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Finding What’s Useful

April 12, 2018

Do you remember that I used to write a lot?  I haven’t been writing in many months, mostly deliberately, as I navigated this strange new living and working situation, known as my passport and birth country.

Getting back from Congo at the end of July last year, then [Matthew] changing jobs over the holidays, left me busy with juggling all of the changes that go along with that.  During that time, I didn’t have energy to write anything out.  But, as we got more into a groove, I realized that I had nothing worth sharing.

Our lives went from sharing the interesting and ministry aspects of living in Congo, a unique and unfamiliar place to many of you, to living in the US, working a new job outside of ministry, that led to a life that is almost boring in its normalcy (minus Matthew’s awesome job, but most of the coolest parts I can’t share myself).

I, of course, don’t mind that we’ve stepped back into something that is more familiar with the people we’re closest to, but it doesn’t exactly make for compelling blog writing.

However, I do want to pop in and say that rediscovering life in the US has been rather fun for us.  We really haven’t lived, with permanency in mind, in the contiguous 48 states in our entire marriage.  Twelve years of our hearts and minds, and often our bodies, living in strange, foreign lands, like Alaska and Congo, mean that we are putting down roots in a new way, with new technology at our fingertips that, so far, we’ve only been able to read about…very slowly…because of a slow internet connection.

So, what have we discovered with our fast internet, quick shipping, affordable appliances, and addictive smart phones?  Well, we spent the first six months overwhelmed by options.  Nothing was simple, nothing was “this is just how to do it” – everything came with a plethora of choices to make about who and how and why.  Here is brief list of the things I’ve discovered and made part of our lifestyle, because it’s right for us.

Coffee.  Life’s most essential liquid.  In the morning, anyway…  We realized before we’d even left Congo that we needed to decide how we would make our coffee.  In Alaska, we had a regular drip pot.  In France, we fell in love with our Senseo.  In Congo, we had a few methods, changing depending on the power situation, but ultimately decided there was something about espresso and steamed milk that started our day well.  But we didn’t like committing to pods and couldn’t afford the fancier models.  Enter our perfect little machine.  It makes espresso using grounds, no pods!, and it steams and adds the milk automatically and it didn’t break the bank.  It was fun research to find what coffee method would be best for us, and we are very happy with our choice.

Groceries.  For sure the biggest thing for me was how to grocery shop.  In Congo, grocery shopping was my groove and I loved the challenge of it.  Here in the US, the challenge is not being overwhelmed by choices of stores, open at all hours, offering great deals, always in stock, and that doesn’t even count the moment you walk down the aisles and need to make choices on individual products.  So, at first, I found a store I loved – a warehouse style box, but no membership, that was open 24 hours and had a huge bulk section.  I would go after the kids were in bed, shop for the month, and be done.  It was great.  Then I got pregnant and didn’t have the energy for that.  I knew about ordering groceries online, but delivery fees were high and the closest pick up location was nearly 30 minutes from my house!  Until February…then the Walmart just six minutes from driveway to parking lot, began grocery pick up and my life hasn’t been the same since.  I just order groceries online, add stuff I inevitably forget until the day of pick up, then drive down, pull up, and they load them in – no extra cost and only a $30 minimum order required (uhhh, easy).  I don’t even get out of the car?!  With four and a half kids this is amazing…life changing.  Also, the grocers are beginning to know me (is that a good thing?) because I go weekly, always at the same time.  And, think about the workload it saves…before I was loading each item into my cart, onto the belt, back into my cart (bagged myself at my previous favorite store), into my car, finally, into my house and put it away.  That’s FIVE times I needed to move each item!  Now, I only get it into the house (and with the kids, I don’t even do that myself, except the eggs and wine) and put it away.  That, alone, is worth it to me.

My weakness for my entire adult life has been meal planning.  It just isn’t something I’ve been able to conquer.  I have a variety of breakfasts that we do, lunches with the kids are easy, but dinners that aren’t repeats (I married a guy who HATES repeats, and now I’ve become like him) is really hard for me.  In Congo, I had limited options, so I didn’t feel like I could entirely control my meal planning, but here?  Oh my stars, too many choices. Instant Pot, Crock pot, freezer meals, combination of all of the above – it could go on and on…and I just can’t.  I had used a service when we were raising support four years ago called eMeals and my mom reminded me how handy it is.  And cheap.  $5 a month for someone to make up for my weakness and now it has a handy app?  Yes, please.  Most of the meals we enjoy, we end up eating more balanced, trying new things, and it makes my grocery list for me.  So, yeah, it’s also been a huge stress-saver!

And, my last little discovery for today, is renting clothes.  This one is definitely not in the necessity realm.  Further more, it makes me seem spoiled.  I am spoiled.  This is a treat and nothing less.  With pregnancy number 5 (well, number 6, but I didn’t wear maternity clothes for one), I started to outgrow my regular clothes at 12 weeks.  And as I unpacked my maternity clothes, I despaired.  They were out of season (it was still cold), as much as nine years old, very worn, and most of them too big as I was heavier in previous pregnancies.  Basically, I had unsightly clothes to wear and was going to be stuck in them for six months.  First world problem?  Yes.  Depressing anyway?  Yep.  This is our last baby, so there was no need to invest in a new wardrobe.  I got a few new summer dresses still on clearance and a much-needed new pair of maternity jeans and decided to be content.  I mean, I tried.  But then an ad popped up for a box of rented maternity clothes. Higher end, lovely pieces that I’d never actually buy but I could go through as many boxes as I could ship back and forth for a monthly fee.  I mentioned it to Matthew, just conversing, not actually thinking it was for me, and he told me I should get it, or at least try it out.  I’m now on my 5th Le Tote box and still loving it.  It’s been so nice to wear fun maternity clothes and accessories that aren’t mine and always feeling like my closet is fresh.  I am bothered that this sounds more like an ad than I would prefer, but then again, I don’t really care because I LOVE IT THAT MUCH.  I got one other pregnant friend to use it, too, and she’s very happy her last month of pregnancy was outfitted by things she didn’t have to buy as the season changed.  If you’d like to try the service (they have non-maternity, too), let me know for a free box!

Are we finding our new life easy?  Yes and no.  There are things about life here that are so easy it’s scary and I’m waiting for the hammer to drop.  But there are other things that are challenging as we still adjust or as we mourn the loss of the type of community and bonding we had with our missionary family in Kinshasa.  This lifestyle definitely suits us and we are content to be where we feel we are supposed to stay…for now…for a while…I think…for sure?

Note: The links and products are just me talking about stuff I like…with the exception of a free Le Tote box to anyone interested, I’m not being reimbursed or anything.  I wish someone would pay me, but for now I’m just gushing.

One Comment leave one →
  1. ricetd permalink
    April 12, 2018 0829

    thanks. nice to hear what is up. Tim

    On Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 5:36 PM, The Lind Family wrote:

    > Matthew & Lisa Lind posted: “Do you remember that I used to write a lot? > I haven’t been writing in many months, mostly deliberately, as I navigated > this strange new living and working situation, known as my passport and > birth country. Getting back from Congo at the end of July last” >

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