Archives For Melanie’s Book Reviews

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.  🙂

Is He Hiding?

Melanie —  November 7, 2014



I am loving the stage Kaylah is at right now (she 3 mos. away from being 3 yrs old).  In the past month, she has started to talk – A LOT!  She chatters away about everything under the sun.  At times, we hear her quoting bits from her story books (from memory) at random moments and talking about people she loves. The other day she and I were driving somewhere together in the van.  I don’t know how we got onto the topic but she started asking me about God and where He was.  I said, “Well, even though we can’t see Him, He’s everywhere and He’s always with us.”  There was a long pause and then she asked, “Is He hiding?”  Big smile from the mum in the driver’s seat.  How to explain this one?  I said something along the lines of that God the Father was a spirit but that Jesus had a body and when He was on earth people saw Him.  And someday He is going to come back and we’ll see Him too.  Another long pause, “Is He back yet?”  Another big smile from me.  “Not yet, but someday when we see Him it will be amazing!”  Like Kaylah, I think we all struggle sometimes with not being able to see God.  It reminds me that our life is a walk of faith . . . but not forever!  Can’t wait to see Him face to face.  There is something about the simplicity of little people that is so precious and refreshing.  Tonight, as I was getting Kaylah out of the bath, she licked my face.  I laughed and said, “Kaylah don’t lick me!”  She said, “Mummy, you are my favourite food.”  Ha!  Gives a new meaning to the “yummy mummy concept.” 🙂

I am thanking God that it’s been an encouraging week.  The kids and I have been working hard on schoolwork and we’ve been enjoying having people in our home.  Last week I was struggling with migraines, bad sleep and a virus and also feeling pretty discouraged.  The last few months have been tough in lots of ways. Life has felt heavy and I have been battling discouragement.  I have been praying and asking God to make my heart thankful and joyful no matter the circumstances.  And I am grateful He has been answering that this week.  I truly desire to be able to praise and thank Him, even when I am NOT having a good week.  Peter has been busy preparing for teaching next week as well as speaking at two Christian Unions in the last week, preaching and church and teaching a few days at a seminary in Wales.  Please pray for his stamina and for eternal fruit from these opportunities.

I had a special treat on Tuesday as I was able to go to Oxford and hear Sally Clarkson speak. There were only 20 spaces at this last-minute meeting and somehow I got a place!  I took it as a hug from God.  I have appreciated Sally’s books so much and it was such an inspiration to hear her speak. She is a godly, experienced mum who writes about motherhood and has been a leader in the homeschooling movement.  Check out her website here.  I came away from the meeting refreshed and eager to read her blog and more of her books!  The most recent one I have read is: Desperate – Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe.  It is excellent and so encouraging.  I think every mum/mom would be so blessed by it. This book, and the others I have read are very suitable for all mothers, whether or not they homeschool.  I love her emphasis on reaching the heart of your child and cultivating relationships.

We’d appreciate prayer as we head into next week.  It’s the the start of a new “Level Two” Cor Deo programme.  We are excited about the opportunity for about 10 people who have already done Cor Deo in some form, to take their learning and growth to the next level. Next week will be the first instalment of teaching.  We will be hosting our Italian friend Andrea and his 9 year old son, Matteo.  Andrea will be doing the Cor Deo course and Matteo will be doing his homeschooling alongside our children.  Hopefully some Italian and English will be learned on both sides too!

Here are a few photos from last month . . . this month’s still to be uploaded!  Thank you for your prayers for our family.

Mairah in her onesie pajamas.  Love her smile!

Mairah in her onesie pajamas. Love her smile!

Now it's Kaylah's turn to try it on!

Now it’s Kaylah’s turn to try it on!  It’s a little big.

The Meadlings at STEAM (train museum).  We went with my parents when they were here as my dad is a train fan.  Their visit was wonderful but went all too fast!

The Meadlings at STEAM (train museum). We went with my parents when they were here as my dad is a train fan. Their visit was wonderful but went all too fast!

Are they ever this quiet at home?!  Nope. :-)

Are they ever this quiet at home?! Nope. 🙂


We thought we’d share with you a few resources that have been a blessing to our family recently.  Hope some might be a blessing to you too!

313NsPYFz0L._AA160_Seeds Family Worship – I had heard about these cds from various people but finally was introduced to the Seeds of Praise album when I saw an offer for a free download.  The songs are all straight from the Bible – literally the words of Scripture.  Our whole family has enjoyed listening to the music.  The catchy tunes are fun to sing, easy to pick up and best of all they are embedding God’s word in our hearts.  Peter and I got the Power of Encouragement album for the kids for an Easter present and we are eager to try the other albums someday too.  I noticed in the Sonlight curriculum catalog that when you buy a SFW album through Sonlight, they will send you a second album of the same title, free, to share with a friend (they don’t say this on the website but I think the offer is still on).  Great deal! (Here is the link to Sonlight’s


51AITpYCj7L._AA160_Meaning of Marriage  – by Tim Keller – My cousin recently told me that this was hands-down, the best book she’s ever read on marriage.  That caught my attention and I recently read the book and found it to be excellent, just like she said.  It is insightful, biblical and paints a beautiful and inspiring vision for what a Christ-honouring marriage can and should be.  Highly recommend it.



logo2 Saying Goodbye – This video was recommended on an American blog post, so I was surprised to find it was produced by a UK charity that offers support to those who have experienced baby loss.  This video touched me so much and I have watched it many times over the past few months since we lost our baby.  Peter and I also decided to attend one of the Saying Goodbye cathedral services at the end of March.  We went into it a bit skeptical about what the service might be like but it really surpassed our expectations.  The music was beautiful and included the song, I Will Carry You by Selah, (click here for a video of the song) which we had heard before and has touched us very much.  There were other songs, Scripture readings, poems and chances to acknowledge the little one(s) those attending had loved and lost.  All in all, it was a precious time for us in a beautiful cathedral setting.  We both cried through the whole thing but we found those tears to be healing.  Saying Goodbye offers these services regularly in different parts of the country. I share our experience with the hope that maybe someone else might be helped by these videos or a service in their area.


41OnNSFnYOLNancy Guthrie – Along with a few others from church, Peter and I recently went to day conference called, “Ministering to Broken Hearts.”  The speaker, Nancy Guthrie, and her husband David, have experienced the loss of two of their children and gave us some excellent teaching on how to help people who are grieving.  I have typed up my notes from the conference and would be glad to email them to anyone who would like a copy.  We also bought some of Nancy’s books at the conference.  I am almost done with Be Still My Soul, which is a compilation of “25 classic and contemporary readings on the problem of pain.”  God has really been using it in my heart.  Each chapter stands alone and can be read in a short sitting.  I am looking forward to reading some of the others we bought:  Hearing Jesus Speak Into Your Sorrow, Holding Onto Hope, and The One Year Book of Hope.


The Mystery of History – Lastly, a homeschooling resource.  We used volume one of this homeschool history curriculum last year and though it was phenomenal.  It covered ancient history from a Christian perspective – from Creation to the Resurrection.  We loved how it tied together secular ancient history with Bible history.  The kids begged me to use Volume Two this year and we have also greatly enjoyed this one!  As a mum, I love how I can read the lessons to all my children but there are age appropriate activities for all of them.  It also includes quizzes, worksheets, map assignments, exams and timeline activities. The author often focuses on people rather than events.  I like this as I think it’s much more interesting to study history biographically.  The author also writes in a very conversational style that is fun and easy for the kids to listen to.  We hope to use Volume Three and Four in the future!

Hope some of these reviews were helpful to you!