Thursday, 2 May 2013

:: playing catch up with life ::

I'm not sure where to start here - I lost my blogging rhythm a bit when we arrived here in New Zealand back in November. I wasn't sure whether or not to give it all up , whether or not I wanted to really share our lives with others, some of whom I don't even know, and how to write when my family, who know me best, live so close by. My voice in written form is, I'm sure, more eloquent and bright and life-loving-and-embracing and outgoing than my own real in-person self in many ways. But I know that many of you are now on the other side of the world from us and made sure to ask us before we left that this space would continue so you could keep in touch with our life over here. 

In moving to the other side of the world, for me returning "home" (though "home" is now in several places) and for Eti and the girls living here for the first time, we feel like we're starting again. We sold most of our belongings before coming. Often Sometimes I have a twinge of regret for what we let go in terms of lifestyle and belongings, but on the other hand we don't regret our decision and been incredibly blessed already in our few months here, as well as being closer to my family, which is wonderful. But we are starting life again, having had to buy a car, furnish a home, find new friends and a place to call our own in home and church. It's been fun and hard all at the same time. I've been selfish in how I've adjusted at times, particularly in the first few months we lived with my parents. Living here but missing, even idealising, what we had in Switzerland. I've watched Eti getting stuck into kiwi life and going off to work each day, knowing it isn't easy to suddenly live in an all-english world (with all sorts of crazy accents!) and to not be able to understand new styles of humour. It takes humility to be surrounded by people laughing and joking, and to not understand enough to join in, or to know whether or not someone is serious or joking with you! But he does all of this with a wonderful attitude and I am filled with gratefulness and pride at the fact he works hard for us each day, this time being his turn to have his family and friends so far away. 

Having lived away from New Zealand for a number of years, it has taken me time to adjust to living here again. To find our place, and realising that, to a certain degree, I had learned to live in independence and isolation during my time overseas, through different work experiences and challenges, then in a foreign-language culture where many of our friends were still working and not yet having children of their own. We also weren't able to venture out often in the first couple of winters with our girls (and Swiss winters are long!) :o) Suffice to say, I'm learning to take initiative and accept offers of friendship around me, even though I'm so used to spending time alone. 

So this hopefully explains my absence in this space; that it's taken a few months but we're finding our feet and feeling more settled in our life here. We're yet to make close friendships and find a church family that we can connect with well, but it's coming :o) 

We've had much to celebrate in our months back in New Zealand. Two gorgeous little cousins for the girls and a beautiful wedding a couple of weeks ago - all within my own family. It's been wonderful to experience all of these events at close proximity, rather than via Skype from the other side of the world. The girls love their little baby cousins, who are proving to be great preparation tools for their coming brother! And they also loved being princesses, albeit very shy ones, walking down the aisle for their uncle's wedding. They approach their third birthdays in less than a week and never fail to fill me with gratitude that I get to share life with them. The gratitude often comes most overwhelmingly when they're tucked up in bed at night and sleeping soundly and the day's challenges of parenting sweet but determined little ones fade from memory!

And, as time goes on, my tummy grows a little bigger as our newest family member grows inside. This week we passed the 26 week milestone that marked the arrival of his sisters almost three years ago. There's a real sense of relief in passing that, and a growing anticipation that this time around we will have a "normal" newborn experience in a few short months.Those "few, short months" which grow shorter by the day, also give me a sense of urgency to get certain things done before life's rhythm changes completely with the arrival of our sweet baby. Making sure we treasure the time we have together with the girls before they need to share our attention, working through lists and more significantly, making patterns and priorities that we want to stick to when our family grows a little bigger. I'm someone who sees the bigger picture much more easily than the step-by-step, in the moment, details. Which means I often get overwhelmed by everything I'd like to do and practice to be a better person, friend, wife and mother. Endless lists of providing healthy meals, a clean home using few chemicals, being a better friend to those close and far (something I'm really failing in!), getting off the computer and giving my girls my undivided attention, to love more generously, make a difference in this world, to live more cost-effectively, to create and craft in reality rather than fill my head with ideas of what I could do. To live out my faith and practice what I preach or believe. Simplify is a word I'm repeating to myself these days as I realise time is valuable, that relationships are more important than a perfectly organised, healthy home environment (with a stressed out mummy and wife behind the scenes!). 

Yesterday I read a piece by Ann Voskamp that spoke to me and refreshed my soul as I was reminded of the simplicity (not to be confused with ease!) of focusing on and living out what is really important in this one precious life we get to live...

Shake up out of the shallows. Wake up.

Live backwards. From Well done, good and faithful servant — work your life backward from that.
Live upside down.
It’s the only way you’re ever going to get to see the Kingdom of God.

Live simply.
With great grace, no expectations, and lavish love.

Get your hands right dirty, live with life gritty and moving under your fingernails, give away what you wanted most, do without, write a card, throw out your wish-list, buy happiness by paying attention to God.
And this, every day still left, do this: Run to kiss, or to hug, or to make your heart beat hard and alive.

You’ve got time for it right now: Love Big or Go Home and Love the smallest the Biggest.
Love never gives up but lays itself down. This is the way of God. This is the way to live. Touch a child’s hand, smile on the street and up at the sky, tell someone they’re pretty amazing, use up all your time to pour out all love.
Live by the rhythms — doing this always after that. Your heart has a rhythm for a reason. It’s keeping you alive.

Go to bed earlier. Get up earlier. This is a gift you can give yourself everyday.
You can breathe deep and grin: Every day is always day 1. New mercies revive you!
The only way to live faithfully is to focus.
He commanded it: “Do not be afraid.” Go ahead, let your courage be as big as Christ is. Climb right over your fears. All He’s promised you is just on the other side of fear.
Because really?
All fear is but the notion that God’s love ends.
When does He ever end?

And, we’ve only got so much time, so let’s just decide: We’re done with the myth of safety. Safety’s just the mirage of the living dead. Do you really want to live or not?

The moment you stop caring what other people think — is most likely when you start doing what God wants.
You’ll need that one again, self: The moment you stop caring what other people think — is most likely when you start doing what God wants.
Live in that space.
Go find your soul by losing yourself, in the muck and mire and the beauty and the love and the way down, in the impossible made possible, straight through the fears that always turn out to be mirage —
grabbing everything you ever wanted by pouring everything right out out.
The ferris wheel and the fear and the world spinning on, and you getting off to have the ride of your life.



  1. I think my computer disconnected so I am trying again. Welcome 'home'. Your photos are beautiful and your words soft and powerful xx nice to connect xx

  2. So lovely to hear your thoughts on life after a bit of a break..I have missed you in this space but understand the adjustment needed having come back from overseas ourselves many years ago. It's not always easy to put in words all the overwhelming emotions etc but you have written it so beautifully xx

  3. Thierry has exactly the same experience as Etienne at work... it's quite hard when they're tired and they can't follow conversation and jokes as quickly as they move. Glad you're blogging again, it's great to hear from you. Love that you're simplifying... we are too! :)