Whether you find yourself There or Back or In Between, you are welcome here. As a former (and potentially future) expat, I’ve been all these things. Right now, I most strongly identify with the In Between. Here’s a bit more about me.
My name is Eliza J. Shanley.
I’m a Jesus-follower.
Wife of one. Mom of four.
Former expat and homeschooler.
Current Ohio resident and public and private school mom.
Word lover, occasional poetry reader, hobby quilter.
I am fascinated by the In Between spaces that expat life create. The frequent transitions, the collision of cultures, how we are changed by plucking our lives out of one place and plunking them down in another. Frequent hellos and goodbyes. How our definition of home shifts, sometimes imperceptibly. The tension all of this creates in our hearts.
In the middle of the tension and transience, I am a believer in diving deep into my current season of life. I used to think about life as a straight-line trajectory forward. Nearly four decades of living have readjusted my thinking. Just as the natural world moves in seasons, I prefer to view life as a passage through seasons. While threads will often connect the seasons, each season is unique. Some seasons are marked by abundance. Others are marked by tragedy and loss. Some go on and on, seemingly indefinitely. Others end abruptly, before you ever expected they would. I don’t know what your seasons have looked like. Likely the nuts and bolts of them are different from mine. Regardless, diving deep allows us to embrace the imperfection of our situations. It looks like a commitment to seeking beauty, meaning, and joy in the here and now because it is guaranteed that change is coming.
I dabble in quilting because much like writing I am captivated by piecing together just the right combination of nearly useless scraps, and transforming them into a thing of beauty and function. Redemption stories are my favorite. I believe in a God who redeems all of it, every single one of the nearly useless scraps of our stories, and transforms them into a work of art through which his glory shines. Nothing is wasted, even those misshapen ugly bits will one day sing of hope.
Expat life, beauty, and redemption are all things I explore here. Maybe you are like me, and these are the kinds of things often rumbling around inside your heart. If so, let’s explore them together. Let’s help each other lean into the places of tension in our lives. Let’s encourage each other to embrace the imperfection of our situations and find joy in our current seasons. Let’s invite redemption into our scraps, seeing beauty in our stories.