We arrived here in the Black Country (just west of Birmingham in England) on 11 March. After staying at the church’s community centre and cafe for 5 weeks, we moved into a rental house in mid April and our furniture arrived mid May – after 10 months of transition, it felt so good to have our beds again. We love this house and are so very grateful to have found it.
As you can tell, I haven’t been able to keep up with any semblance of regular blog posts lately due to our trans-Atlantic move. I have still been answering Miessence customer and business inquiries from around the world by email (mostly) and phone (as needed), but finding time to write longer posts for my blog about our broader experiences over here so far, and how they integrate into the various topics I would tend to address here on this blog site (sustainable living, natural and holistic health, life as a mompreneur, integration of faith in all of life…), so far has been next to impossible. I have been able to keep up with e-newsletters and quick Facebook posts here and there, but my little blog roll here keeps taking a back seat.
In large part, that’s because it is often hard for me to write with concision just how interrelated the little daily life things are to the deeper matters. And with five kids, household management, business, and ministry work, I usually just don’t have time to go beyond thinking lots of swirling thoughts to actually writing out those deeper thoughts into any sort of coherent post.
Take for example, the blessing of this house…
There are the surface level facts above about having moved in. But then there are also the deeper joys of living out intentional downward mobility and simplification – of having a smaller house to manage (it’s probably 1/3 the size of our house in the States) and far fewer possessions to care for in our home… It’s so much easier to clean (and fun to clean! I’ve been reminded since getting into our own space again just how much I love the Miessence BioPure Probiotic Household Cleaner – for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, glass, table tops, air freshener, fabric deodorizer, everything… Total side story, but when we unpacked our mason jars, one had some white fuzzy mold in it… I sprayed the BioPure on it and it just fizzled away and rinsed right out. So cool…), and all around, the blessing of this smaller house gives us more time to invest in relationships – with God, family, friends, and the community at large.
Or take some of the cultural differences we’ve encountered so far…
There are more surface level things like our surprise at learning that many local folks don’t rinse the soap off their dishes when handwashing items after a meal – they just put soapy dishes in the draining wrack then dry them with a towel. (Who knew?! It took me a while to get used to not rinsing my dishes (and I’m extra grateful for the Miessence non-toxic dish concentrate now), but I still do it out of habit sometimes. ) But then there are the deeper issues surrounding major life transitions and knowing that I’m beginning to feel settled at least on a surface level because I’m beginning to read labels again (and am sad to see so much aspartame in things when I had had a naive view of food in England as being so much better than food in the States… While it’s true that there is far less acceptance of GMOs here, there is still a lot of processed food complete with chemical preservatives, colours, and flavourings… Like my English spelling there? 😉 ).
Or the deeper stuff that all this little stuff relates to at my core…
Real people living in a real world. There is much beauty and brokenness here, as there is everywhere else in the world. It may look slightly different from place to place, but ultimately people everywhere struggle in some way or another with their identities, relationships, health, jobs, finances, faith… And Jesus speaks hope into all of it – every aspect of life. We have not come here to force our beliefs on anyone, as unfortunately seems to be happening in so many other contexts around the world. People can and will live as they choose and we can still love them even if we disagree (and even if ultimately we are completely misunderstood or even attacked). Rather, we have moved across the pond to come alongside our brothers and sisters here who know that it’s not about being American, English, or any other nationality, ethnicity, or political persuasion, but rather about being equally imperfect humans in need of our Perfect Creator to lovingly clean us all up – remove our wrong thinking, attitudes, and actions, bind our wounds, heal our hearts… And together, our hearts’ desire is to share His Way, Truth, Light, and Love – that is, the real and living person of Christ – with those who are asking deeper questions, looking for relevant answers, and turning to find His lasting joy for every aspect of life.
The daily small stuff is always connected to the deeper big stuff. And once in a while, I even get some of the reflections typed up.