faith, London, moments

Seeking Beauty in the Hard Seasons

September 10, 2015
Park in London

Probably the hardest part of this in-between time for me is the lack of people to talk to. I’m an extrovert by nature. I love and need alone time, but without daily meaningful conversation my energy tanks run dry.

But when you’re moving to a brand new city, there’s not so many meaningful conversations to come by.

I know a handful of people in London and am hoping to reconnect with some old school and Uni friends that I’ve heard are based here. But the majority of them are in jobs so my days are still pretty quiet. Kaya is great fun but not exactly up for deep conversations about life, faith and love just yet!

It would be easier to retreat into a massive self-pity party. And I’ve done that some days. And those days end up sucking even more.

So I am practicing optimism like it’s my job.

Not in a denial kind of way. This in-between season is hard for me, there’s no good pretending it’s not. But if I start by acknowledging that, get the complaint in me out the way, and then put my mind to making this time good as well as hard, the day goes so much better.

Kaya and I are exploring the part of London we’re temporarily living in. The flat we are sharing is pretty run down so we tend to get out early, often the first ones in whatever park we pick that morning. I am an expert now at finding all the hidden local parks. There are a couple of great ones right on our doorstep, including one that has a sign on the gate proclaiming “Unaccompanied adults are not allowed”. Love it.

We go to coffee shops so mama can get her daily latte and Kaya can eat rice crackers and people watch. We have picnics in community gardens and we have even made the 35 minute walk to Regents Park (with the intention of feeding the ducks but we didn’t make it past the fountains. Fountains are fun).

And we are embracing spontaneity. Yesterday we found ourselves at the Quaker House, and headed inside on a whim, and there it was: an awesome children’s corner with books and duplo and animals and dolls for Kaya to bury herself in while mama put up her feet with a piece of flapjack.

You never know what gems you might find when you turn off the beaten track.

I don’t want to pretend this attitude change is easy. It really isn’t. But I’m embracing the idea that my true self can find the beauty and the goodness here today, and that when I start there, I open the door for the Spirit to rush in and help me in that task. She is always eager to point out beauty.

What’s helping is music. Two days ago I woke to a grey gloomy day. But I had a song in my head, one I haven’t heard in ages. It buzzed around my head as walked to the park, and then I sang the lines I could recall as Kaya played in the sand.

“Today the grass is greener than I have ever seen;
Today the sky is bluer than it has ever been…
And today my heart is beating like I’ve never felt it beat.”

The celtic drum beat sounded the background in my head and I found myself tapping my feet even as I pulled my coat closer  around me. The sky was not blue, and the grass was already covered in a carpet of brown leaves.

And yet. And yet that rhythm stirred my heart into something close to joy and I chose to lean into that reality rather than the gloomy one fighting for soul-space.

We have one week left of the in-between season. Then we move into our new home and begin the task of settling – for as long as life holds us here – and discovering our new neighbourhood. In many ways I’ve been holding up this date as the end goal, when I finally get to unpack the boxes and find a sense of balance. But I know as well it is just the start again. A new season with it’s own hard and it’s own beautiful good. And I’ll have the choice before me daily, to retreat into sulky gloominess or chose to find the joy in the midst of the hard.

Today I chose to seek the beauty.

things I like

right now. (summer 2015)

September 3, 2015
Forth Rail Bridge and baby

We’re in week six of nomadic life since we moved out of our Luxembourg flat and started this big transition that will land us (in three weeks!) in Peckham, London. It feels like so much longer, probably because we’ve fit in so much and been so many places.

And apparently we don’t do anything by halves, adding a pregnancy to an international move! Yes, in case you missed the announcement in my she loves post last week, we are expecting a new addition to the family in February next year.

This time in my pregnancy with Kaya we were taking weekly photos of me holding fruit and I was obsessively reading about her growth and development and planning for her birth. This time, the first four months has been swallowed up in packing, saying goodbye, moving to the UK, and attempting to keep our lively toddler amused and happy while living out of a suitcase. Some days I nearly forget that I am pregnant (the nausea was a useful reminder).

So it’s been a memorable summer to say the least. Here are some of the highlights and the things I’ve most enjoyed these past months…


Luxembourg Book Club


I had my last *sniff* book club gathering with the five women who have made me laugh the most while living in Luxembourg. They sent me off in style with cupcakes decorated with all the books we’ve read the past couple of years and a book of poetry by the wonderful Carol Ann Duffy. I will miss our monthly dinners so much.

Our final book together was A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar by Suzanne Joinson.  I enjoyed reading it – particularly the historic narrative set in Kashgar which is pretty tense at moments – but when we all discussed it we agreed that the story could have been developed so much further. The characters have so much potential to be truly fascinating but the story felt a little empty at the end.

My friend Martine gave me the book Euphoria by Lily King as a leaving gift and I LOVED it. I studied Social Anthropology at University, and this is the story of a love triangle between three young anthropologists in the New Guinea in the 1930s. So I completely geeked out over all the anthropology in the book, but it’s also just a brilliant story, pretty classic love triangle stuff, but keeps you on the hook the entire way through, and the unpredictable context they are in just magnifies that.

I’ve started reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (the book club’s August pick – I can’t give them up!) which I am liking a lot so far…



A return to the UK has meant a return to television that I can actually understand. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Rasmus and I sat down to watch TV one night and it felt such a foreign experience to watch what some random person had decided we should watch at this time on this evening. And don’t even get me started on adverts…

But I am back in time for the new series of Great British Bake Off. We were watching in Edinburgh two weeks ago and I turned to Rasmus and said, this program just makes me completely happy. Nadiya is my favourite (I just want to be friends with her) but I think I want Tamal to win.

My friend Anneke introduced me to the amazing Gogglebox before I left Luxembourg, and now I am eagerly awaiting the new series in a couple of weeks. At Greenbelt this weekend I sat in on the Rev Kate Bottley’s talk on how she came to say yes to being on the show. She is funny and inspiring and so refreshingly normal.



My entire kitchen is currently packed away in boxes in my parent’s garage waiting for it’s new home. Meals have consisted of a disturbing level of ready meals and takeaways, but then there’s also my mum’s cooking and my uncle’s cooking when we stayed with them in Edinburgh. We also mastered butternut chorizo risotto while camping, which I think deserves an award.





We took a four night holiday in East Devon when we first arrived in the UK, as a way of buffering life in Luxembourg and life here, and giving ourselves a few days to breath and reflect on what just happened. We stayed in a lovely cottage near Axminster, and spent days having pub lunches, full English breakfasts in greasy spoon sea front cafes, and walking along the beach at Lyme Regis and Exmouth. It’s such a beautiful part of the country.

We also spent the last three weeks in Edinburgh while Rasmus started his new job. Kaya and I explored the city together, and fell in love with the National Museum of Scotland which is the BEST place for kids. They have an imagination room for little ones, and the Animal room is just beautiful. We also climbed Arthur’s Seat on a sunny Sunday morning, which took me back to my own childhood.

A weekend at my Grandpa’s in the Scottish Highlands was my first chance to introduce Kaya to the landscape I love most in the whole world. We went for walks up the hill to the farm to visit the cows and sheep, and visited the beautiful woods and waterfalls at The Hermitage, which is a space that is now deeply rooted in my story.



Yes, we took our 14 month old camping. I was totally unsure if it was working but I’ve been really wanting to go to Greenbelt for years and decided this might as well be the year. So we borrowed a tent and camping equipment from anyone who’d lend it, and ended up having an amazing weekend.

Greenbelt felt a little like coming home. Brilliant music, a warm and inviting atmosphere, grass-floored cafes that just seemed to cry out for fascinating conversations, speakers that inspired, and no assumption (as there so often is at Christian festivals) that we would all agree on everything. It was so refreshing and such a lot of fun. Even when it poured with rain for two whole days…

We came home covered in mud and oh-so-tired, but very happy. (I so highly recommend listening to the talk by Katherine Welby-Roberts on suffering and depression when it’s available. She said it truthfully and beautifully.)



…the chance to catch up with old friends. Ellie made TWO day trips up to Edinburgh while we were there and it was so wonderful to get that much time together, talking about life and work and dreams and so much more.

…family time. My parents may be a little over the moon that Kaya and I are spending so much time with them this month (they’re actually leaving the office early to see their granddaughter before her bedtime!). And we got to stay a week with my Uncle Neil and Aunt Jo who were such easy-going and generous hosts (Kaya loved all the musical instruments).

…exploring. I am holding the desire to be settled in balance with this love of discovering new places these weeks. I’ve found delis that do delicious breakfast baps, a free indoor “beach” for Kaya to play in on rainy days, poetry carved into the stone path alongside rivers, abandoned lighthouses in empty coastal parks. It’s been some kind of wonderful.

…hot baths after a weekend of rainy muddy camping.

…getting back into editing with She Loves Magazine. Goodness, I love those ladies. And I missed them after Kaya was born, even though I couldn’t have managed it then. Now I’ve taken over as Friday Editor and it is pretty wonderful to be back.

…Whatsapp. Really. For helping me still feel close and connected to the friends I left behind in Luxembourg. This month I’ve spent a lot of hours just me and Kaya, and so that internet connection has made me feel a little less lonely.


on the blog.

It’s been a little quiet around here as I adjust to new rhythms every week and try and find the time to write anything. I did pop out a few posts though:


Linking up again – after a longish break – with Leigh Kramer for her monthly What I’m Into post.

motherhood, She Loves Magazine, Writing Elsewhere

Preaching Gospel Love to Myself (and an announcement)

August 27, 2015
Preaching Gospel Love to Myself - Fiona Lynne

We talked about it from every angle, considered every possibility and scenario.

My husband had been offered a job in London and our plans to move were fully underway. Now I needed to decide what I would do there. It had been hard to find work that was a good fit in Luxembourg. The last year I’ve stayed home with our energetic and adorable toddler but that had only increased my desire for work. I was so eager to get back to doing something that felt right, something where I could use my God-given gifts. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time.

I’d had this sense, as we’d been waiting to see which doors might swing open as we pushed, that God was wooing me right there in my wanderings, in my wilderness. I was daring to voice some dormant dreams, to imagine some brand new ones, finding within me the courage to believe I could see some of them become a reality.

Then I discovered that I’m pregnant again.


I KNOW! BIG announcement and I just sneak it into my monthly she loves post?! He he…

The K-J family is due to expand in February. We are surprised and happy and overwhelmed and grateful. Go read the rest of the post to hear the story and then come back here and do some happy dancing with me.