Building Mead Memories – France and Spain

Melanie —  May 16, 2017


God designed the family and relationships in general in such a beautiful way.  They are such a gift.  We just returned from nearly 3 wonderful weeks of together time as a family in France and Spain.  We are so thankful to God for such a special time!  Here are a few pictures that tell the story of our time away.

Our first stop was Normandy and our focus was on soaking up the history of the famous D-Day Landings which turned the tide of WW2. It was incredible to walk on the beaches where it all happened.


Here we are on Omaha Beach. We were thankful for dry weather although it was quite cold.


The Visitor’s Centre and American Cemetery which overlooks Omaha Beach was a very moving experience.


Another amazing place was Pointe du Hoc, a German stronghold high on the rocks above the sea. The US Army Rangers scaled the cliffs under heavy fire to take the site on D-Day. You can still climb in and out of many of the bunkers and Joel and the girls loved climbing and exploring them.


Pointe du Hoc is full of large craters which were created by Allied bombs just prior to D-Day. Here are the Meadlings inside one of them.



The Germans had heavily fortified the Normandy coast and had spread thousands of obstacles all over the beach to stop an invasion. You can still see many of them today. Here is Joel with a “Czech hedgehog” near Utah Beach.


There are many, many memorials all over the area to honour the thousands of Allied soldiers who gave their lives in the D-Day invasions and in the weeks of fighting that followed. This memorial was in an old German bunker and caught my eye especially because of the verse inscribed on the plaque: “Greater love has no one than this that he would lay down his life for his friends.” The many stories of bravery and sacrifice that we read were truly inspiring. I plan on writing a separate post soon with my reflections on our time at the D-Day Beaches. I was incredibly touched by all we experienced.


It wasn’t all serious though . . . there’s always time for some light relief and humour when Joel is around!


Our next stop was in central France at a friend’s parents’ house in Civray. We had a delightful time there. The house is an old mill on a river. It was beautiful.


The children enjoyed playing around outside, swimming in the small indoor pool and eating French bread and cheese!


The weather wasn’t too great while we were there but we made the best of it and enjoyed being cosy around the fire and of course enjoyed the sun when it came out. Here are Aliyah and Kaylah out on the river.


I love this photo of Jessah watching the action down the stairs (I was watching that she didn’t fall!) and Hannah in the background, reading a book up on a concrete ledge!


It was so nice to be together with no time pressures.


Unfortunately, our last hours in Civray included Kaylah tripping and cutting her chin. We had a great experience at the French hospital though . . . (I was grateful Peter spoke enough French to help us communicate) and three stitches later we were on the road again!


Our last stop was the gorgeous Pyrenees in northern Spain. What an amazing part of the world!


My parents flew over from the USA and met us there for a very special time together. We stayed in an old stone house in a very quiet village. The kids said it felt like we were living in a cave.


It was so special for the Meadlings to get time with their American grandparents.


Thanks Mom and Dad for flying across the world (not without a few hassles!) to see us.


We did a lot of hiking, including climbing a hill just outside our village. Here are Mariah and Joel a short way up the trail. The house we stayed in is near to the church steeple.


And here was the awesome view from the top!! God is amazing!!


We all fitted in plenty of reading time . . . Joel’s book was so good in this case that he needed to finish it during a picnic in the mountains.


Miss Kaylah is also becoming quite the reader.


It was fun to explore the medieval town nearby . . .


. . . paddle in the mountain streams (brrrr . . . cold!!) . . .


. . . and enjoy simple pleasures like throwing rocks . . .


. . . enjoying good food . . .


. . . and playing with the village dogs who never tired of having us throw pine cones for them to chase . . .


Joel enjoyed watching the lizards which frequented a rock outside of our house.  There were also birds of prey everywhere.  One day Peter and I had a magnificent display of a huge flock of vultures who landed on something dead near the road we were driving on.  We got to see them right up close.


The Ergo baby carrier came in handy for all the walks and hikes we did – thanks to my sister for that!



I think the hiking and the gorgeous scenery was probably my favourite part of being in Spain.


A holiday with my Mom is never complete without doing at least one jigsaw puzzle – we ended up doing three this time! (The person who stole the last piece of one of them shall remain nameless 🙂 )



Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Heavenly Lights. It was such a gift to be able to soak in His beauty, goodness and love these last three weeks.


We are back now but cherishing the memories.  The time away has been very restorative and we are trusting God as we re-enter life and ministry here in Chippenham.  We plan on writing a ministry update shortly.  Peter is off to Poland on Friday for his annual teaching week at the European Leadership Forum.  Please pray for him to have a time of significant and fruitful ministry.  Also we would ask for your prayers for Jessah who chipped two teeth the night before our holiday.  A dentist told us that she would probably need to have them removed and that her adult teeth may also be damaged.  We have been praying for healing and that this would not be the case.  We see our normal dentist on Thursday so please pray if it’s God’s will, she will be able to keep her teeth.  Thank you for all your prayers for us.