Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Greetings

December 2013

Dear Ones:

Greetings from the Jeschke Clan! We wish you a joyous Christmas and a blessed New Year! After all the tumultuous changes of 2012, our lives have settled down—somewhat.  Our biggest change and challenge was moving my parents Earl & Betty Morey in with us the end of May. We’ve enjoyed having family members come to visit them, and my dad continues to bless our congregation at The King’s Chapel with his weekly Bible teaching.  Besides facilitating the move, I (Melanie) spent the spring teaching World Lit at Marymount U, attended an “Inklings” conference near Ashville, NC (touring the Biltmore Estate), and traveled to Springfield, MO, visiting Christen’s  family and speaking at their church’s women’s event and MOPS group. Bill returned to coaching soccer at Chantilly H.S. and loved it.  Since this year marked the 150th anniversary of many Civil War battles, we finally made the pilgrimage to Gettysburg and had the moving experience of marching across the killing fields of Pickett’s Charge. We also toured the Manassas Battlefield when Christen visited in July with her crew for two fun (but exhausting :) weeks. Besides her four, Christen brought her newly “adopted daughter” KeKe with her adorable baby Julius. The highlight of their trip was an overnight to Rehoboth Beach, where we explored all our old haunts from the days when Bill’s parents owned a cottage a block from the boardwalk.  We spent our annual beach vacation in Corolla (OBX) but really missed Topsail Island and our beloved beach house, which sold last year. However, God graciously provided other short getaways as several friends generously offered the use of their waterfront vacation homes, including a condo in N. Myrtle Beach, where I met up with my cousin Barbie, whom I hadn’t seen in years. From there last New Year’s, we took a day trip to Charleston, S.C. (Bill was attacked by a virus and consequently did not find Charleston as charming as I did :).  We made frequent road trips this fall to watch our senior Brendan play soccer for Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, VA. Despite the frustration of their losing season, we are proud that all the EMU coaches chose Brendan as the “Athlete of the week” after he scored two goals and had two assists. Bill and I enjoyed “going down the road” to watch soccer in many beautiful college towns, and stayed overnight in lovely Lexington, touring Bill’s father’s Alma Mater VMI. We’re honestly sad to see the era of college soccer end. We may have to make more trips to Christopher Newport University now where our youngest Kevin is thriving as a sophomore. With all the busy-ness of family, church, and teaching, I’m not currently writing anything new—unless blogs count—but I am editing my books for releases in e-format, as well as new paperback editions. Inklings is available now and the others will roll out over the next few months.  My new publisher is zealous for me to reach the tech- savvy generation; consequently, you can now follow me (please!) on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Blogspot. We look forward to staying in touch with you—in any format—and hope you will have a blessed holiday season. This Christmas may we not forget that we celebrate the coming of Jesus the Christ, our Savior, Lord, and King.  May you experience His great love and know Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!


Melanie, Bill, & the Jeschke  clan                                                                                                   



Christmas 2013 Jeschke Family Wrap-up
Status: forever busy with family, church work, soccer, and singing
 Ministry: Senior Pastor of The King’s Chapel (TKC) for eighteen years
Highlights: Road trips to Harrisonburg to watch Brendan play soccer for Eastern Mennonite; coaching soccer as an assistant at Chantilly H.S.
 Status: Adjunct professor of English at Marymount University & Northern VA Comm.College (NVCC-Manassas); speaker to women’s  and writers’ groups
Ministry: Mentor mom and speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers); behind the scenes editor, greeter, & organizer at TKC
Highlights: Release of books in e-format; teaching a World Lit class for Marymount;
attending an Inklings conference in Montreat, NC; speaking at Edgar Allan Poe Young Writer’s conference in Richmond; visiting the Youngs and speaking at their church’s MOPS  and women’s spring event
Katherine & Chris Craddock        Katie (9)   Colt (7)   Christian (almost 6)   Blaize (2 1/2)  Colby Ryan (8 months, born 4/8/13)
Katherine’s status:stay-at-home mom; professional writer; active in MOPS, official            soccer/swim/gymnastics/wrestling mom
Chris’s status: Pastor of Youth & Young Adults at TKC; coaches high school soccer & golf; taking seminary classes towards a PhD. from Regent  University, is now   licensed Realtor
Ministry: Chris oversees teens, college & career age ministries at TKC; Katherine serves on the SteeringTeam for MOPS
Highlights: Katherine and Chris’s screenplay The Senior Prank previewing to worldwide audiences; Katherine completed her Professional Certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA; her new screenplay "Band of Angels" reached the 2nd Round of the prestigious Austin Film Festival; Chris & Brian started Redux Realty, LLC and Redux Properties, LLC, a successful Real Estate investment and development company []; Katie (4th grade) excels at school, plays on a top travel soccer club, on swim team, & does recreational gymnastics; Colt excels in 2nd grade, selected for the pre-travel soccer program, swims and wrestles; Christian: began kindergarten, plays soccer, swims, and wrestles; Blaize is resourceful, happy, and a super loving big brother to Colby, a sweet, fat, and easy baby.
Christen & Jared Young    KeKe (19)   Raine (11)   Cadence (8)   Britan (6)   Decker (4)                                                                        
Christen’s status: Founder and Director of JOURNEY, a ministry for teen/college age mothers &
their families; full-time stay-at-home  mom;  blogger; speaker at a variety of community events, including a large community concert  fundraiser
Jared’s status: 9th year as a Fleet Manager for Prime, Inc. in Springfield, Mo; avid softball player 
Ministry:  Christen serves as her church’s MOPS coordinator & the founder and director of JOURNEY
Highlights: God provided the Youngs with a new “forever” family member out of foster care "KeKe", who currently attends Paul Mitchell School for Beauty, lives on her own, & excels as mother to Julius Alexander (8 months); Raine, 5th grade, in softball  & competitive gymnastics; Cadence, 2nd grade, in ALERT a program for gifted students,  Britan in kindergarten, plays t-ball; & can't wait for soccer season to begin; Decker, mommy's buddy, patiently waits for his "best brother" Britan to get home from school to play. Prayer need: Christen still suffers from chronic shoulder, back, and neck pain
Cheryl & Brian Craddock    Paige (2)     Emmett (16 months)
Cheryl’s status:  fulltime mom; Director of Children’s Ministry at TKC
Brian’s status: promoted to a superintendent for Clark Builders Group; partner with his brother Chris in Redux; plays TKC soccer & softball
Ministry: Children’s Ministry at TKC; Cheryl also serves on the Steering Team for TKC MOPS
Highlights: Helping to build a new business (Redux), Paige loving to talk sing and dance, Emmett
learning to run
Brett & Barbee       Liam (19 months)
Brett’s Status:  Assistant Facilities Supervisor for Trinity Christian School and adjunct faculty, teaching Western Civilization at Northern VA Com. College-Manassas 
Barbee’s status: full time mom; part-time on-call scheduling manager and affiliate trainer for a dental practice; part-time nanny
Ministry: Barbee coordinates the TKC nursery; both Brett & Barbs assist with children’s church & nursery; Barbee often cooks for TKC's young adult ministry - Fusion. Brett hosts a men’s Bible study.
Highlights: Liam! Brett's first college teaching job; moving to a townhouse in Manassas, even closer to “Mimi & Pops” J
Aaron & Thea
Aaron’s status: works as a government employee for the Consumer Federal Protection Bureau  (CFPB) in D.C.                                                                                               
Thea’s status: serves as the Director of high school youth ministry at Vienna Presbyterian Church
Ministry: Both lead high school small groups and are very active members and leaders of young adult small groups; are excited to see some of their students begin committed, personal relationships with Jesus this past year
Highlights: Celebrated one year of marriage in August; enjoy spending time with family and friends
Prayer/praise: Thea is suffering from worsening shoulder/neck problems & pain; Aaron has learned to manage & avoid the symptoms of Ménière’s disease
Mark & Beth
Mark’s Status: 2nd year Advisory Associate within the Washington Federal Practice of
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC);
Beth’s status: works as government employee with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (in  the same D.C. office as Aaron and next door to Mark's office :)
MinistryMark is a part-time TKC staff member in charge of the Fusion ministry (young adults and college students) and leads TKC worship bi-weekly; also leads a    weekly men's Bible study at his home; currently praying about long-term ministry. Beth supports Mark in the Fusion ministry; leads a weekly women's Bible  Study, assists the TKC Women's ministry, and often serves in the nursery at TKC.
Highlights: Celebrated 1st wedding anniversary in Mexico; in the past year Mark has played guitar & sung in nearly a dozen weddings while Beth has been a  bridesmaid in just as many; Mark continues to play soccer in a men's league while his Alma Mater, Messiah College, took home their 10th NCAA DIII title; Beth, an avid-runner, completed two half-marathons with plans for more next year
Scott & Eliza
Scott’s Status: officially incorporated his video production company: Now I See Productions
LLC (; began a new job recently as a video editor for a local technological firm.
Eliza status: promoted in July to the position of Assistant Property Manager of Retail for over
350,000 sf. of retail space in Reston Town Center in Reston, VA. Ministry: Both  continue to serve as volunteer leaders for Young Life at Chantilly HS and TKC youth  group; also serve in TKC nursery and children’s ministry.
Highlights: Celebrated one year anniversary of marriage in August; Scott has filmed and edited a number of music and wedding videos
 Brendan  (22)
Status: Senior at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), majoring in Liberal Arts with a
concentration in Physical Education & minors in Coaching, Exercise Science & Youth Ministry; played for EMU men’s soccer team; worked as a summer youth leader for Fairfax County Parks & Rec; graduates from EMU in April!                            
Ministry: Volunteer leader for TKC Impact youth group and for TKC children’s  ministry                                                                                
Highlights: Finished final soccer season with two goals & two assists and was awarded with “EMU Athlete of the Week,” as well as a team award for “Best Hustle,” has a lovely girlfriend,  a student at George Mason who attends TKC and works with Young Life
Kevin (20)
Status: Sophomore at Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Newport News, VA;  double majoring in Political Science and Economics, with a double minor in Leadership and U.S. National Security Studies
Ministry:volunteer leader for TKC Impact youth group and for TKC children’s ministry; various service projects for CNU
Highlights: Has somehow managed to keep a girlfriend for over a year.”  J

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Grinch

I have a confession to make: I am a Grinch.  I live in dread of this time of year and feel guilty because of it. Don’t get me wrong: I love Jesus and totally get that “He is the reason for the season.”  As a child, I absolutely loved Christmas: the decorations, the music, the lights, the cookies, the tree, the visits from Santa, the reverence of our candlelight Christmas Eve service, the fun of opening gifts—everything held me in awestruck wonder. I appreciate now all my parents, and especially my mom, did to make the season magical.

But as I have taken on the role my parents played, I have found the season to be incredibly stressful, not magical at all.  Mind you, I have nine children, three times that of my parents; so I could in good conscience multiply the amount of work I have to do at least that many times, plus even more now that we have enlarged our family, adding 7 sons and daughters-in-law and 12 grandchildren (as well as my parents who have moved in with us). While I’m writing this blog, I have a stack of end of term papers to grade for the college composition class I teach, long overdue edits on my books to complete so that they can be released as e-books, and then the usual Christmas litany of the annual letter to write and mail, the decorations to finish putting up, and the gifts to buy and wrap. I feel overwhelmed and stressed and not at all excited that Christmas is a little over two weeks away.  Sometimes I almost wish we were Puritans who do not observe special holidays! But we are not, and for this reason, I’ve confessed that I’m a Grinch.

So, now that I’ve confessed, I have to ask myself: what can I do about this situation? How can I de-stress myself? This morning at our MOPS group, where I’m a mentor mom, we had a therapist and mother talk to us about abandoning our perfectionism. For me, her talk was timely, as I recognized that part of my problem is trying to replicate the wonder of my childhood Christmases and living up to some perfectionist ideal which I cannot possibly achieve. Our speaker encouraged us to give up unrealistic expectations. I have to face grading papers and getting my semester grades in since that is my job, but I should relax and give myself a break on all the other stresses, which are primarily self-imposed. I should recognize that I will never be able to decorate like Martha Stewart and our bank account won’t allow me to be extravagant in my gift giving. The Christmas letters may or may not be out on time this year. But most importantly, I shouldn’t allow my own anxieties or frustrations, Grinch-like, to steal other people’s joy.

 Here’s hoping I can take a deep breath, concentrate on essentials, forget the nonessentials, and do the next thing God has put before me, not what I think should be done. And like the Grinch, I hope I can reform and allow my heart to grow three sizes in one day. 

May “God bless us, every one!” Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Men Must Endure Their Going Hence"

These words from Shakespeare’s King Lear serve as the epitaph on C.S. Lewis’s gravestone. At first glance, they may puzzle the reader. Why this quote? Lewis’s brother Major Warren Lewis, affectionately known as “Warnie,” chose this line for the stone he later shared with his younger, and much more famous, brother. Both men held vivid memories of this quote from a wall calendar, hanging in their childhood home the day their mother died of cancer.  Warnie must have wondered how he would endure the likewise devastating loss of his brother.

Fifty years ago today, Clives Staples (“Jack”) Lewis, was laid to rest in the small cemetery of Holy Trinity Church, Headington Quarry, on the outskirts of Oxford, England. Only a small contingent of friends and family attended the service. Warnie, overcome with grief, was not even present. Lewis himself did not expect the influence of his works to outlive him more than a few years. He was wrong. Fifty years later, Lewis’s life and legacy continue to influence, inspire, exhort, encourage, and entertain countless people around the globe.

My first novel Inklings opens the day of C.S. Lewis’s funeral. My fictional character David MacKenzie attends the service and is profoundly impacted. He determines to rededicate his life to God and carry on the Lewis legacy to a new generation. Here’s a brief excerpt from the prologue:

 Oxford, England

November 26, 1963

David MacKenzie had made a decision. He just hadn’t decided how to tell his fiancée.

For most of the day—after the funeral—he had walked around the parks of Oxford, thinking and praying. Now that he had reached his decision, he was sharing his thoughts with his friend and colleague, Austen Holmes, over dinner in the Eagle and Child pub. David wearily helped himself to shepherd’s pie as he talked.

“Austen, I wish you could have been there. It’s such a pity that Jack Lewis, the C.S. Lewis—one of Oxford’s greatest writers and thinkers—should have had only a few friends and family at his funeral.”

Austen replied quietly. “But really, David, don’t you believe he would have preferred it that way? Besides, I don’t think very many people even heard about it, what with the Kennedy assassination and all. Did his brother publish any notices?”

“I don’t know.” David thoughtfully set down his fork. “Poor old Major Lewis. He’s quite beside himself and wasn’t even able to get out of bed to attend the service. I don’t know what he’ll do without Jack. I don’t know what any of us will do.” David’s young, winsome face clouded with grief. He took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“A lit candle was placed on top of the coffin as it was carried out to the churchyard,” he said with more composure. “You know what the weather was like today: clear, cold, and crisp. One of those perfect autumn days that Jack absolutely loved. But what struck me most, Austen, was that the candle’s flame burned so brightly and never wavered. Even outdoors, the flame held. I think everyone noticed. To me that brightly burning candle symbolized the man’s very life.”

Finishing his dinner, David poured himself a cup of tea. Austen waited without speaking, sensing his friend had more to share. Although both of the University tutors were considered handsome, they were a study in contrasts. Austen was the typical Anglo-Saxon: tall and lanky, blond hair, bluish-green eyes, fair skin, angular features. David had more of the Celt about him: muscular build, bright blue eyes, fair skin, but dark—almost black—wavy hair.

David broke their silence. “Austen, Jack Lewis did something with his life. He could have been just a quiet Oxford don, but he was compelled to share his faith—through stories, radio talks, lectures, and books. And everything he wrote or spoke had such excellence, such beauty. He made you want to believe as he did. That candle today—that would not be extinguished even with his death—challenged me and made me truly want to do something for God with my life. Maybe, in some small way, carry on the Lewis legacy, if you will.”

“All right.” Austen smiled. “I know you have a plan. What is it?”

David leaned forward eagerly. “I would like to organize a new Oxford student club, a sort of second-generation ‘Inklings.’ We could meet every week to read and discuss the writings of the original Inklings—Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, Barfield—right here in the Bird and Baby, just as they did. Maybe the students would be inspired to try their own hand at writing, and this could be the forum for it.”

“And the ‘we’ means you want my help?”

“Of course!” David grinned. “You can be our resident Tolkien expert. And who knows? Maybe the venerable author himself may grace our presence now and then.”

Austen considered the proposal briefly. “Well, I’m game. I think it’s a grand idea.”

 “Excellent!” David happily leaned back in the booth. “We can do our part to keep the candle burning. I know God has called me here to Oxford to do more than teach, and that’s what’s been challenging me all day.”

(Jeschke, Melanie. Inklings. Helping Hands Press, 2013. 1-2. Kindle Edition).

Like my fictional character, I am challenged by the life and legacy of C.S. Lewis to do my part, to keep the candle burning and encourage others not only to enjoy the writings of Lewis, but also to seek the Way, the Truth, and the Life that inspired him. I hope my writing can, in some small way, add to the flame.

 “Aslan is (still) on the move!”



Friday, November 22, 2013

Glimpses of Heaven

 Fifty years ago today, C.S. Lewis quietly passed away in his home the Kilns near Oxford, England. His death garnered scant attention from the worldwide media, focused on the shocking news of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Today, people whose lives have been impacted and inspired by the writings and life of Lewis, gathered in Poets Corner, Westminster Abby to honor this Christian apologist, scholar, novelist, and poet with a commemorative stone.  I joined them in spirit.

Lewis’s writings continue to influence countless people around the globe; winning many to Christ and helping others grow in their faith. My husband, as a young arrogant atheist at the University of Virginia, committed his life to Christ after hearing the gospel shared by a prominent economics professor, using Lewis’s argument from Mere Christianity that Jesus was either who He said He was –Lord and God–or He was a lunatic or the devil. This convincing argument enabled my husband to pass from doubt to faith that Jesus is indeed Lord. He is now a minister.

I did not encounter Lewis until about the same time. As an adult, I began reading with delight The Chronicles of Narnia—a delight I enjoyed with all our nine children, and they now with theirs.  After participating in the triennial Oxbridge conferences sponsored by the C.S. Lewis Foundation, I was inspired to share in a small way Lewis’s life and legacy through my own novels The Oxford Chronicles.

One of my favorite aspects of Lewis’s writings is his ability to give us glimpses of heaven and engender a longing for it. As we remember C.S. Lewis today, I’ll close with his own words, ending The Last Battle from The Chronicles of Narnia:
 (Aslan says) “The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.” And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventure in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

Friday, November 15, 2013


This summer at Vacation Bible School, we taught the children to look for “God-sightings,” evidence that God is at work in our circumstances or through other people. Recognizing God’s love and leading in our lives encourages and enriches us. Recently, I experienced the special blessing of one of these “God-sightings.”

My husband is a pastor and we rarely have an opportunity to visit other churches; however, this past weekend one of our youth ministers stepped in to preach. My sister had also come up from Florida to visit and be on hand to stay with my elderly parents, and so my husband and I decided to “play hooky.”

Consequently, I was looking forward to the opportunity for a little “getaway” at a B&B in the country. My husband declared he had prayed about my plan, but thought we should stay locally and attend one of the churches not far from our new home, so that we could “get to know our community better.” (My parents moved in with us the end of May, following a laborious move of our own last year from our home of 23 years in Vienna (Fairfax County), Virginia, further west to the town of Manassas). A tad disappointed but happy to have any time “away,” I promptly booked a room in a lovely Civil War-era B & B in “Old Town” Manassas.

The next morning, we visited a large, well-known church in the area. After the inspiring worship service, we explored the church building and listened in on a business meeting, so that by the time we emerged to the lobby, most of the congregation had cleared out. However, I noticed a woman, with curly strawberry-blond hair, talking in a small group of people. Her hair looked like that of an old friend we hadn’t seen in many years. This friend, also a “Melanie,” and her family had been founding members of our church, The King’s Chapel. Later, they had moved to Manassas and attended the church we were now visiting. A number of years ago, they had moved again to Lynchburg, VA, and although we keep in touch through email and Facebook, we had not seen them in person since then. Spotting this distinctive curly hair, I moved around for a closer look, and sure enough, there stood our friend Melanie with her family and some other mutual friends, whom we also hadn’t seen in many years! This “coincidence” of running into old friends at a church we had never been to before, amazing in itself, proved to be only part of the blessing.

 Joyfully, Melanie explained that they had almost visited our church The King’s Chapel that morning because they so wanted to see us while they were in the area for Melanie’s birthday. They had prayed and felt the Holy Spirit’s leading to attend this church instead, and although torn, they obeyed. And voilà! There we were! If they had gone to The King’s Chapel, they wouldn’t have seen us; and likewise, if we had not stayed in Manassas, we wouldn’t have seen them. Experiencing the clear leading of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives multiplied the blessing of our unexpected reunion.

What a fun and serendipitous “God-sighting!”

Monday, November 4, 2013

Some Reflections on a "Grief Observed" while celebrating All Saints' Eve


            Our neighbors go all out decorating their houses and yards with Halloween paraphernalia. Dancing skeletons, ghouls, and ghosts surround us with scary and even humorous signs of death this time of year. With the encroaching dark and falling leaves, I find it difficult not to think about the rapid passing of time and the inevitable passing of loved ones.  All Hallows’ Eve or All Saints’ Eve should be a time of remembrance of those we’ve loved and lost, but also a time of celebration that for the Christian, death is not the end, only a door to a new heavenly dimension. We grieve the loss of our loved ones, but share the hope that we will be with them again forever.

            This All Saint’s Eve, I’ve had more loved ones to grieve.  After our nephew Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke died in Afghanistan in August 2012, we attended funerals almost weekly through that fall: sons and parents of dear friends, and my husband’s co-laborer and mentor. To quote the Bard, “Here was a royal fellowship of death.” The grief over my nephew still springs on me at unexpected times.  I’ll see his picture on my husband’s screensaver,  I’ll sing one of his favorite worship songs, I’ll hear of another Marine who has laid down his life—then wham, the tears begin pricking the back of my eyes. And now, with displays of death everywhere, the loss looms persistently. But then I remember to celebrate All Saints’ Eve—not Halloween—and all those dear ones who are just beyond the door. I celebrate Life not death.

            Last November, on the morning that we were to bury my friend’s son, I awoke with a poem on my heart. I am sharing that poem and its explanation here. Perhaps it will bring a measure of comfort to others, who are also bewildered by grief, having lost loved ones too soon.


A poem on grief   (11/9/12)

Today my friend buried her first-born son. This should not be so. In the past few months we have attended five funerals; my husband Bill has officiated for four of them, two for young men, too young to die. One of whom was our nephew Ryan Jeschke, killed in Afghanistan in August.  Although we are comforted by the knowledge that through faith in Jesus Christ, we will one day be reunited with these loved ones in heaven, we still must walk through the “valley of the shadow of death.”  We do not grieve as those without hope; nevertheless, we do grieve deeply and daily. I have been struck by the surreal experience of grieving while “life goes on.” Hardly original, this idea, I’m sure, has been explored many times—most eloquently by William Cullen Bryant in “Thanatopsis.”  But I too felt compelled to try to express my feelings in a short poem (my first such attempt in many years).   I humbly dedicate this poem to three sisters/friends (Diane DeMark, Carolyn Jeschke, and Fran Mahe) who have recently lost their sons. I share your grief and loss.


Life Does Not Stop For Death   by Melanie M. Jeschke


Life does not stop for Death.

The day still dawns, crisp and clear.

The birds still sing their cheerful tunes.

Unbidden, grief upturns my world,


A small boy laughs and runs at play,

A lawnmower sputters and thrums to work,

My neighbors wave and sadly smile,

Then vanish into busy lives.


“Wait! Stop!” I want to shout.

“Don’t you know I’ve lost my son?”


But Life does not stop for Death,

Nor even pause for my pain.

And yet, Life holds out hope to me.