faith, marriage, She Loves Magazine, Writing Elsewhere

The Intimacy of Unknowing

February 11, 2016
The Intimacy of Unknowing

I am really terrible at keeping secrets. You can tell within seconds if I have something to hide by the look on my face. If it’s a good surprise, I will probably tell you within hours of planning it for you, because I am just too excited. My husband, however, is brilliant at it. His poker face is well-practiced. I think he probably even manages to keep things secret from himself—he’s so good.

For our first Valentine’s Day there were flights booked to Milan. (Way to raise my expectations from the start!) A few years later he’d booked a cottage in the French countryside, close to a Benedictine abbey I’d been talking non-stop about wanting to visit. This past November he finally revealed that he had tickets for us to see U2 in concert here in London—tickets he’d bought in the Spring before we even knew we’d be moving here.

I love being surprised by him. I love the anticipation of getting in the car with no idea of the destination. It’s not scary or uncomfortable because I am confident of his love, I know heknows me, will be taking me somewhere good. And that even if what he’s planned for us is a little out of my comfort zone, it’s probably a challenge he knows I can rise to because he knows me.

There’s an intimacy in the unknowing. There’s a beautiful vulnerability in putting your trust entirely in the person guiding you.

 

We’re telling love stories at She Loves this month, and this is mine, about how my secret-keeping husband teaches me about trust. Head over there to read the rest of the post…

London, things I like

right now. (January 2016)

February 2, 2016
Last few weeks

We saw in the New Year on the Danish island of Bornholm where Rasmus grew up. I say “we”. I think I made it to 10pm before heading up to join Kaya in the land of sleep. Third trimester travel with a toddler was surprisingly much easier than I had expected and it was so good to be back in Denmark – the big move last summer meant we hadn’t been over there since my brother-in-law’s wedding last April.

And then the rest of the month has just been full of final preparations – last scan, meeting my new midwife, finding a second hand double buggy, washing baby clothes (how was Kaya ever so tiny?!) and digging the side cot out the attic. We’re officially ready. And yet of course not, how can you ever be ready??

 

In between all that prep, I’ve also been…

reading.

Circle of GraceI got given Jan Richardson’s new book of blessings, Circle of Grace, as a Christmas present, and I love it so much. I discovered her a few years ago and bought her earlier book In the Sanctuary of Women. She spins words like magic, blessings that feel alive as I read them. The book of blessings follows the liturgical year and is a permanent fixture on my nightstand now. I read her words over and over and they have been both a balm and an encouragement to me in this season.

I’m slowly reading my way through Anne Lamott’s Travelling Mercies, and I also picked up the beautifully written H is for Hawk, by Helen MacDonald, at the library. Reading does not happen fast these days but I’m enjoying both of these reads.

 

watching.

By chance we’ve found ourselves watching The Voice every Saturday evening. It’s funny to us because we’re not usually the talent-reality-show kinda people, but this is perfect easy weekend watching. Also, I think Rasmus secretly wants to be a cross between will.i.am and Ricky.

I also somehow discovered the US show Fixer Uppers and I watch it on youtube when I’m doing chores while Kaya sleeps. I’m not sure it’s emotionally healthy to watch people buy ma-hu-ssive homes in Texas to do up, while I’m living in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I keep nearly weeping about how far our budget would go if we just decided to move to Waco…!

 

cooking.

Rasmus is doing most of the evening meals these days which is some kind of wonderful. We’ve been doing double batches of everything – veggie lasagne, beef curry, fish pie, chilli… our little urban freezer is very nearly full so I think we’re about set for all those evenings we can’t face the cooker when baby comes!

I did make this easy but delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake a couple of weekends ago. It’s seriously easy, so definitely add it to your to-bake list this month.

 

Girls Night Out

exploring London.

  • Cafe Viva in Peckham is a new favourite of mine, whenever we find ourselves over Rye Lane way.
  • Last weekend my sister Jen came up for the day and we met our cousin Ali for a night out (so rare!) in Shoreditch. We had cocktails (mocktails for me) at The Book Club, which I loved the vibe of. And then pizza and an enormous plate of cinnamon doughnuts (I actually checked with the waiter if it was meant to be a dessert for two!) at Pizza East.
  • With Jen we also caught the bus over to Greenwich, one of my favourite nearby places to go. We ran around to wear out the toddler and then got coffee and chelsea buns at the Peyton & Byrne bakery there.
  • Friends invited us to meet them at the Horniman Museum and Gardens one Saturday morning. We just hung out at the little farmer’s market with a great view north over the city, and ate sausage sandwiches while the kids ran around. I’m really looking forward to going back lots more as the weather gets warmer, and exploring inside too.

 

loving. 

Making marmalade. My parents drove over for the day and and my mum bought pounds and pounds of Seville Oranges with her and I finally learnt how to make our family marmalade. This is a recipe that my great granny was making way back when so it feels very special to be continuing this January tradition.

Mornings to myself. One Saturday I booked a morning hair appointment (my first since June last year!) and then afterwards I headed to a nearby cafe, got a latte and sat an wrote for an hour. Oh it was absolute bliss!

Baby shower in a Box

Surprises in the post. Probably the highlight of my whole month – last week the doorbell rang at lunchtime while Kaya was napping and there was a huge box waiting for me. My incredible friends in Luxembourg had sent me a “Babyshower in a Box”. I might have sobbed on the kitchen floor for a good half an hour. What a gift to this woman who’s feeling just a little overwhelmed about having this baby in a still-new-to-me city.

Watching my wee girl grow up. I think parents probably say this for every stage, but wow what a joy it is to watch her learning and exploring her world. New words are appearing every day, she loves building towers and colouring and making me “tea” in her play kitchen. She is obsessed with babies and would eat apples and pears all day long if I let her.

 

on the blog. 

As always, I am linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into post. Definitely go over there for some great recommendations from the people who link up.

faith, seasons, She Loves Magazine, Writing Elsewhere

What is this season for?

January 28, 2016
What is this Season for? She Loves - Jan 2016

One of my daughter’s first words is “moon.” She points it out in her storybooks and is really excited if she spots it in the sky. I love that she notices. I love that, because of her, I get to watch the waxing and waning of that beautiful silver globe through the month, see it begin as just a slither of fingernail until it becomes heavy and round like my own pregnant belly.

The world is ever-shifting around us, reminding us, if we would have eyes to see, that there is a time for everything—the darkness of the new moon and the light of the full moon—and a season for everything.

It’s a question that’s become so important to me: what is this season for?

This current moment in my life looks very different than I had expected even half a year ago. The past six months have brought an international move and a surprise pregnancy. In many ways, I’m not where I wanted to be: I miss working; I don’t particularly love being a full time stay at home mum; I worry that the dreams that got set to one side will never be realised.

Recently my spiritual director asked me, what do you most need right now? And from the mess of thoughts and anxieties and desires, one word floated up: contentment. I’m exhausted by all these unmet expectations and unfulfilled dreams. I crave a little contentment.

But I can’t switch off who I am. I can’t forbid my mind to come up with new ideas. I can’t stop wanting to be able to put my gifts to work. The dreams settle into my heart and soul and I don’t have the strength or will to evict them.

And then my little girl interrupts my thoughts again with her loud shout: “moon! moon!” It hangs two thirds full over the Baltic harbour outside my in-laws’ window where we are seeing in the New Year. And I remember that there is a time for everything.

 

She Loves Magazine is hosting a month of questions from their writers, and this is mine: What is this Season for? Click through to their site to read the rest of my post