Italy photos

Melanie —  October 26, 2011

A few weeks ago, Peter and I were incredibly blessed to get away together to Italy for five days.  Italy is one of my favorite places in the world and of course Peter is my favorite person in the world . . . so it was a great combination!  These getaways are hard to plan and prepare for but so worth it for enriching our marriage relationship.  We figured now was a good time to have some concentrated time together, before our new little one arrives.  We flew to Pisa and then spent two nights at a B&B near Florence, where we spent part of one day walking through the piazzas and seeing a few famous places.  Then we drove up north, stopping in Pisa – where we had an adventure accidentally driving through a pedestrian zone (oops!) –  and then Camogli, a beautiful little seaside town where we had ice cream and walked along the seafront in the sunwhine watching the very high waves that were crashing onto the shore that day.  Our final stop was at our dear friends’ house – Andrea and Marta – who live near Asti in Piemonte.  We spent a lovely day with them on Saturday, visiting a nearby little castle and having a delicious dinner at a restaurant where the chef especially catered for a gluten free diet. (Amazingly, we were able to find restaurants, etc. that served gluten free food – for Melanie – everywhere we went.)  On Sunday we drove to Turin and visted the international church there were one of the Cor Deo grads – Huw Williams and his wife Alison – have recently moved to be the pastor of the church.  It was the induction service that Sunday where they were formally welcomed into ministry so it was wonderful to be there for that.  We were able to do a lot of sleeping in (luxury!), talking together and also reading part of a book together about counselling/personal ministry that we found very helpful – Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp.  We highly recommend it for every Christian, whether or not you have an interest in this area.  Tripp makes the point that we are ALL people of influence, whether we are trying to be or not.  We appreciated how heart centered and gospel centered he is in his writing.  All in all, it was a lovely trip and we are super grateful to Aunt Carol for taking care of the children.  They all seemed to have a wonderful time and didn’t even miss us much!

Here are a few photos . . .

Aunt Carol was with us for a few days before we left for Italy. Here we are having a picnic in the unseasonably warm weather at Bowood House (beautiful house, grounds and adventure playground).

Up high in the trees on the adventure playground . . .

One, two, three, four Meadlings (#5 still onboard with Mom 🙂 )

Overlooking Florence (big dome is the Duomo)

Here we are on the Ponte Vechio (old bridge, very famous in Florence)

And on the other side of the Ponte Vechio

Every tourist to Pisa has to take this photo. I was surprised how beautiful and very clean the tower was and what a small town it was in. I had pictured it in the middle of a big city with cars whizzing around it. It was a lovely, sunny day but extremely windy. The wind actually blew off the heavy cover/awning of a nearby outside cafe across from where we were sitting.

This was taken from the castle courtyard that we visited with our friends. The photo doesn't do it justice, but the view was incredible.

Now that we are almost to the end of October, I am entering the last trimester of my pregnancy.  I am feeling quite tired and my hip and back bother me a bit, but generally I am alright.  Please pray for strength for me and health for the baby and for wisdom for me slow down when I need to.  There is always (in my mind!) one more thing that could be done, to prevent me from resting.  Peter is busy preparing this week for Pillars (training event) on Saturday in Bristol.  Please pray for prepared hearts – teachers and attendees alike.  Our children are doing well, enjoying life with baby bunnies (needing to be sold soon!) and keeping busy with school.  A sample of what we are doing:  just finished memorizing Philippians 2:1-11 and started Psalm 139 . . . watching the visual Bible – Acts . . . started studying the Constitution of the USA with Hannah and Aliyah, still studying the digestive system in science . . . Mariah and Joel are looking at different aspects of planet earth and we also read a great book about when the men walked on the moon.  Joel is progressing really rapidly with his reading and is nearing the halfway mark in his 100 lessons.  Days are not always easy and very full-on, but we are continuing to love being together as a family and learning about God’s world.  This week is a school holiday week in England but we are pressing on so as to save up our “time off” for when the baby arrives.  Thanks for your ongoing prayers for us!  We are so blessed to have such a great support team.