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!