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"That's a fact," admitted Mr. Winkler, sipping his cranberry juice. "Abby frequently has students coming in, specifically asking for her as their instructor."

"As soon as I get settled in California," said Dennis, leaning back and nodding to Abby, "I'm going to be giving you bigger responsibilities. That also means a bigger salary, so I hope you'll keep that in mind when other publications start knocking on your door."

"I'm not looking to jump ship," she assured him. "As long as we're talking about the future," Abby smiled at her husband, "Jake is hoping to attend the San Diego Christian Fine Arts College in California, next semester."

The announcement dumbfounded everyone in the room. Even Izumi, who had been following the conversation from the master bedroom, wasn't sure if she had heard her daughter correctly.

"Jake?" said John, in a shocked voice. "Go to college?"

"Why not?" asked Abby, a little perturbed at the grave reception that their news was receiving. Dennis made big plans for the future and everyone applauded; Jake did the same, and everyone hesitated-- everyone, that is, but Abby. "Look at them, Jake," she laughed, "they're so proud of you, they're speechless!"

Abby's remark jolted her mother out of shock.

"Good for you, Jake!" Izumi called from down the hall.

"Thanks, Mom!" he shouted back with a large smile. Jake was pleased. Dennis wasn't the only one who had big plans. It made Jake feel good, for he had something to work toward... something that encouraged him to dream for the future... something, called hope.

"Yes, congratulations," stammered John, slowly realizing that Abby's college fund was making this dream possible. There was much to discuss, but that would wait for another time. As John carved the Thanksgiving turkey, he quietly wondered how this ex-convict whom he had predicted wouldn't last a month in Three Mile Bay, would fare at a prestigious college. Only time would tell.

"Where there is no vision [hope], the people perish."
~ Proverbs 29:18 ~

"It is good that a man [Jake] should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth."
~ Lamentations 3:26, 27 ~

"I [God] will remember My covenant with thee [Jake] in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant."
~ Ezekiel 16:60 ~

end of chapter
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