Summer Days

Melanie —  August 2, 2016

This photo of Kaylah was taken a couple of weeks ago during a spell of very hot weather we had – well, hot for England, anyways!  That week happened to be our family “staycation” week.  We decided instead of going away on holiday, that we’d switch off our phones and computers and enjoy some family time at home.  Our week included activities like playing Scalectric (we turned our schoolroom into a racetrack!), going for walks, sleeping in a tent in the backyard, going for a boat ride, eating lots of ice cream, playing games, reading, going to a police dog show, watching films and trying to stay cool as the weather was very warm!  Here are a few photos from that week:

 

The hot weather was a good excuse to eat lots of ice cream treats!

 

Even Jessah got to try a few bites!

 

Family walk . . .

 

 

 

 

Kaylah has been poring over cake decorating books, trying to decide which cake she wants for her 5th birthday (in February!). It looks like Jessah is having fun helping her decide.

Our staycation was a lot of fun but unfortunately, by the middle of it, we were dealing with a nasty virus which almost all of us got in the end.  It was a 24 hr thing for most of us, but it was disappointing timing and was especially draining for me (Melanie) who had it the worst.  After I was mostly recovered, I ended up having trouble sleeping for about 3 days so was left very drained (and discouraged) last week. I am doing better this week but still feeling a bit lacking in energy.  It’s these relatively minor trials that remind us of our human frailty, our need to rely on our Father every moment of every day.  It also has made us thankful for the good health we enjoy most of the time.  Someday we will have those perfect bodies God is preparing for us now and pain and struggle will be just a memory.  In the meantime we press on by faith and trust in Him.

The month of July also included, amongst other things,  a youth campout for Hannah and Aliyah, our church weekend away and a visit to OM Ireland outreach team for Peter. Aliyah and Mariah are currently at another camp this week with a friend, our former neighbour.  Please pray for a spiritually significant week for them.

Looking back a little farther, here are some photos from the month of June.  That month included finishing up school, my birthday and our 18th wedding anniversary (we had 2 nights away with Jessah!), a visit from my aunt, a trip up to Scotland to see friends and a trip to Weymouth with my aunt for the four older kids.  Whew, I guess it was a busy month!

Fun under a blanket with big brother Joel!

 

Jessah gets scooped up by her siblings in all kinds of places around the house.  Here she is "helping" Aliyah do maths.

Jessah gets scooped up by her siblings in all kinds of places around the house. Here she is “helping” Aliyah do maths.

 

She has been scooting along for a couple months now and gets where she wants to go – fast!

 

Here I am with all the children on my birthday.  I still believe I have the best job in the world and the best children in the world!

 

They turned the schoolroom into a restaurant for us and made us an amazing birthday dinner!

 

After dinner, they performed a very special song for me (words written by Peter). It was an incredibly touching birthday present.

 

We enjoyed a lovely visit with my aunt Carol. She was a great help and we had lots of fun together. She even stayed longer than planned to help me while Peter was in Ireland.

 

She took the older four down to Weymouth for 3 nights. They had so much fun!

 

At the same time, Peter and I took the little girls up to Aberdeen to visit some dear friends. Here is Kaylah in the sandpit with her friend.

 

We did a few outings – one to Bowood – while my aunt was here.

 

This girl brings us so much joy!

 

The children did an end of year presentation for us, my aunt and Peter's parents.  It included musical pieces and poetry recitations that they chose themselves (some of them were quite long!).  I am proud of all the hard work they have put into their schooling this year.

The children did an end of year presentation for us, my aunt and Peter’s parents. It included musical pieces and poetry recitations that they chose themselves (some of them were quite long!). I am proud of all the hard work they have put into their schooling this year.  Here they are with their end of year certificates.

 

We have had fun BBQing a few times over the summer. Peter's parents joined us for one.

We have had fun BBQing a few times over the summer. Peter’s parents joined us for one.

 

The month ahead will Lord willing include a week-long trip to Boston (6th-11th) for Peter (he is a student this time in a Christ-centred Preaching class), a Cor Deo intensive (16th-19th) and a trip to the USA for Hannah, Jessah and me (30th-7th).  We’ve also been busy changing rooms around in our house a bit, preparing for next school year and of course church involvement.  The kids have some summer goals they are working on too (musical, Bible and exercise).  Peter and I are generally feeling a bit drained and lacking in motivation for things.  We’d appreciate prayer for a close walk with Jesus and appropriate times of rest and rejuvenation.  We long to be fruitful for Him and to be faithful to love and serve the people He brings into our paths each day. Thank you for praying for our family – we need a moment by moment connection with our Father so much – through the ups and downs of ministry and family life – apart from Him we can do nothing.  We hope to send out a more ministry focused update in the next few days so watch your inbox for that!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you thrilled?

Melanie —  June 3, 2016

I just had to share this cute moment I had with Kaylah yesterday . . . I have started Kaylah on the 100 Reading Lessons that I have done with all the kids to teach them to read. She was doing the writing part of the lesson and I made an “s” for her and asked her to make one of her own while I went into the other room to get something.  When I came back, she’d made a really pretty decent one (“s” is a hard letter to make!).  I exclaimed, “Kaylah! That’s a great “s” – well done!”  She looked up at me and smiled said, “Are you thrilled?”  I laughed and said, “Yes I am thrilled.”  Love these moments with these precious kids.

As most of you know, I love to read and I wish I had more time to post book reviews on this site as I have a passion to share good book ideas with others! However, I am often busy with other things (i.e. teaching kids to read, and juggling many plates as a wife and mummy, etc :-)). I go in phases of not having much time to read and then at other times reading more.  I do read try to snatch a few minutes while nursing Jessah most days. I thought I would just share what books I have on my bedside table/near my nursing chair at the moment.  I usually have several on the go and then dip into whichever one sounds good at the moment.

Becoming a Contagious Christian by Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg – Peter gave me this book years ago before we were even engaged.  I just re-read it in preparation for our women’s book club coming up in a few weeks.  It’s an older book but has some timeless truths in it.  A great read if you want to share your faith more but feel inadequate to do it.  I feel fired up to be more intentional about sharing Jesus!

Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver – This is a book by a woman who traveled around the world interviewing happy wives about their secrets to a good marriage.  It’s very interesting.  I wouldn’t say it’s profound but it’s given some solid advice and it’s spurred me to ENJOY my marriage more!

I Used to Have Answers and Now I Have Kids by Phil Calloway – This is a light and very humorous read.  But has some great truths and lessons in it.

A Wind in the House of Islam by David Garrison – I picked this up at Word Alive and have really enjoyed it.  Parts of it have been a bit heavy but the stories of Muslims coming to faith from all over the world have been inspiring.

Screens and Teens by Kathy Koch – I need to get back into this one and put some of the ideas in it into practice (I am in the middle of it and got distracted onto reading other books).  I like her approach of talking about the basic deep needs of teenagers and how many are trying to get these needs met through their screens.  I think this should be a must-read for every parent (maybe every person even if you aren’t a parent!) as it shows the positives and pitfalls of our screen dominated culture and how we can deal with them.

Trailblazer Books by Dave and Neta Jackson – I include these because I previewed one recently for my kids.  They are so well-written and wonderful books which introduce your children to Christian missionaries and other heroes.

Next up (i.e. in my pile waiting to get to read!)

The Revolution of Love and Out of the Comfort Zone by George Verwer – at the start of this year, I got into reading George Verwer’s books. I made it my goal to read them all . . . I am getting there slowly. I especially enjoyed Hunger for Reality.

Too Many to Jail – The Story of Iran’s New Christians by Mark Bradley – can’t wait to read this. My dad says it’s great!

Beyond the Sacred Page by Jack Cavanaugh – this is a novel and I don’t normally read novels these days (they draw me in and then I neglect my responsibilities cause I am hooked!!) but my older girls read it for school and say it’s amazing and I have to read it! It’s the story of William Tyndale.

 

OK, enough about books.  I hope some of these may be a blessing to some of you! I know Hannah wants to post some book reviews sometime soon too so watch this space.  🙂

May Update

Melanie —  May 2, 2016

 

Sweet Jessah at six months

April showers bring May flowers?? . . . Today is the 2nd of May and so far we have showers! However, we hear some warmer weather is coming this week. And actually our April showers were actually mixed in with some nicer sunny days too.

The kids take every opportunity to be outside. Here they are doing some schoolwork.

We even got to have our first picnic a couple weeks ago.

It’s a bank holiday here and Peter has taken the kids out bowling this afternoon. (Teacher mum made them do school this morning as we have some plans later this week that will take us away from our studies!)  This has given me some time to sit and catch up on some paperwork type stuff and enjoy a little quiet in the house while Jessah naps. Our house is usually very noisy and busy and I am grateful for all the people who make it that way!

The Meadlings love to bake – it was jam tarts this time.

Our little Jessah is six months old and continuing to steal our hearts every day. She tried her first solid food today (banana) and this was her reaction:

Cute!

Having a baby in the house is a lot of work. But the effort pales in comparison to the joy she brings to all of us. Babies have such a special way of bringing laughter and life and hope to a household. No one resents her presence or having to do life a little differently because she is in our family. I love to watch the older kids with her, just loving on her. It’s amazing the way a baby stirs up love in everyone’s hearts. Babies are love multipliers!

 

One of the sweetest times of the day is when I feed her at night and she drops off to sleep in my arms.  The months are speeding by and I know she won’t be little forever.  So I am trying to cherish the moments.  Even though we’ve had six babies over the years, every one is such a precious and unique gift. In a world where unborn human lives are often destroyed and also where many people’s longings for a baby are never fulfilled, we cherish and treasure the lives God has entrusted into our family. And we realize we are incredibly blessed. Here are some photo memories from the past few weeks.

We went out to lunch for his birthday with his parents and then had a takeaway with friends in the evening. Little did he know that he had a surprise party coming that weekend! (Sorry I do not have any photos of that yet)

We love Peter so much and thank God for his life.

He has such a special bond with the kids and I am so grateful for the time he spends with them and the love he shows them.

 

Where have the years gone? We are not as young as we used to be but we are still in love with each other!

Some family prayer requests:

 

We have noticed that Kaylah has been having hearing problems. She has a test on the 25th of May. Please pray we can figure out what the problem is and get help for her.

 

Please pray for health for Peter as he has been constantly getting viruses for the past few months. This is discouraging for him and has made it harder to keep up with all his ministry responsibilities.

 

Please would you pray for me (Melanie) to have God’s wisdom to run the race of life as a marathon, not a sprint! I have a tendency to run too hard and then crash physically. I need to pace myself a little better and have wisdom to keep all the important plates spinning and leave the rest. Thankfully, my migraines have been a little better recently but I still would appreciate prayer that I could avoid having them.

 

Please would you pray for the Meadlings as they finish off their school year (they have about 7 weeks to go to finish their main schooling subjects.) Pray for diligence and for God to keep working in their hearts. We had George Verwer speak at our church yesterday and I think it’s fair to say the older kids were all inspired in one way or another. We’d love to see them catch a vision for serving God in missions.

 

Thanks so much for praying for us.  We should put an email update together soon so you can have update on what is going on ministry wise for us.  As always, please let us know how we can pray for you and your family!