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Hugging Mary, Emma kept warm by feeding dry wood into the fire.

Light was growing dim in the early evening sky when Emma heard the familiar crunch of Josiah's snowshoes. She and Mary scrambled out of the lodge, only to find Josiah loaded down with a buckskin full of food.

"Lookit what God provided!" Josiah laughed heartily. "I nearly missed this here buck, if God hadn't knocked me to the ground first!"

It felt strange to Emma's ears to hear Josiah speak of God without derision or anger in his voice. Once again, she thanked God for this remarkable change in Josiah.

"Git out yer kettle, Emma, and start boiling up some stew!"

"Meat! Meat!" Mary said happily.

The girls went inside to ready the kettle for supper, and Josiah shoved his bundle in after them.

Settling on the floor, he took off his coat to begin stripping branches for an indoor meat rack. Josiah tied the branches together and then placed his rack by the fire where meat could dry from the heat. The rack took up some room, leaving only the two beds and a place to sit while cooking.

His work finished, Josiah sat cross-legged on his buffalo robes, waiting for supper. He quietly studied the falling snow outside their entrance, the weave of cottonwood boughs lining the floor, the brightly colored pattern on Mary's Christmas doll's dress-- but not once did he look in Emma's direction.

"I was afraid you might have to camp outside, tonight," said Emma, trying to see if he would look at her.

Josiah harrumphed. He rubbed his arm, and then reclined on the bed with a tired sigh.

"Supper is almost ready," said Emma. "Shall we say grace before we eat?"

Sitting up, Josiah folded his hands in his lap, closed his eyes, and waited for Emma to pray. Following Josiah's example, Mary did likewise.

"Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us this food. Thank you for Your blessings, and thank you for not giving up on us. In Jesus' name, Amen."

"Amen," said Josiah. Still, he didn't meet Emma's gaze.

The smell of savory stew filled the lodge as Emma dipped their tin cup into the kettle. Mary was the first to eat, and she hungrily gulped down chunks of meat and broth like someone who hadn't seen food in days, and not just since breakfast.

Filling the cup again, Emma handed it to Josiah. Josiah, however, refused to go before her.

"You eat next, Emma."

Doing as she was told, Emma ate from the cup and then filled it for Josiah. The process was repeated until everyone had full bellies and broad, satisfied smiles.
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