In Vannetta Chapman's new Amish romance novel, Joshua's Mission, a group of Amish young people from Oklahoma travel to Texas to aid the Mennonite Disaster Service in rebuilding after a storm. But even while doing serious work, the characters find time to relax on the beach. In this scene, Becca shares the legend of the sand dollar with Joshua...
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“Your freckles like the Texas sun,” Joshua teased.
Becca felt along her cheekbones and the bridge of her nose, as if her fingertips could press the freckles back into place.
“Nein. I like them.” Joshua grabbed her hand, uncurled her fingers, and placed on her palm a large portion of a sand dollar.
“Oh! It’s the biggest piece yet. When did you find it?”
“Earlier, while you were playing in the surf.”
“I was looking for shells.” She gave him her most serious look but then burst out laughing. “All right. I was enjoying the water splashing over my feet.”
“Like a child.” He lay back on the blanket, tilting his hat over his eyes to block out the late afternoon sun.
“Is that such a bad thing?”
“Being childlike? Nein. It’s a gut thing. Remember your daddi preaching on it last month?”
“ ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.’ ”
“Ya. You’re like that.”
“I’m a peacemaker?”
She thought he wouldn’t answer, but then he said, “Maybe.”
“Maybe I need to be, considering the way you and Alton argue.”
“Let’s not ruin the evening talking about it.”
Becca studied the sand dollar, running her fingers around the edge and then across the middle. “Shelley colored a picture for me. Alice brought it by today when she stopped to talk to Jim. The picture is of a sand dollar, and beside it was printed the legend of the sand dollar.”
“Legend?” Joshua yawned, and Becca poked him in the ribs.
“Pay attention and I’ll tell you about it.”
“Oh, ya. I’m awake.” He raised up on one elbow and blinked his eyes several times.
Becca laughed and turned her attention back to the sand dollar in her hand.
“There are four holes.”
“I only see three.”
“But you can see where the fourth would be. Three of the holes represent the nails that held Christ on the cross.”
“And this larger hole near the top represents the Roman spear that pierced His side.”
“Shelley did this in school?”
“Apparently they had several coloring sheets that portrayed different legends pertaining to the sea. She picked the sand dollar because her nana likes them.”
Joshua traced his forefinger down the inside of her hand, from her wrist to the center of her palm, where he drew a circle. Funny how such a thing could cause her heart to beat faster.
“I’m not surprised.”
Becca pointed to the center of the shell. “On this side we have the Easter lily, and at its center is a star.”
“Like in the Nativity story.”
“Yes. And on the other side—” She turned over the sand dollar. “This is the Christmas poinsettia.”
“It’s a gut story,” Joshua said.
“The legend says that if you find a whole one and break it open, you will release five white doves that spread God’s gut will and peace.”
Read more of Becca and Joshua's story in Joshua's Mission.