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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!


May Update

Melanie —  May 2, 2016


Sweet Jessah at six months

April showers bring May flowers?? . . . Today is the 2nd of May and so far we have showers! However, we hear some warmer weather is coming this week. And actually our April showers were actually mixed in with some nicer sunny days too.

The kids take every opportunity to be outside. Here they are doing some schoolwork.

We even got to have our first picnic a couple weeks ago.

It’s a bank holiday here and Peter has taken the kids out bowling this afternoon. (Teacher mum made them do school this morning as we have some plans later this week that will take us away from our studies!)  This has given me some time to sit and catch up on some paperwork type stuff and enjoy a little quiet in the house while Jessah naps. Our house is usually very noisy and busy and I am grateful for all the people who make it that way!

The Meadlings love to bake – it was jam tarts this time.

Our little Jessah is six months old and continuing to steal our hearts every day. She tried her first solid food today (banana) and this was her reaction:


Having a baby in the house is a lot of work. But the effort pales in comparison to the joy she brings to all of us. Babies have such a special way of bringing laughter and life and hope to a household. No one resents her presence or having to do life a little differently because she is in our family. I love to watch the older kids with her, just loving on her. It’s amazing the way a baby stirs up love in everyone’s hearts. Babies are love multipliers!


One of the sweetest times of the day is when I feed her at night and she drops off to sleep in my arms.  The months are speeding by and I know she won’t be little forever.  So I am trying to cherish the moments.  Even though we’ve had six babies over the years, every one is such a precious and unique gift. In a world where unborn human lives are often destroyed and also where many people’s longings for a baby are never fulfilled, we cherish and treasure the lives God has entrusted into our family. And we realize we are incredibly blessed. Here are some photo memories from the past few weeks.

We went out to lunch for his birthday with his parents and then had a takeaway with friends in the evening. Little did he know that he had a surprise party coming that weekend! (Sorry I do not have any photos of that yet)

We love Peter so much and thank God for his life.

He has such a special bond with the kids and I am so grateful for the time he spends with them and the love he shows them.


Where have the years gone? We are not as young as we used to be but we are still in love with each other!

Some family prayer requests:


We have noticed that Kaylah has been having hearing problems. She has a test on the 25th of May. Please pray we can figure out what the problem is and get help for her.


Please pray for health for Peter as he has been constantly getting viruses for the past few months. This is discouraging for him and has made it harder to keep up with all his ministry responsibilities.


Please would you pray for me (Melanie) to have God’s wisdom to run the race of life as a marathon, not a sprint! I have a tendency to run too hard and then crash physically. I need to pace myself a little better and have wisdom to keep all the important plates spinning and leave the rest. Thankfully, my migraines have been a little better recently but I still would appreciate prayer that I could avoid having them.


Please would you pray for the Meadlings as they finish off their school year (they have about 7 weeks to go to finish their main schooling subjects.) Pray for diligence and for God to keep working in their hearts. We had George Verwer speak at our church yesterday and I think it’s fair to say the older kids were all inspired in one way or another. We’d love to see them catch a vision for serving God in missions.


Thanks so much for praying for us.  We should put an email update together soon so you can have update on what is going on ministry wise for us.  As always, please let us know how we can pray for you and your family!

New Life

Melanie —  November 5, 2015



With our hearts full of much joy and gratitude, we would like to announce the safe arrival of our little girl, Jessah Abigail Mead.  She was born at 2:45am on Sunday and weighed 8 lbs 11 oz.  Our whole family is beyond thrilled and Jessah has been enjoying cuddles with all her siblings.  (Mom and Dad have to wait in line for our turn too!)


We have already let many people know the news through Facebook and text of course, but Peter wanted me to share the birth story here.  Every birth is so unique . . . we prayed that God would allow us to have this baby at home and for Him to orchestrate all the details as He would like them.  And He so did that!  We are so thankful that we were able to have Jessah at home and the whole birth was quick and uncomplicated. I have to say that Sunday was one of the best days of my life!

Our baby was due (according to the medical professionals!) on the 25th of October.  When that day came and went last week, I was praying so much for God to help me be patient!  At times I was feeling pretty emotionally fragile, so I was asking God to help me hand all my fears over to Him.

I had several days last week when I had contractions about ten minutes apart but disappointingly, they stopped when I went to bed.  So when I had contractions ten minutes apart most of the day on Saturday, I wasn’t convinced that this was the real thing – even though they felt stronger to me than the other days. The children and Peter went off to the Light Party at church at 4pm.  By the time they got back I was starting to think something might be happening but didn’t tell the kids as I didn’t want to get their hopes up!  After they went to bed, Peter and I prayed together and timed a few contractions (they were still about ten minutes apart) and decided, per the advice of our wonderful midwife friend staying with us, to go to bed and rest and see what happened.  Peter went to sleep but I didn’t.  The contractions were definitely getting stronger but they were now 10-20 minutes apart.  I was really confused!  I woke Peter up eventually and judging by the way I was sounding, he said he thought we should get up and call the midwife.  I wasn’t sure.  I didn’t want to bother them when the contractions were so far apart.  We went downstairs to the lounge and I had a few more strong contractions and then called the midwife. It was about 12:30 am.  She said they would start getting their things together to come to our house but to call back in the meantime if we needed them sooner.  Well, after that, things really moved!  I went from the contractions being 10 to 20 minutes apart to them being about 3 minutes apart.  I was really having to breathe through them.  I alternated standing up leaning on Peter and sitting on the birth ball.  Peter decided to call the midwife again about 1:00am and she was there about 1:45am.  A second one showed up shortly after.  Both of them were lovely and really made me feel at peace.  It wasn’t too much longer until I felt needed to push!  In the last week or two we had thought the baby had his or her back to my back (not the normal position for delivery) and it turned out she stayed like that – sunny-side up!  I know compared to how long some women push, it wasn’t too long, but it did feel like she was taking a long time to come!  Peter and the midwives (including our wonderful friend Paula) were so encouraging, telling me to keep going and not to give up and that we’d meet the baby soon.  Aliyah and Hannah were close by as well, watching the whole thing.  Finally, at 2:45, Jessah emerged – in two unusual ways – face up and inside her bag of waters!  Apparently, to be born “en caul” is good luck and sailors believe a child born this way will never drown.  Hmmm. We of course, believe our Father holds all things in His hands – so we think Jessah is not extra lucky but extra unique and special!  After all, a fifth daughter has to make her mark in some way, right?  As far as the face up part, we suppose she was just so eager to see all her family so she decided that was the best way to make her grand entrance!  Not the easiest way for mum to give birth, but we thank God that she arrived safely.  Oh the pure joy of embracing a new life.  God’s gifts are beautiful and perfect.

Lots of people thought we should be having a boy to even out the numbers in our family.  While we would have loved a boy, we are 100% delighted with our little girl.  Even Joel said, “I don’t know why people keep saying ‘Poor Joel.’  I like having sisters.”  And he wants to hold Jessah just as much as the girls do!

IMG_7844In a world where many unborn (and born) baby girls are killed simply because they are girls, we celebrate the precious gift of girls!  Made in God’s image and beautiful to Him!  Jessah’s middle name is Abigail which means, “father’s joy.”  We know she will bring great joy to Peter and the rest of us.  And we know her heavenly Father takes great joy and delight in her!


Most of you know that we lost a baby early in pregnancy back in early 2014.  The heartache of losing that little one was great and we grieved for a long time.  However, our amazing and loving Father proved to be so faithful and gracious to us during those difficult months of grieving.  The journey of the last two years has not been easy.  And I am conscious that many people don’t have the “happy ending” that we have and still long to hold a child in their arms.  God’s ways are so far above ours. When we finally conceived again this year, there were many fears to battle.  Even in the final days before Jessah’s birth, I was afraid we’d lose her before she was born and I kept having to hand my fears over to the Lord.  So the joy of her birth is extra sweet.  We have learned a lot about trust and patience and we believe that He is good – not because He has given us Jessah – but because He truly is loving and compassionate in times of joy and in sorrow too.

Peter picked Jessah’s name.  We love the way it sounds and also what it means – “God sees.”  He is not a God who is far removed from us . . . He sees our hearts, our feelings, our desires and loves us so much.  He saw our desire for another little one and has graciously given us Jessah.

Now we are settling in to interrupted nights and (happy) exhaustion.  Thank you for your prayers as we adjust to having a newborn again.  We are thankful to have some precious days as a family to enjoy each other and celebrate Jessah.

James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights

A few more photos:

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from our midwife friend, Paula over the past few weeks. She was there at the birth and we thank God for her being with us

We enjoyed a wonderful visit from our midwife friend, Paula, over the past few weeks. She was there at the birth and we thank God for her being with us and all the help and support she gave us. (This was the second Meadling Paula helped to deliver – also Aliyah back in 2003!)


Can you tell this little girl is adored by her sisters and brother?

Can you tell this little girl is adored by her sisters and brother?


You can also check Peter’s Facebook page or his instagram for more photos – he’s taken some really good ones!