Archives For Book Reviews

For the Children’s Sake

Melanie —  January 24, 2020

2020 is off to a good start in the Mead household!  My health hasn’t been the greatest this month but as always, I’m thankful for the good days.  Our gracious and compassionate Father is always there for me when I cry out to him.

We had such a wonderful Christmas holiday time – we made some really special family memories.

It was so great to have our whole family together again.

 

We’re so thankful for this girl!

Hannah is back at university in Oregon now and apart from a having a nasty cold virus, she’s doing really well and enjoying her new classes.  Last weekend she flew to St. Louis to meet up with some dear friends from Ireland who are now involved with youth there.  She was able to help lead a youth retreat and thoroughly enjoyed it!

Here she is with other members of the Ireland team that she and Aliyah worked with last summer.

Here in Chippenham, we are into our 16th week of homeschooling – crazy how time flies! I’m loving all the time I get to spend with the kids, especially reading aloud to them.  In a few weeks I’ll embark on teaching Jessah how to read (I always say this is one of the most challenging but also the more rewarding parts of homeschooling).  She’s so excited about it – our baby is growing up!

Speaking of growing up, Aliyah is about to turn 17 and has her first driving lesson scheduled on her birthday! She’s got exams coming up in the next months (SAT, CLEP and piano) and is looking forward to a trip to America in March to check out two universities.  She’s also planning on being a part of two mission trips this summer – stay tuned for more info!

I’ve recently been re-reading a book that marked me deeply when I was a new mother – For the Children’s Sake by Susan Shaeffer Macaulay. (She is the late Francis Schaeffer’s daughter).  I’m so grateful for the wisdom and beautiful ideas found in this book.  It’s been reminding me of the preciousness of our children and what a privilege it is to be a part of raising and educating them.  It’s an older books (published in 1984) but full of timeless wisdom, much of it counter-cultural.

“If Christianity is true, then every last little child matters . . . One day we will stand before the Creator.  Were we willing to give, serve and sacrifice “for the childrens’ sake?” (p. 11)

“Dear Lord, the little children are being smothered! The experience of beauty in God’s great outdoors is often exchanged for seeing flickering images on a screen.”

Macaulay talks about how young children are often as “pressurised as executives.” They are fitted in a frantic schedule to suit their parents’ needs.  She advocates more time for free and creative play, more time outdoors and lots of reading aloud of rich and “living” books.  She urges adults to value children as “persons” and actually do it for “it’s own sake.”  There is so much we can learn from children if we will just slow down and listen and wonder and grow together.  How often I fail in this area but I’m inspired to keep trying, a decision at a time!

Unfortunately, children are more under attack than ever in our culture today.  Satan, being the violent and evil enemy that he is, loves to prey on “the least of these” – the very ones that Jesus asked us to especially value and protect!  I feel more motivated than ever to advocate for them and protect them from the evil around them.  I received a link to this article this week: 10 Ways Porn Culture Will Target Your Kids in 2020 –  it’s an eye opener – there were quite a few things that both Peter and I had no idea about.  I would encourage you to read the whole article and follow the links in it too – whether you are a parent or not.  Our children are worth it!

At long last, I’ve updated my Currently Reading Page on this website.  You can click on the link to see it.

We are thankful for a really positive and seemingly fruitful Cor Deo preaching training course last week here in Chippenham.  Peter has been in Germany at the OM New Recruits conference the past few days. I’m sure he’ll report on how it went sometime soon.

Lastly, we’re in the middle of a challenging sermon series at church – Incline Your Heart.  If you’d like to listen, you can do so here.  As always, please let us know how we can pray for you.  Thank you so much for your partnership with us!

Summer Reading Ideas

Melanie —  June 4, 2017

I have been recently inspired to start regularly sharing resources again that have been a blessing to our family!

More and more I am becoming convinced about the power of stories in our lives to shape and teach us and inspire us to greatness.  Just consider the number of stories that Jesus himself told!

Read the World – summer book club

First, if you are looking for a fun idea to get your children reading this summer, and also help them learn about other cultures and countries, check out the Read the World summer book club.  This can be a very simple thing (i.e. read one book each week as a family) or it can be more involved (i.e. read lots of books each week, try recipes from different countries, give your children prizes, raise money for a charity, etc).  The great thing is that you can customise it for your family. Our family is excited to participate.  The book club starts this week but it’s not too late to sign up!  If you don’t own Jamie Martin’s, “Give Your Child the World,” you can still glean book ideas from friends, google for ideas or use the library. (If you live near us, we are happy to suggest and loan books!)

Read the World is being promoted by Jamie Martin and also Sarah MacKenzie from the Read Aloud Revival podcast.

A friend pointed me to The Read Aloud Revival  a few months ago and I have been eating it up ever since.  I don’t get much time to listen to podcasts.  They are my “treat” if I have to drive somewhere by myself or I am actually cooking in the kitchen alone! (which rarely happens).  The tagline of the podcast encourages listeners to “build your family culture around books.”  So many of us think that reading aloud is something we should do only with young children.  Not so! The research (and our family experience too!) shows that reading aloud is an incredible way to build family bonds and of course to develop a moral foundation, imagination, English skills and much, much more!

I recommend you listen to podcast number one first but then just pick out which ones look interesting to you (feel free to ask me for my favourites!).  Sarah also has a list of the most popular episodes here.  There have been episodes with Sally Lloyd Jones (author of the Jesus Story Book Bible), Sally Clarkson (one of my very favourite writers) and her daughter Sarah Clarkson and many more wonderful authors and speakers.  Don’t miss the incredible true story of a girl and her father who read aloud every night for nearly eight years!

If you read aloud to your children for only 10 minutes a day, that adds up to 60 hours a year! From our family experience, it’s totally worth it to start this as a new habit!  Audiobooks work great too if you don’t fancy reading aloud yourself. If you are already into reading aloud in your family, this podcast will be the source of fantastic book ideas.

One book idea I got from the podcast is The Green Ember.  (Check out the fab video at this link with the author and his children.) With Mariah and Joel having chicken pox this past week and me having a heavy cold, we have been listening to it as an audiobook together. It would be a great family read-aloud for middle grades on up (this nearly 40 year old is loving it!). I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Thankfully, the chicken pox Meadlings (Hannah, Mariah and Joel) are feeling much better.  They are now just waiting for their spots to heal and so they are non-contagious.  The trip to Cadbury World tomorrow with our homeschooling friends is looking in doubt for Mariah and Joel but hey, we’ll have the Green Ember to listen to and maybe we’ll have to get some of our own chocolate to munch while we listen.

Happy Summer Reading!

 

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.  🙂