October Musings and Photos

Melanie —  October 14, 2012

WARNING: Long post . . . scroll down for lots more photos! 🙂

Forgive us for a couple of silent weeks . . . I am finally getting a few minutes to sit down and update you on what is going on in the Mead household!  (NOTE: for some reason the computer erased half of my work  . . . a huge patience tester so I’ve had to re-do it all.) We last wrote an update just before we went on holiday, which turned out to be a great week for us.  Peter and I had some much needed time to connect and we enjoyed a lot of relaxed time as a family – reading, doing puzzles, playing games, enjoying the outdoors (between the raindrops) and being cozy by the fire.

Here we are eating smores (roasted marshmallows, chocolate and biscuits) by the fire.

Now we are back to normal life!  Inspired by the book Large Family Logistics (which I think would be a very helpful book for ANY size family), I’ve been working hard to streamline our the running of our household.  We’ve started new contributions (our family’s term for “chores”) and we’ve implemented some new routines.  I’ve been trying to take a 15 minute walk every day with one child – it’s giving me some exercise and some valuable one-on-one time with the children.

School is in full swing and it seems there are not too many spare minutes in my life currently!  Obviously, just taking care of five children and being married to a man who is in ministry can be overwhelming in itself!  But I love the role God has given me and most of my time is happily spent in taking care of my family.  I think the hard part is for me to know how to spend the few spare minutes that I do end up having.  There always seems to be a million things that I could or should be doing so I’ve been struggling lately with that.  As a task-oriented, driven and somewhat perfectionistic person, I often pressure myself with unrealistic ideas of how much I should be achieving.  And I chafe at the idea of taking time to rest, which I know is really unhealthy, both for my body and spirit.  I’ve recently been challenged (again!) by a good friend to take a “Sabbath” each week – a day to do as little housework as possible, stay off the computer and don’t work on anything that I “should” do, but instead rest and do something that I enjoy.  I have tried this in the past but always end up justifying trying to achieve things on my “Sabbath” day (Saturday in my case).  I tried again this past Saturday and managed to rest for at least part of the day.  I will give it a go again next week!  But I am realizing how much pressure I put on myself and even how much significance as a person I am drawing from “getting thing done” or even from being “busy.”   This is fleshly!  I am creating a “busy” life for myself which I moan about but then do nothing to change since being “busy” brings me some sort of status as a person.  I know God really desires my heart, not my service, my achievements or completed to-do lists – even if those things are done for Him!  I so desire a life that pleases Him – not rushed, not frenzied but days that are full of what He wants me to do.  I have started praying Psalm 37:5 (Commit your way to the Lord) and asking Him to give me wisdom as to what He wants me to spend my day doing and to be open to any divine appointments or changes He wants to bring to my plans.  Pray with me that I will learn to rest, learn to trust Him and learn to live at a slower pace in order to prioritize my precious family.  I don’t want them to grow up remembering a frantic mummy, but instead a mummy that was serene and joyful.  Jesus himself was never frantic and always focused intently on the person/people He was with at any given time.  May we grow to be more like Him every day.

BOOKS! – I have been really wanting to write a few book reviews for the website (Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young and Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, among others), but those will have to wait for another day.  In the meantime, I’ll list a few books that are currently on my bedside table: (I recommend them all, by the way!)

Overload Syndrome by Richard Swenson, The Good God by Mike Reeves, Creative Counterpart by Linda Dillow, A New Name by Emma Scrivener, The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, and Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman.

I am super thankful as the time without Peter and Mariah (who have been in Chicago and Iowa for the past week) has gone quickly for me and I have felt the Lord’s strength and help.  It sounds like things went really well for Peter last week as he preached and taught at Emmaus Bible College (where I attended 17 years ago!).  Mariah and Aunt Carol have been having a wonderful time together.  Hannah, Aliyah, Joel and I are all very much looking forward to having Peter and Mariah back home, Lord willing on Tuesday.

I have MANY photos to share with you . . . I hope you will enjoy them.  🙂

First, the many faces of Kaylah . . .to start with, shots from when Hannah and Aliyah played dress-up with her the other day . . .

And here are some more photos of her from the past few weeks . . .

First day of school photo . . . what a responsible looking bunch of scholars!


Uhhhhhh . . . . what happened?!

We’ve been really enjoying our new history curriculum, “The Mystery of History,” which is Bible and ancient secular history interwoven. Here are Hannah and Joel with a ziggurat they built after we studied the Sumerians.

Aliyah made a “cuneiform tablet” out of playdough.

Our van broke down (permanently) a few weeks before our USA trip. Here is our latest mode of transportation. (just kidding)

Actually, God has provided an amazing new (used) vehicle for us! We are super thankful and enjoying it very much. Thank you so, so much to those of you who helped make it possible for us to purchase it. We are excited to use it for Him! We got to use all 9 seats a few days after we got it when we took some friends with us to a wedding.

Here is Joel at the wedding with his good friend, Oliver. Ollie’s dad, who is a photographer, took the photo. (If you live locally, check out his website: http://www.homersleyphotography.co.uk/)

I couldn’t resist putting a few photos in from our last few weeks in the USA.  We are so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.  Even though we are content to be back at home in Chippenham, we miss them all very much.

Here are my parents and all their descendants. What a clan!


Me and my wonderful, sweet sister, Amy. She is about to give birth to her third child, any day now.


The Meadlings and their American cousins, Matthew and Claire. They all had such fun together this summer.


My mom and her daughters and 3 of her grand-daughters at Amy’s baby shower.


Kaylah, enjoying a cuddle with my Dad.

Hannah did a photo shoot with Mariah one day while we were in the USA. We miss you Mariah! Come home soon!

Thus ends this LONG post!  As always we covet your prayers for our family.  We often feel our weakness and susceptibility to failure and discouragement.  The kids and I are memorizing Eph. 6:10-18 (armour of God passage) and it’s been a good reminder that we are in a battle every day.  Please keep praying for us.  I am sure Peter will have a ministry update for you soon.  In the meantime, please pray for him and Mariah to have a safe trip home tomorrow.  (I am praying now that the computer will let me post this after spending a long time re-doing it!)