Goodbye summer, hello autumn!

Melanie —  September 25, 2020

Goodbye summer, hello autumn – this is the name of a children’s book I heard about recently.  I always love the changing of one season to another. Our days and nights have turned crisp and cool and we’re enjoying some beautiful autumn leaves here in Wiltshire.  Life is busy with homeschooling, ministry – church and Cor Deo and one-to-one relationships (with the ever changing COVID-19 restrictions keeping us on our toes!)

It’s been a really long time since we have shared any family news or photos . . . so without further ado, here is a photo update from the past few months! Watch your inbox for a family and ministry update in the next week or two as well!

In April, the girls made an Easter garden with cross and tomb. Those tiny plants grew and grew and bloomed beautifully all summer!

 

Our spring and summer were filled with lots of lovely outdoor walks and bike rides.

 

During our 12 week lockdown we went outside for our daily “allowed” outdoor exercise very faithfully!

 

We found some really beautiful places to walk that we probably wouldn’t have found if we weren’t locked down!

 

Peter and I had an “at home” date most weeks. We even dressed up for one or two of them and made some memories.

 

We also enjoyed creatively having people “over” for dinner on zoom. 🙂

 

 

This was our anniversary meal. The kids made a “restaurant” at home for us and served us an amazing dinner.

 

Once restrictions eased a bit, we got to go back to one of our favourite places, Bowood House and Gardens.

 

Here are Kaylah and Jessah by the lake.

 

Overall we were blessed with amazing weather this summer. The younger kids put their money together and bought a paddling pool which gave them hours of fun!

 

The weather even got hot enough for me to be convinced to get into it!

 

Another “at home” thing we did this spring/summer was to attempt to grow some vegetables. Here’s one of our beetroot crops.

 

And here’s Kaylah with some radishes we grew! I’ve gotten quite excited about gardening these days and am attempting to grow some more things this autumn in my novice way!

 

It was such a joy to have Hannah home for the summer. She and I did multiple jigsaw puzzles and read 4 of the Chronicles of Narnia together! In between the many hours she worked (God provided her with 3 different jobs!) she spent lots of time with the little girls who adored having her back! Here she is drinking boba tea with them.

 

It was such a treat to be all back together again.

 

Hannah also did a lot of reading lessons with this girl, who is continuing to delight us with her sweet and imaginative ways.

 

In August, our church did a charity bike ride to raise money for a ministry that helps needy kids in Uganda. The Trinity Kids were incredible! They did a ten mile round trip cycle ride and raised more than £1200! Jessah was the youngest participant and even had enough energy afterwards to cycle all the way back to our house from the starting point with her siblings!

 

We had an incredible surprise blessing the last 2 weeks of August. A friend let us use some already booked accommodation in Norway that they were unable to use. We couldn’t quite believe we were so blessed with such a generous gift but we had an amazing 2 weeks!

 

We stayed right near a fjord and spent lots of time near and on the water. Hannah was already back at uni in Oregon- we were so sad she couldn’t be with us.

 

We had use of a little boat which provided us with many hours of fun.

 

 

 

The older girls loved using the diving boards that were dotted around the fjord!

 

This one was crazy high!

 

There was all kinds of interesting wildlife to discover . . .

 

Including jellyfish . . .

 

. . .and purple starfish!

 

All in all those two weeks were such a gift to us of rest and refreshment.

 

Lots of special memories made.

 

We came back and hit the ground running with school. This is our traditional “start of school” Meadling photo.

 

That gives you a little idea of what our family has been up to! A little more about each of the kids . . . Hannah is loving being back at uni.  She’s been juggling lots of responsibilities while also dealing with Covid restrictions and smoke from the terrible fires in the area recently. Aliyah is currently preparing for her SAT exam which will be on 3 October (rescheduled from May) and also learning to drive!! She’s busy giving piano lessons to a handful of children too, including Kaylah. Mariah working hard at school and is loving her voice lessons and hoping to experiment with some recording and editing soon. Joel has been saving his money for a new bike for a long time – he’s finally bought one which will hopefully arrive next week! The older 3 at home are all very involved with the worship band at church and also youth group. Kaylah and Jessah are really excited that we are getting some tropical fish soon (we’re going for an “easy” pet experience!). They continue to play countless imaginative games, especially involving one or both of them being animals!

Don’t let the sweet “good moment” photos fool you into thinking we aren’t just like any other family – we get tired, we argue, we deal with bad attitudes and mood swings and health issues! We’d value your prayers so much as we continue to raise our children. Parenting definitely keeps you on your toes and on your knees.We need much wisdom, patience and grace from God – our perfect heavenly Father!   As I said above, we hope to send out a ministry update soon. Thank you so much for praying for us.  As always, please let us know how we can pray for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emerging from Lockdown

Peter —  August 12, 2020

It has been a few weeks since we posted any sort of update on here.  In these weeks the UK has emerged from lockdown in some respects and we certainly feel more free than we did a while back.  To start with we were able to be outdoors for more time each day, and then more shops opened.  The first enjoyable step was probably being able to meet in groups of six for Life Group – thankfully the weather has been mostly perfect for the past months so this has worked out well for us (actually even the torrential rain week was fun!)

Our church has not been able to meet in our normal venue as the school is not renting facilities yet.  But for the past three weeks we have met at a village hall.  Sadly we are restricted to 30 people, socially distanced, with no singing, and now also with face masks.  Hopefully the singing rule will change soon because that really is a central part of church experience for people.  It has been nice to be meeting up, even if over half of the church still has to join online each week.

Please pray for us to figure out how to do church in the changing circumstances, but also how to do outreach and how to be a welcoming community when our numbers are limited and people have to sign up in advance to attend.  We are also aware that another lockdown may come in the next months, which would be disappointing.  At least we know how to do church online now – back in March we had to figure it out before the next Sunday arrived!

Speaking of adjustments, Peter has been doing a lot of work to launch Cor Deo Online which has gone really well so far.  The online gatherings have seen groups of roughly 20-40 people joining each week.  To access the online gatherings or the recordings you would need to sign up to the Cor Deo mailing list (click here to do that), or you can click below to see some of the public content that is now online from Cor Deo Online!

One Benefit of Lockdown

Peter —  June 10, 2020

A huge benefit of lockdown has been time together as a family.  This last weekend the girls led the worship music segment of our church service.  For at least the next 10 days you can see the video here

Another benefit has been the space in the schedule to learn new skills and develop plans for Cor Deo Online … since we probably won’t be able to do an in-person Intensive for many months, we have decided to start offering Cor Deo refresher content online.

1. There will be more videos going up on the Cor Deo YouTube channel (click here to go there and please do subscribe to the channel, click the notification bell, like and comment freely, etc – it all helps!)

2. There will be online gatherings to either attend or access online via the Cor Deo update emails.  If you don’t receive updates from Cor Deo, you can click here to subscribe to the updates and receive your invitation to access this second level of content.

Please pray for this addition to the ministry of Cor Deo to progress well!

During the lockdown I have been uploading brief Bible reading highlight videos.  The latest set was a Journey Thru John – one highlight per chapter.  This set will be complete in the next couple of days.  Here is the playlist in case you’d like to check them out: