Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Leach Family Update Dec 2010

There's a chance you'll be receiving this letter from my mom in the mail in just a few weeks...but here you go anyways. :)

Janelle here again. Wow. Time really does fly as you get older. I remember thinking how old people who said that were. And now here I am. Feeling old. How in the world does this happen? Another year has come and gone?!

Goodness, 2011. That makes JJ 28 next June. Katie turning 27, me 25 (I just gagged!), and Joy 23- all in February. Justin turns 8 this year. Wait. That can’t be right. 21?! TWENTY ONE in April. (Oh, Lord, help us.) Surely there is something wrong with this picture.

JJ and Katie have yet ANOTHER addition to their family! Hudson William born August 13th. (Oh how I hope every “Christmas letter” contains family addition news.) Jack turned 2 in November and he and Hudson dominate the “cuteness factor” in the world. We aren’t bias. We just happen to have the most adorable boys on the face of the planet as a part of our family. No sense in denying it.

JJ’s cracking on (as they’d say in the UK) with work for Henrico County as a fire medic. He got his certification as a technical rescue specialist- wahoo! He also attended a FEMA Disaster Medical Specialist class in Texas last spring. So if you really want a visit from JJ, just make sure your geographical location has a disaster this year. He’ll come rescue you.

Katie graduated!!! We are so proud of her! She now has a Masters in Counseling Education and her degree is currently “on hold” as she raises and trains two boys. (Far more work than a full
time job.) Hudson’s arrival was a bit of a surprise, and Katie has done a great job making adjustments needed to welcome him to the world and prepare for his arrival. Her days consist of diapers, laundry, meal-making, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. etc. etc. She is amazing at what she does!

“Jack Attack.” What a stud. He’s walking and nearly talking. He can communicate without a hitch- and if you ask me, he sees no reason to talk. We understand him, he understands us…why not just chill out? He adores his little brother and loves hugging him and kissing him. Dinosaurs and books are his favourite; especially books where you have to “find the animal.” He’s very good with his animals.

Hudson is 4 months. He doesn’t do anything but eat, poop, and drool, but he does them all WONDERFULLY and is entirely adorable! And we love him.

I have taken this year to attempt adjusting back to the American culture. It has taken even longer than expected; I miss proper sarcasm tremendously. “Rubbish, brilliant, cheers, boot, gutting and mingin’” are still consistently coming out of my mouth and unnecessary “u”s are regularly found in my spelling. I am living in Orlando with an amazing family and have begun my own “on location” business doing hair and make-up. Janelle on Location became an LLC (Limited Liability Company) officially in June. We are the preferred vendor at the David’s Bridal in Orlando and are working on continuing to build clientele. I am hiring some administrative help at the beginning of this year and cannot wait to see its effect! Feel free to take a look at my website(s): and spread the word—we travel world-wide! I’m currently saving my extra babysitting money for a trip to Wales this year- I miss the culture (and the people) so much!

Joy Leach. What a spectacular student. Joy graduated in May from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She enjoyed her last summer this year as the water front intern at Young Life’s Lake Champion in New York. She went to nationals this year for diving and pole vaulting AND placed top twenty in BOTH! She just finished a semester of student teaching in Chicago and is officially DONE with school! Well, as a student anyways. She got her degree in Special Education and is considering taking a teaching position in Richmond and living with JJ and Katie and the boys for a bit. Another option is to head to New York and crash with my parents to roll in the cash as a nanny before starting to settle anywhere. OR. She could take a semester to travel all over the States to visit some very-missed Young Life friends at every corner of the continent. Verdict is still out. Keep up with her at:

Justin planned to head back to ODU this fall but was last minute, unexpectedly offered a place on a travel hockey team in Massachusetts. He took the opportunity and moved right outside of Boston for a few months. After discovering dynamics were a bit different than “advertised” to him, he transferred to a team in Wilkes-Barre, Scranton (Yay for The Office!) in Pennsylvania. He is a born leader and has already improved his game so much. He’s learning a lot “about life” as he often says, and we are grateful he still has all of his teeth so far. All of this has just evidenced his love for hockey even more—it seems he’s considering a future coaching the sport or being an athletic director of some kind.

Daddy and Mommy are still in Manhattan! Daddy’s working at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in cardiac post-operative ICU. He had some emergency surgery this summer but has recovered well and we are grateful for your prayers. He is taking classes at NYU in Nursing Administration and is enjoying that. He’s committed to learning! “Poppi” loves Jack and Hudson and he and “Mimi” visit Richmond often.

Mommy has adjusted outstandingly to life in New York City. Every time she tells me she’s getting on or off the subway I am amazed! She took a nanny job at the beginning of November (after interviewing with everyone and their mother—she was in high demand!) and immediately (as always) has fallen completely in love with the kids. There are 2- ages 2 and 6 months. “Mimi” is the best grandmother in the world and takes any and EVERY opportunity to see her grandsons. She and my dad have taken time this year to visit each of us kids in our respective cities and states. It’s always so fun to have them come into our “other worlds.”

Well, I guess that just about wraps it up for the Leach clan. I’m sure it’ll feel like tomorrow that I’m writing you about what we’re thinking 2012 will look like. We love you and hope to see you soon. Have a great year enjoying the faithful hand of God working in your life!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Conviction vs. Preference

So maybe my definitions are wrong.

Maybe I don't understand. Maybe my perspective is off.

But I can't help but wonder at the placement we, as Christians, give the words "conviction" and "preference." Sometimes, they're interchangeable. And from my understanding...they shouldn't be.

Sometimes we mean conviction but say preference because we're fearing man. And don't want others to think we're being self-righteous or "holier than thou."

Other times we say conviction but mean preference and are judging others for being licentious or not quite as strong in their pursuit of holiness. When in reality, the Bible speaks nothing directly of the thing that we hold a "conviction" about. A synonym for conviction is "doctrine." That should open our eyes. Would we say "xyz" is our DOCTRINE?

I think a better understanding of these words and what they communicate, would do a great service to both the Church and unbelievers alike.

In my perspective, conviction needs to be based on truth. Unquestionable, unalterable, clear-as-day truth found in Scripture. A sin to not walk out. It is not dependent on culture. Or upbringing. It's irrelevant what past teaching has been on right or wrong...or even what's most comfortable to us. Conviction is from the Holy Spirit and birthed in our hearts through the Living Word of God. (At least, in my opinion.)

For example. To say we have a "conviction" about something that Scripture doesn't speak to specifically, I think is often a dis-service to our audience. A "conviction" to not be alone with someone of the opposite sex one on one. Such a preference can be great wisdom!!! But if you were kidnapped and held hostage along with someone of the opposite sex...surely that wouldn't be SIN.

In calling something a "conviction", shouldn't the isolated act or thing be sin if it is (or is not) done? Otherwise...its just a preference.

Preferences can change. And do change. Convictions should not.

A preference about when to kiss your boyfriend in your relationship, or how many beers is the limit for unique. TO YOU. Preferences cannot be put onto others-- there's no room for it. You have yours, I have mine. No judgement should be passed.

And IN those preferences, we can hold the conviction that sexual immorality is always sin. And the Bible is clear that we are not to get drunk.

But we must stop there. We can not "add to" what the Bible says is sin with our ideas of how to "best stay away" and then judge others if we think they're getting "too close."

We can prefer. We have room to. But its when we hold others to the standard of "our preference" and not the Word of God and the Word of God ALONE that we become man-centered. We develop opinions about others that are irrelevant. It doesn't matter what we think.

Life is not like facebook. You don't get to "comment."

I've had this conversation with several people in the recent past...just thought it deserved a post.

Thoughts? Comments?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is my best friend from High School, Vanessa. What a dear one she is to me. The kindness of one of my mom's friends driving me to Richmond a day later than I planned, enabled me to hug her neck. What an amazing gift.

Her mom was recently diagnosed with cancer, so please join me in praying for her and her family. For the promises of God to envelope their hearts, and fill them with fresh hope and faith. Each and every single day.

And this is Vanessa's little sister :) She's 8 months old. Precious Lainey Grace.

I was also able to have coffee with sweet Kelly and her darling Will. Kelly was my Girls Bible Study leader in middle school, my 10th grade Bible teacher, and a mentor for YEARS. Such a wise woman who loves the Lord. What a treat.

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Home Town

I apologize that these posts are horrendously out of order.

After Thanksgiving, I traveled to Charlottesville.

And enjoyed some Bodos with a precious friend I've known since I was 4. I haven't seen her since her wedding 2.5 years ago!

Turkey on whole wheat with muenster cheese melted, lettuce, tomato, and avocado spread.


Also. Running into people from High School.


This picture means so much to me. Jean is on the left. Judy on the right. They (and my aunt Judy) are my hairstylist heros. Up-do Queens. When I was assisting at Bristles when I was 15, they would pull me aside and teach me "tricks" and show me how to save time and achieve the same look. I respect them so much and it was a joy to see them again. It is the grace of their investment in me that I'm where I am today and loving my job.

And THESE are some wonderful High School friends. John, Karen, Lisa and Chris. It was absolutely wonderful to see them, hug their necks, and catch up. It also. made me feel very old.
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T-day Leach style

To back up a little, Thanksgiving with the Leach fam was splendid. I hadn't seen Joy in nearly 11 months- it will be a year at Christmas since I've seen Justin. Praise the Lord for the technology of cell phones. Or. "Mobiles" as my mind still calls them.

"Mimi and Poppi" as adorable and madly in love as ever.

JJ and Katie opened their home for yet ANOTHER sibling and extended family invasion.

Our new little man! Hudson William. With his aunties who were mostlikely fighting over him right before this picture. Chances are...I won.

My favourite boys in the entire universe. (How big is Jack?! I swear. The farther away you live, the faster they grow up.)

How is it that we love other human beings SO MUCH when they're "ours"...I don't get it. Can't imagine what its like to have ones that are REALLY "yours." Oh, the love. Makes the Gospel that much sweeter. Amazing that He gave His own Son, isn't it?
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The family I live with, the Morgans, took their first annual holiday trip to "East Jabib" as my dad would call it, to the snowy mountains of North Carolina to show the kids some snow.

Because they so lovingly consider me "family" in even the practicals of life...they sweetly insisted I come...while releasing me if I had work I needed to do.

Of course, I went. And we had a most wonderful time! ROAD TRIP.

Sophie and I treckin' up the mountain in a 4-wheel drive Jeep because our van wouldn't make it.

They are amazing!
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Saturday, December 4, 2010


Meet Chris and Emily. I live with them. They. Are wonderful. And if they don't kick me out before the third week of January...this will officially be the longest place I've lived in the last 6 years.

They let me have parties in their house. Often. We always have tons of dishes to wash the next morning after we pack the dishwasher full and run it overnight.

I got up early this morning to finish them (because Emily is far too eager to serve me and always beats me to it)...

...and both Emily and I woke up to the dishes being completely done- counter spotless...

and Chris left her a post-it note,

"I love you this much."

And it was so sweet, I thought the world should know.

Not only was Emily blessed and left only falling in love with her husband more, but I also am enjoying EXTRA time with the Lord this morning and savoring every second in this busy time of year.

Grace is such a sweet thing.
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