The month of July has come now and we Meads are enjoying being finished with our schooling! The weather has been wonderful so we’ve been enjoying bike riding, roller blading, picnics and a few outings. We’re looking forward to some fun times with friends this summer, as well as doing what we can to serve others as a family with the extra time we have. Peter has been travelling quite a bit this past month so we’re looking forward to having him around a bit more too.
On 4th of July, Aliyah made a special cake and the kids dressed up in their Chicago Cubs shirts (red, white and blue!) to celebrate. We brought the cake to share with our homeschool group friends at our Sports Day in Bristol which was so much fun!
But really, I want to share some photos from June. It was a special month! To start with, I had a grand surprise when I walked into church one Sunday afternoon just before my birthday! It was pretty funny as I was not at all early to church (i.e. nearly late!) and the very friendly guy on the door kind of “hurried” me inside. (Hmmm. . . he’s never done that before, I thought). As I entered the room, Mariah asked me with a big grin if I’d like to “get ready” for church (not sure what that meant!!). Then a friend who knows well that I don’t drink coffee, asked me if I’d like to go get some coffee from the refreshments table! I said, “Well, I’ll get some water,” and turned towards the table, only to find . . . MY SISTER (from America) standing there!!! Oh, my goodness!! I was completely shocked. What a wonderful surprise! I kind of felt like the whole ten days she was here with my nephew was a dream. But an amazing one!
This was taken just after the surprise at church! I love you so much Amy!
So after that, I thought I’d had my birthday surprise! (Yup, it was a big one – the big 40!) The next day was our anniversary (day before my birthday) so Peter and I were planning on going out to dinner. Well, after what seemed a LONG drive around the countryside, we finally go to the restaurant. I thought something might be up, but I was not prepared to see a large number of ladies from church all there and shouting surprise and happy birthday! Peter excused himself after taking the photo below. 🙂 Oh, my goodness, another shock!
Here I am with my lovely sisters in Christ at my surprise birthday meal. Thank you all – you are such a blessing!
The next day was my birthday. We had an amazing day out at Bowood House – a beautiful place with an adventure playground, lake, house and gardens, waterfall and caves. We are blessed to have passes, thanks to my Aunt Carol!
It was so special to have Amy and Matthew there too!
We enjoyed a picnic together. . . (excuse the funny expression captured on Peter’s face – ha!)
It was adorable watching Jessah eat her lunch on the bench with Peter.
This girl is so full of fun! (She’s also starting to grow a little fro!)
Matthew and Joel had a fantastic time together doing all things BOY!
Here are Aliyah and Hannah at the waterfall.
And Amy and I in the gardens.
And our whole family . . . I truly believe I have the best family in the world.
Peter had one more birthday surprise for me – a jar full of memories/notes of appreciation from him, the children and some of my friends and extended family. I laughed and cried my way through reading them. What an amazing and precious gift to treasure!
So turning 40 was actually a really nice experience! Getting older is a funny thing . . . while we were away on holiday in the spring, I did some processing with Peter about the whole idea of getting older and the emotions that come with it. There is a certain wistfulness that comes when you look back and realise that your youth is gone and so many good memories are now in the past. However, I know that God is the author of the past and the future and my times are in His hands – well, my whole self is in His hands! The verse that I was pondering last year when Peter turned 40 has meant a lot to me . . . “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly, we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:18. With Jesus, we know the best is yet to come.
So here are a few more photos of our time with Amy and Matthew. What a gift those ten days were!
We drove to London one day, parked in the outskirts and took the tube into the centre. Here we are having a picnic in St. James’ Park! We were enjoying it so much, we lost track of time and realised we needed to get moving to the Westminster area and catch the boat we had booked!
Amy and the kids outside Buckingham Palace.
The Meadlings with Buckingham Palace in the background!
Trafalgar Square lions! We even managed a few minutes in the National Gallery after this photo was taken.
The boat ride on the Thames was a great way to see the sights – nice and cool too, as it was a hot day! It was a very memorable day out.
Another day we took a walk in the woods above the nearby village of Castle Coombe.
The kids absolutely loved being in the woods, digging for wild garlic (we realised after we got home that it’s the leaves, not the bulbs that you eat – oops!) and playing army, in the case of Joel and Matthew.
It was another hot day so the children spent a lot of time in the stream.
They found a dead crayfish and proceeded to make a memorial for him. (That’s the crayfish on the rock in the middle! He was promptly dubbed Lecrae after an American Christian hiphop artist – hilarious!)
Thanks so much for coming Amy and Matthew! And thank you to everyone who helped to make my birthday special.
Peter has just returned from a few days in Ireland, helping teach at the Impact Ireland outreach training. Hannah went with him and will be staying there until the 18th as she is participating in the outreach. I know she would value your prayers. Peter is will be preaching tomorrow in our series at Trinity called, Dear Church, on the seven letters in Revelation. Here is a link if you are interested in listening to any of the messages.
Happy Summer! May God refresh and bless you over the next weeks.