Archives For Melanie

Christmas Greetings from the Meads

Melanie —  December 21, 2018

Wow, Christmas and the dawn of 2019 are almost here!  These past days and weeks our family has been busy finishing off schoolwork, preparing for Christmas, and trying to be a blessing to those around us.  Our church carol service went very well last week and we had quite a few guests join us.  We had live animals, free family photos on offer and a party for the younger children.  This Sunday we have another special Christmas family service including our first Trinity Chippenham nativity.  It’s been quite a hectic last few months with ministry travelling (Chicago and Spain) and seminary teaching and marking (for Union in Wales) for Peter, along with much serving at church.  I’ve been doing my best to manage the household, as we also open our home and hearts to various people.  We’re all looking forward to a break from the normal routine over the Christmas holidays.  Everyone is also excited about my parents arriving from America tomorrow to spend the holidays with us!

As this year draws to a close, we realise we are long overdue to share some family news and photos.  Here are a few photos to give you a flavour of what we’ve been up to:

 

Looking right back to the start of the school year . . here are all my amazing students! (the title of the book Jessah is holding cracked me up!)

 

We’ve been studying ancient history this year and the kids made an edible cake map of Egypt for one of their assignments. 🙂

 

Hannah helped Kaylah rig up a horse and “buggy!”

 

Aliyah doing some baking with the little girls.

 

Jessah and Kaylah eating “log cabin” toast (just like my mom used to make for me!)

 

It’s been a goal of mine to spend more time outdoors this school year. We’ve had some lovely times together enjoyed creation.

 

Kaylah found a TINY snail!

 

The autumn leaves were absolutely gorgeous.

 

Lots of Mead wellies in the leaves.

 

We’ve enjoyed spending time at the nearby stream and woods, both by ourselves and with other homeschool friends.

 

Our September nature tray . . .

 

And October . . .

 

We took this photo to preserve the memory of a VERY wet walk home from the supermarket. We were absolutely drenched and Mariah heroically carried a sobbing Jessah all the way home! A walk we won’t forget!

 

Our church’s annual Light Party is a real highlight of our autumn. – a great outreach opportunity and lots of fun. Here the girls are icing MANY cookies to put in party bags.

 

Jessah at the Light Party!

 

Another highlight of our autumn is doing the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. We read stories from an amazing book this year which inspired us even more to get involved. Kaylah got very excited and spent lots of time and her own money filling her box.

 

Sweet Jessah turned 3 in November!

 

And Joel turned 12!

 

We really enjoyed Thanksgiving with some friends. Aliyah did a beautiful job decorating the table.

 

Our walks have gotten fewer this month as we have had extremely wet weather. Here we are managing a little walk/ride between the raindrops.

 

A winter highlight for me so far was taking Jessah ice skating for the first time. We went with my friend and her daughter – so fun!

 

It’s a good deal, being able to ride on a banana when you get tired!

 

Kaylah and her friends from the “Har-minis” choir had fun singing carols at a retirement home.

 

Life is sometimes a complicated web . . . with God’s gracious help, we keep on “climbing” and serving Him!

 

Thank you for your prayers for our family.  We would very much appreciate prayer for physical and spiritual refreshment over the Christmas period (we are all quite tired and in need of a break) and quality time as a family.  Also, that the Lord will work through us in the times that we spend with others outside our family. Our desire is to share his wonderful love and kindness that we ourselves have received.  Happy Christmas to all of you and please do let us know how we can pray for you and your family in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA Trip in Review

Melanie —  September 2, 2018

 

Our time in the USA was such a blessing! It’s taken me weeks to get around to organising the photos (I had a big problem getting the photos on the computer) but finally I have some to share.  How can I sum up these seven weeks?  The Lord was so good to us and we were able to accomplish what we set out to.  We visited 3 states, slept in 7 homes, drove over 2000 miles, spoke at 15 churches/events and visited many friends (too many to count!). In the midst of it, we dealt with hundreds of mosquito bites (!), one sprained ankle and our Kaylah learned to jump into a swimming pool by herself – a milestone.  Jessah learned to very sweetly and politely say, “Thank you for having us,” as we left people’s houses.  🙂 She even said it to a lady who came to visit US where we were staying. That got a laugh!

This was our luggage for our 2 week road trip . . 

 

And yes, it did fit into the van! Phew!

 

Our purpose was to reconnect with those who support and pray for our family.  Without these wonderful friends, we could not be in full-time ministry.  The children absolutely loved spending time with their cousins and friends and it was a joy for all of us to see many people that we love – family and friends too (sadly we weren’t able to connect with all those we would have liked to due to the whirlwind nature of the trip.)  Going into the trip, I was quite apprehensive as to how I would cope with the hectic schedule but God was gracious and my migraines did not disrupt our schedule too much during our travels.

Personally, one of the highlights of the trip for me was drinking in the beauties of God’s creation.  We got to see majestic mountains, lush forests, giant redwood trees, beautiful rivers and gorges and lakes and of course the beautiful Pacific ocean (see below for one of the breath-taking sights the older girls and I saw when we were at the beach with my sister).  I found the landscape of my home-state, Oregon, to be achingly beautiful on this trip.  God’s creation  reminded me of His incredible creativity, power, beauty and majesty. Here are some Oregon coast photos:

And some from the Redwoods and San Francisco Bay (with Golden Gate Bridge in the background):

 

 

And gorgeous Crater Lake . . . the deepest lake in the USA. It’s a caldera lake which means it formed in the crater of a volcano.

And the beautiful Deschutes River.  We stayed with very dear friends who live right on the river . . . what a blessing!

 

 

What a treat to have fun on the river with cousins!

Speaking of cousins. . . it was a major highlight to spend time with my parents and my sister and her family.  The Hickmans even housed our large family for a good portion of our time in Oregon.

Here we are at a Hillsboro Hops game!

 

We went strawberry picking on my birthday! It was so beautiful out in the countryside and special to be with my family.

 

Kaylah and her cousin Elly.

 

Joel and Matthew roasting marshmallows for s’mores.

 

Hannah and Elly

 

Sharing a story

 

Grandma with Kaylah and Jessah

 

Here’s the whole clan!

 

And here are the Meadlings with Aunt Carol who graciously hosted us in Chicago. What a treat to spend time with her!

 

Fourth of July parade with Aunt Carol and dear friends. We just about melted in the heat and humidity!

 

Staying cool in the Chicago heat!

 

We met with so many wonderful people . . . here are a few photos of some of our friends. I was very impacted by the thought how God has his people in every corner of the world where they are serving and making a difference for him.  Heaven will be such a joy when we can hear each other’s stories for all eternity.

This is my dear friend Amber and her 7 children with me and my 6 (minus Hannah who wasn’t there that day!)

 

And another dear friend, Kari with her 6 children (and us Meads)

 

And the wonderful Roedel family

 

We stayed with some new friends in southern Oregon. who were such a blessing to us. This is their dog (yes, it is a dog and not a bear!)

 

It was a wonderful unexpected blessing to see my dear friend Carol. We hadn’t seen each other in 10 years!

 

Thank you so much for praying for our family during this epic trip. God answered many prayers and we are so thankful for His goodness to us.

 

Back to the present . . . we have had a busy summer at home (see our last post for some ideas of what we’ve been up to!) and tomorrow we are leaving for a short break down on the south coast.  We’re looking forward to being able to switch off after a very full summer and rest a bit. Please pray for good health and good times of bonding and encouragement for us as a family.

 

Last week Peter, the four older Meads, and five other Trinity Chippenham youth headed out to a campground in Wales for a week of youth camp run by Grace Church Bristol. They had a fantastic time! There were lots of laughs, good food, games and activities, and times of worship and teaching. All the kids and Peter came back full of stories and thankfulness for an encouraging week.  In the midst of the week, Mariah had her appendix out! Not exactly what we were expecting to happen during camp week . . . but we did know she had a “grumbling” appendix and made sure there was a hospital near to the campground.  She went into hospital Wednesday night, had the appendectomy Thursday night and came back to camp Friday night.  I wasn’t so sure that was a great idea (mother worrying from a distance!) but Peter was there with her and someone gave up a bed in a house on the site for Mariah so she didn’t have to sleep in a tent for the last night.  Needless to say, I was glad to see everyone (especially Mariah!) when they came home on Saturday.

Some of her friends from camp came to visit her in hospital.

Meanwhile, back in Chippenham, Kaylah and Jessah and I had a very special week.  We went to Bowood, read stories, went to McDonalds (or “Old McDonalds” as Jessah calls it!) and had some time with friends. It was a precious time and I think they both really benefitted from the focused attention they got from me. It was a very quiet house!! When it was only just the 3 of us, it made me realise just how complicated it is to run a household of 8 (and hopefully I will be a bit gentler on myself when I have my moments of finding it a little overwhelming!)

 

Picnic at Bowood!

 

So cute to see the girls starting to read books quietly together. (“read” in Jessah’s case!)

In other events this month, we had a wonderful family “staycation” the week before camp.  We played games, did some biking, had a picnic, played pool (we’ve got a table in our newly cleaned garage now!), and enjoyed a read aloud (Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot). It was so nice to have that downtime together. Oh, I also took Kaylah and Joel to a climbing place one afternoon.  They loved it!

 

Kaylah got more and more confident as the afternoon went on!

 

Joel must have done this wall 25 times, trying to beat his speed record!

Jessah listening to some music!

Speaking of listening, Peter has been doing a series at Trinity on “Ears to Hear” – preaching through Jesus’ parables.  Its’ been excellent (in this wife’s opinion!), Click here to listen.

 

Watch this space soon for some photos from our USA trip (finally!). I had some major issues getting photos from my phone to my computer but I have now fixed the problem . . . hope to post some photos soon!