Perspective is a Curious {and Sometimes Humorous} Thing

by | Oct 8, 2014 | 31 Days to London, Encouragement


My post about our new house conjured up quite a bit of feedback from those of you who live in the UK. The glorious gift in blogging is the way it breaks barriers of distance and culture to connect people.

When I mentioned the lack of a clothes dryer in the house, I learned that there is something called a hot press, a closet next to the water heater with shelving. Who knew?

A friend writes, “After you take the damp/wet clothes in after 3 days on the “line”, you iron all of them and put them in the hot press where they will lose the dampness that gives them the nice moldy smell if not dried entirely. The hot press is a life saver!! Some people like to ferment their beer in there too. The possibilities are endless.”

Interesting? Fascinating? More like what in the world?

And this, from a US military chaplain living in the UK, “Get a condenser dryer. It takes more time to dry then US dryers, holds less, and you have to empty the water container every two or three loads, BUT it needs no vent and will plug into any UK outlet.”

Obviously, a dryer without a vent is of higher value than actually drying your clothes in a timely manner. See what I’m learning here people? I will need to hire someone once a week to empty the water container on the dryer every few hours. You all know how distraction is my middle name, right?

When a close friend wrote, using the term white electrical goods in a sentence, H did what all good husbands do. He Googled it.

It turns out there are white goods—major appliances, brown goods—small appliances and shiny goods—consumer electronics (or all the stuff that matters to my son).  See how I taught you something there?

And for an added bonus, we discovered an electric chimney is also a hood over the stove.

Wearing damp clothes could be the new vogue, that’s the kind of stuff I’m pondering now. That and how the English language can seem so foreign.

Another friend wrote to tell me she washes her clothes in the shower each week. She wasn’t complaining, just making a comment.

Cue crickets chirping.

And my heart being humbled.

I know, this is a first world problem, this need for comfort and security. Truthfully, when I got her email about washing clothes in a bucket, I repented. I asked God to forgive me for putting ALL THE THINGS on the top of my list instead of trusting Him with my idealism.

And when I hear from friends in the US, I get loads of empathy (which I covet, let’s be honest).

Seriously, one friend wrote something profound that brought tears when I read it. “Don’t compare, though – don’t diminish your loss. It’s still a gift that God values because it means something to you to let it go for Him. I’m right there with you.”


Sacrifice looks different for everyone but the pain in letting go is common to all of us.

By giving a mite, the widow gave all of herself. When we compare the offering, we diminish the value and the beauty of redemption in testing.

What I consider a sacrifice, you choose as a way of life and vice versa.  While I gasp at the hole under the sink absent a dishwasher, many of you wrote saying that you’ve hand washed dishes all your life and find the sink an altar of quiet contemplation.

Mostly, your responses are a great awakening that all of life teeters on perspective. The way we respond when our perspectives don’t match is what matters most to Jesus.







I won’t be sharing my posts on social networking channels daily because who wants to see that much of me, really? If you want to follow our adventure to London subscribe to the blog in the side bar and posts will slide quietly into you inbox. Start from the beginning of the series here.

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  1. Mary Gemmill

    aha…I can see where lots of New Zealand customs come from now~! I grew up with a cupboard like that that we called the ” airing cupboard” and in fact have one now. I have a heat pump high on the wall and in Winter put my washing on a drying wrack beneath it and everything is bone dry in an hour.White-wear is what we call the major electrical appliances. I’ve never heard of brown-ware though~! I hope all the fun learning of different ways will far out-weight any inconveniences 😉 You are on a fats learning curve, for sure. You might be learning to speak ‘ my kind of English”…where many words are spelt differently and many things have different names, like the ‘ boot” of the car [ trunk] and words where you would put a ‘z’, we put an ‘s’ etc. Have fun learning!~!

    • Shelly Miller

      I have a whole new world of learning curves to look forward to Mary. I love a good challenge and I think we’ll have plenty of them. I had someone else email to say it made their day that I mentioned the musty clothes issue. She lives in Germany and her clothes were hanging out in the rain.

  2. Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    Ah Shelly ~ perspective is everything. Our family of four used one bathroom for years. In fact, we didn’t add a bathroom until we were almost empty-nested! Our modest cottage built in 1932 had neither heat nor shower when we moved in and we lived without those wonderful “amenities” for more than 8 years! God is peeling back the layers of earthly expectations and making your hearts more closely resemble his own. Nothing about this journey has a been easy or smooth, but it is one that will no doubt bring the reward one day of these words, “Well done, my good and faithful servants.” <3

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you for perspective Caryn, I appreciate your wise words. We lived in California as missionaries in the early years of marriage and couldn’t afford to heat the house. I remember ice being on the inside of the windows and cooking dinner in my coat and gloves. Fond but hard memories.

  3. pastordt

    Insightful and honest and fascinating. Thanks, Shelly.

  4. Diane Bailey

    I just need to ask, Is she wearing the clothes when she washes them in the shower??? Learning English as a second language…I am looking forward to learning through your experiences!

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad you are following along Diane, appreciate you.

  5. Jean Wise

    This adventure of yours is such educational, interesting and amazing. Thanks for sharing your learning with us. It certainly is opening my eyes to what I define as normal and makes me more aware of how blessed we really are. Also gives me a new perspective of what it might be like when others come to visit our country. Imagine all that we assume and expect and miss as we look for what we define as ‘normal” missing the adventure of exploring a new perspective. ‘Jolly” adventure!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks Jean, I’m still getting emails on this one, it obviously sparked some interest. Who knew appliances could do that to people.

  6. Lynn Morrissey

    “All of life teeters on perspective.” Now that is quotable! I love that. And you will not get stuck on the top end of the teeter-totter if your perspective is right. You wont’ be left up in the air. God will ground you, Shelly. He’s weighty like that! =
    PS BTW, the one thing I did not get used to in England was in not being able to use a hairdryer in the bathroom by the sink mirror. Oh my. But you have wavy hair, so you will be fine. Let your clothes line dry and your hair air dry, and you’ll be set!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thanks for the compliment Lynn. I know, about a plug for the hairdryer not being near the sink. What is up with that? And if I don’t use a hairdryer, my hair looks like a halo of frizz.

  7. Zoe Powell

    They are usually called airing cupboards, not hot water presses (or have been my whole life!) we have just moved to Oxfordshire as my husband now works in London. I love those funny cultural differences!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Airing cupboards? I keep getting emails about this Zoe. This has truly been an interesting conversation. Do you have a blog address? If so, leave the URL in the comment thread here so I can find you. Thanks!

      • Zoe Powell

        Obviously the airing cupboard- hot water press thing is an interesting topic!! (Personally when it’s too cold or wet to dry things outside I have a heated drying rack from Lakeland- you’ll discover them I’m sure!) And yes, it’s

  8. Ashley Tolins Larkin

    I truly appreciate your perspective and that of your friend. That all sacrifice costs, and God sees that letting go into his care, and he calls it good. And…the whole UK dryer thing totally blew my mind, by the way. Who knew? So grateful to be able to have a greater glimpse into your journey, friend. Really, a gift.

    • Shelly Miller

      We found out we have to purchase ALL our appliances, sans the stove. They don’t come with the house like they do here. eek! How’s that for perspective?!

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