit from a day of R&R.”

Andrew nodded.

“And if Adam doesn’t have enough cases, Marty would know who could benefit.”

“True!  I’ll call Adam after breakfast and maybe we’ll catch Marty.”

“I hope so.  Speaking of breakfast… I’m feeling crepes.  You?” Andrew asked hopefully.

“I’ll never turn down your crepes.  I’ll help with fillings.”

Andrew kissed JenniAnn’s hair.

“Thank you.”

“Thank you for coming up with my new project!”  JenniAnn hugged Andrew tightly then, after one more kiss, they got ready for the day.



Andrew set down his clippers and looked over at his partner who was sucking the tip of his thumb.


Crowley snarled.

“Stupid thorn.”

“I told you that you should wear gloves,” Andrew reminded.

“I told you that you should wear gloves,” Crowley repeated in a tone.

“Was I wrong?” Andrew teased.

Crowley rolled his eyes then smiled.


Andrew reached into his pocket and handed his friend a bandage.

“Thanks.  You carrying that around because you knew I’d do that?”

“No.  Dad thing.”


“You seemed distracted.  Anything you’d like to talk about?” Andrew asked as he resumed pruning the rose bush in front of him.  His assignment, an elderly woman named Constance, had one final request: leaving her beloved rose garden in pristine order.  Andrew had known at once who he could call upon for help.  Negligence to personal safety aside, Crowley was brilliant with plants.

“A bit,” Crowley admitted.  “Aziraphale’s just… spinning.  COVID stuff.  Not afraid of getting it, of course.  Just… everyone.  He lost a long time customer to it last week.”

Andrew frowned.

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I was, too.”

“Anything I can do to help?”

“Don’t think so.  I just… let him do his thing.  He organized my plants from shortest to tallest.  Then alphabetically by name.  And then alphabetically by full, proper Latin name.”

Andrew’s eyebrow raised.

“He’ll be fine,” Crowley assured… though he sounded unsure of it himself.

“You know…  JenniAnn was struggling, too.  In her case, it was a feeling of being helpless and cut-off.  So… she’s going to talk to Adam about sending her some angels to just, ya know, spend some time at Willowveil.  Resting, talking about their experiences if they want, maybe some arts and crafts.”

“Like Adam’s recreational therapy thing?”

Andrew nodded.

“But more short-term.  If you think Aziraphale would be interested… I wouldn’t mind having someone I trust there just to keep an eye on JenniAnn.  Make sure she’s not over-taxing herself.  And it might be fun.  Maybe Aziraphale could supply some treats.”

Crowley laughed.

“Maybe?  There is no maybe.”

Andrew chuckled.

“I do worry that Aziraphale might be a little nervous around unknown angels.”  Crowley’s face clouded for a moment.  “But… JenniAnn would be there.”

“And the kids, at least a lot of the time.”

“I’ll talk to him about it.  I think it’d be good for him.”

“Good!”  Andrew smiled then resumed focusing on his work, happily imagining JenniAnn and Aziraphale with their charges.


Thursday, August 5th, 2021

“And macarons, of course.  Scones.  Ooh… croissants.  These are stuffed with chocolate ganache.”

JenniAnn gawked at the multi-layered dessert tray that Aziraphale had rolled into Willowveil.

“There are savory offerings, too, of course.  Cheddar and chive scones…  Mushroom tarts.  Cucumber sandwiches…”

Aziraphale frowned.

“I wish I’d thought to bring a charcuterie board…  Silly me.”

JenniAnn pulled herself out of her reverie and shook her head.

“No, no!  I mean…  Adam’s only sending a couple angels today.  This is more than enough.  By, like, a lot.  Thank you, Aziraphale!”

JenniAnn hugged the angel who puffed up with pride.

“Ooh…  Fancy food,” a male voice commented.

Aziraphale and JenniAnn turned to find Takoda and Joccy standing in the entryway to the ballroom.  

“Oh, come in, come in!”  Aziraphale waved enthusiastically at the two.  

“Are you sure?” Takoda checked.  “I know this is for your new thing with Adam.”

JenniAnn herded the two into the room.

“Of course!  For one, Aziraphale has been exceedingly generous.  For another, you were my first angelic charge, in a manner.  So…  You should be included, along with Joccy, of course.”

“Aww, thanks!  It all looks so wonderful!” Joccy gushed.

“Go help yourself!” JenniAnn directed.

While Joccy headed towards the dessert cart, JenniAnn set a hand on Takoda’s arm.

“What’s on your docket for today?” she asked.

“Nothing.  Just hanging around.  Can I lend a hand?”

“Maybe.  Crowley’s expressed a little concern about how Aziraphale might get on with the other angels.  But he likes and trusts you so…”

Takoda grinned.

“I am happy to be a croissant and scone consuming buffer.”

JenniAnn relaxed.

“Thank you.”

Takoda squeezed her hand.

“Are you nervous?”

JenniAnn let out a sigh.

“Maybe a bit…”

“Don’t be.  You helped me.  And I was a tough case.  But everything worked out!”

JenniAnn followed Takoda’s gaze to Joccy.  She patted him on the back and beamed.

“Everything did.  Thank you.  Now go get some food.”

“Thanks!”  Takoda flashed one more smile at JenniAnn before joining Joccy and Aziraphale at the dessert cart.

JenniAnn moved to the window and stared out… waiting.  She jumped when a hand softly rested on her arm.  Turning, she saw Aziraphale.

“Come have a bite to eat, my dear.  Settle your nerves.  You’ll do wonderfully!” he encouraged.

“I suppose I am a bit nervous…  What if I can’t do this?” JenniAnn fretted.

“God wouldn’t have allowed it if he didn’t trust you.  And Andrew trusts you.  And Adam.  And Crowley and I.  Think of how you’ve helped us.  I mean if you can handle that wily, old serpent…”

JenniAnn laughed.


“So come along.  Shoo, shoo.”  Aziraphale hustled JenniAnn towards the dessert cart where she happily made her selections.

A few minutes later, just as JenniAnn was savoring the last bite of her scone, the doorbell rang.  

“Oh…  Here we go,” she murmured before rising and making her way to the door.

Aziraphale hurried along behind her.

After drawing in and letting out a calming breath and whispering a quick prayer of “God be with me,” JenniAnn opened the front door… and came face to face with someone familiar.

“Azrael!” she exclaimed.

The angel of death nodded.  Then he moved closer and JenniAnn saw his lower lip tremble.

“Azrael…” JenniAnn repeated, tenderly.  She took one of his hands in both of hers and led him inside.

Aziraphale dashed off and began to prepare a plate as JenniAnn got the archangel settled at a table near the windows.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

“You’re welcome.  So… would you like to talk about what brings you here?”

Aziraphale approached and set a cup of tea and some treats near the angel.

“Thank you, Aziraphale.  Long time no see.”

Aziraphale blushed.

“Yes… yes, it has been.”

Azrael smiled then turned back to JenniAnn whose question remained unanswered.  He studied her…  He couldn’t quite name what he felt as he looked upon the anam cara of one of his fellow angels of death.  Something paternal?  Maybe fraternal?  Whatever it was, he felt cozy and warm for the first time since his most recent assignment had begun.

Azrael shook his head.

“No, thank you.  I’d just like to sit… talk about other things?” he suggested.  “How are the kids?”

JenniAnn’s face lit up as she began to fill Azrael in.

Taking a place at the table, Aziraphale smiled as he listened and watched his fellow angel relax.  His own nerves also calmed.

Maybe Andrew’s and Crowley’s scheme would work out after all…

To be continued...

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for continuing to give me something to take my mind off the insanity of everything going on right now!

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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.)