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"What are you talking about?" asked Jake. "You must be referring to my duffel bag," he laughed. "Abby, that was before I met you and your family! There's all those clothes I got for Christmas, the laptop, the camera, the new easel, our big teddy bears-- not to mention all my sketchpads and canvases. And after this unexpected little addition," he smiled, as Ricky gurgled contentedly while his parents talked, "I have even more things to my name. Between you and Ricky, I'm a rich man!"

"I don't know about rich," sighed Abby, "but you certainly have more clutter."

"You can clutter my life, anytime," Jake breathed softly, stepping close and claiming a kiss from his wife.

Just then, the couple heard a small laugh. They looked down to see Ricky grinning back up at them from Abby's arms. She looked to her husband, and could feel an "I told you so" coming.

"That second room is his," insisted Jake, patting the boy on the head with a wry smile.

Gradually, things they wouldn't be immediately needing while still in Three Mile Bay, were being packed into boxes and stacked in the living room. At first, Abby had kept careful track of what was in which box by keeping them sorted, but as space in the living room vanished, so did her system. Seeing this, Jake sighed. He wasn't looking forward to the unpacking process in California.

It was during one of these busy days, that the fear of leaving the only place she had ever called home, finally hit Abby. Although she denied it, Jake could sense that Abby was struggling inside, and it grieved him to see her trying to bear the burden all by herself. He patiently waited for his loved one to confide in him, and prayed that God would give him an opportunity to help her. He wouldn't have long to wait.

Late that night, Jake was awakened by a low moan of smothered cries, coming from beside him in bed. With an understanding touch, he put his hand on Abby's back, feeling it heave as she continued to sob.

Realizing that her husband was awake, she admitted what he had already suspected.

"I'm scared!" she confessed, her voice muffled by the pillow she was crying into.

"Fear's no good, Abby," he gently whispered, brushing aside a long mane of hair from the back of her neck.

"I wish I were strong, like you!" she cried.

"What makes you think I'm so strong?" wondered Jake.

"You're not the one crying!"

"Abby, look at me," said Jake, turning her over in bed so she was gazing up at him instead of hiding her tears in the pillow. "I'm about to leave a place where I've known unspeakable happiness, to journey nearly three thousand miles across America to the West coast, and attend a college with people more talented than I am; I have a past that's not easy for me to talk about, let alone explain, and I have the responsibility of a wife and son who depend on me to do the best I can for their future."

"And I'm the one doing all the sobbing!" she cried.

"I didn't say all that to shame you," soothed Jake, "but to show you that if I can give my fear to God, then you can, too."

"We're going to be so far away from home," she confessed in a small voice.

"Home will always be wherever you are, Abby," Jake tenderly breathed. When she remained silent, he smiled sadly. "I've been praying for you. Do you want me to say this next one out loud?"

Abby nodded, gratefully.
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