In my last post, I wrote about the joys of the first part of our USA trip, the wedding and surrounding days. (Click here to read it – A Month of Joy – Part One.) Here are some photos of the second half of our trip. NOTE: At the bottom of this post, I’ve shared a few current and pressing prayer requests.
After the wedding, we were incredibly blessed to be able to spend time with many dear friends and family members. On the Monday after the wedding, the owner of the air B and B we were staying in out of the blue offered us the use of another property she had. We spent a glorious day in the sun using the pool and private lake! Swimming, kayaking, fishing, playing games and eating good food made it such a sweet day to remember.
Precious cousin time!
Kayaking on the lake
Matthew and Joel – 6 months apart in age – are now more men than boys!
Because we usually live so far away from each other, Amy and I treasure our sister time.
My parents stayed for a couple more days after Amy’s family left and we had some sweet time with them too.
Our next stop after staying in the air B and B with our extended family was Noah’s parent’s house! What a joy to connect with these dear people. We had lots of good conversations – serious and humorous! We truly feel like the Mozingos are our family now. The Lord has knitted our families and our hearts together in love.
What a joy to connect as mothers and sisters in Christ.
Some of the Meadlings with Noah’s brothers, brother in law and sister in law.
David and Lisa and Kaylah and Jessah loved playing games together.
And the girls loved playing with Mozingos’ dog, Maggie.
Here we are getting ready to ride the cable car up to the top of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. It was such a fun day out all together!
We couldn’t imagine how a cable car could even fit inside the arch! It was definitely a tight squeeze. Not recommended for the claustrophobic!
The view from the top was amazing!
Here we are at the base of the arch. You can see how huge it is, from how tiny we look!
The wedding, time with Noah’s family and the time with his church family were all so rich and meaningful. Peter spoke at Noah’s church the last Sunday we were there and we felt such a warm connection with these brothers and sisters. Lord willing, we’ll be back one day to reconnect with them all!
Our next mini-stop on our travels was Chicago. While we were in the Chicago area, Peter and I celebrated our 24th anniversary and my 46th birthday. Amazingly one of my aunt’s friends blessed us with the use of her 42nd floor apartment in downtown Chicago the night of our anniversary. It was incredible. Peter and I kept saying to each other that we couldn’t believe we were actually staying in a place like this!
This was the view from the apartment’s bedroom window! I only managed about 5 minutes out on the balcony. My stomach was flip-flopping the whole time!
The 18,000 steps we walked on our anniversary took us past many of the major sights in downtown Chicago. Here we are at the end of Navy Pier on Lake Michigan.
We even rode the Millennium Wheel – we felt like a couple of teenagers!
The next day was my birthday and my aunt and all the Meadlings (minus Hannah – well she’s not technically a Mead anymore!) came down to meet us in Chicago. We played a game in the apartment, went out for pizza and finished the day by singing worship songs together in the apartment, watching the sky grow dark and all the city lights come on.
The beautiful view and the memory of our family praising God together from the 42nd floor will stay with me for a very long time. What a gift!
Next on our agenda was a road trip (only 1500 miles round trip!) to see my mom’s extended family in Minnesota and North Dakota. We had not seen any of them for 11 years! Again, it was such a precious time with everyone.
My aunt Bonnie and her husband Lloyd are some of my favourite people in the world. They are such gracious, hospitable people who just radiate the love of Christ.
My aunt seems to have endless energy! She’s always doing something to bless someone else. She made pie and cookies with the girls which they loved.
Bonnie and Lloyd live right on the water (one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes!) and they took us on two pontoon boat rides. So much fun!
Nothing like a sunset over a lake.
Lloyd’s son, who was equally as loving and hospitable, let us use their fun water equipment.
The water was a little cold but still lots of fun!
Peter finally got to fulfil his lifelong dream to drive a jetski!
I also was so thankful to get to spend some time with 2 of my cousins. Nate even took Mariah and Joel for a flying lesson one night. Amazing!
I enjoyed some beautiful morning walks in the area, just drinking in the splendour of God’s creation. I found it really hard to leave Minnesota too. It was such an oasis for us of refreshment, love and beauty. I don’t know if I’ll get to see some of these relatives again in this life which is hard. We’ll treasure the memories for sure.
Our next stop was my relatives’ farm in North Dakota. It was a joy to reconnect with my Aunt Lynn . . .
. . .and also my cousins Joy and Blair.
Lynn remembered Peter thinking jello “salad” was funny (to his English brain!) last time he was there and so she made him some!
The kids had so much fun – playing basketball, going on the trampoline, driving the “gator” around the farm (thanks Ellah for chaperoning all the wild rides!) and playing with the dog. My cousin Blair took Kaylah and Jessah on a tractor ride just like my uncle Dean (his dad) used to do for my sister and I when we visited as kids!
We also got to meet Joy’s husband, Bob, for the first time. Kaylah and Jessah had an epic game of Trouble with them!
Mariah and Ellah (2nd cousins) connected really well.
It was a joy to hear them playing and singing worship songs together.
Goose, the dog, was a highlight!
Here we are with one of the (HUGE!) outdoor farm dogs.
After our long road trip, we landed back in the Chicago area and stayed with my aunt Carol. Those days included playing baseball in her yard, playing pickleball nearby, going for walks, having a water fight, playing school, spending time with Aliyah and trying to catch up on laundry! On the Sunday, Peter spoke at two Moody Church Sunday School classes and then did an evening service at another church. Busy days!
With two cars full of luggage (quite a bit for Hannah and Noah) . . .it was time to say goodbye to aunt Carol and head for the airport.
My heart is just overwhelmed thinking about God’s abundant blessings to us! So many undeserved gifts from the Lord. We are so grateful to him for all his kindness. Every good and perfect gift is from Him!
Life has been full since we returned to Chippenham. It’s been wonderful to be back home with our church family. The older 5 kids attended/helped lead Trinity’s youth weekend away. Peter has preached every Sunday and has finished the first draft of his latest book which I’ve been editing. We’ve also been busy helping Hannah and Noah settle into the cottage they are renting and also planning their ceilidh reception which was last Saturday. We all wore our wedding clothes and it was really sweet to celebrate with our English family and friends. We’re so happy to have them living here in Chippenham.
Here they are in front of their little cottage.
This past week has been a pretty intense one as Peter’s dad has been in hospital since last Sunday. Initially things weren’t looking good for him but he’s improved so much since then. It’s been an emotional week for all of us, especially for Peter and his mum. We are so grateful Dad seems to be getting better. We would appreciate prayer for him as he hopefully comes home from hospital this week. And prayer for us for strength and wisdom as we support them both.
Lastly, on Friday, Peter, Aliyah, Mariah, Joel and Kaylah are off on a mission trip to Albania with a team from Trinity Chippenham. We’d very much appreciate prayer for them and also for Jessah and me as we hold down the fort at home and support Peter’s parents. I’d especially appreciate prayer for no migraines while they are all away. I have had more frequent migraines since we returned, including a severe one last Sunday. We also have some illness in the house at the moment, so would you pray with us that everyone will be healthy to travel to Albania on Friday?
We hope to send out a short email update very soon with specific prayer requests for Albania the team. So watch your inbox for that! Thanks so much for reading to the end of this long post. We are so grateful for each of you and for all of your prayers for us! Thank you from our hearts for partnering with us.