31 Letters from London — A New Series

by | Sep 30, 2015 | 31 Letters from London


“So is the honeymoon over?” my friend asks me as I stand over the sink filling up the tea kettle with water. She is referring to living in London, not my marriage.

“No, I still love living here,” I smile, pulling a Yorkshire Gold out of the box and plunking it into the red teapot.

Helen is British but we met in the seaside village we called home in South Carolina; the one we left to become expats in London. It’s Saturday and she doesn’t have to fight traffic or pay to park when she comes for a visit. H and I are spending the day with she and her husband, Steve, as well as their youngest.

“There isn’t anything that annoys you yet?” she continues prodding while laughing through her lovely accent.

“No . . . . well . . . okay, maybe customer service at the grocery store could be better,” I chuckle.

Helen’s converter is making a visit to my kitchen too. We both have one because Kitchen Aid and Cuisinart are expensive appliances to purchase in the UK so we shipped them.  I’m making a cheesecake for a party and the fuse blew out on mine earlier in the week.

This is one of the many reasons I love living in London. Not borrowing a converter but cultivating friendship. All those months I waited to get to England, Helen was here in the UK praying, planting bulbs for me, sending vital information and touring the house we now live in with a video camera so I would know what to pack. She also listened with the utmost patience to many of my rants.

Proximity is no longer a gift I take for granted when it comes to friendship.


People often ask me the same question Helen posed in my kitchen that day. Along with a few others regarding living in London as an expat. So today I’m starting a new series on the blog in response to your curious inquiries.

Last October, I wrote 31 Days to London, a series on God’s nearness through waiting periods. This year, I’m writing 31 Letters to you from London, joining more than 1,000 bloggers for Write 31 Days, an annual writing challenge.

Except that I already wrote most of them in September so Mind the (time) Gap, as they say while traveling on the underground.

My faithful readers here know I’m also writing a book, due December 1st to the publisher which is why blog posts have been sparse here lately. But I’ve missed you!

Like my weekly letters to the Sabbath Society, these posts will not be tidy or grammatically perfect but morning papers to prime the pump. I’m giving you a candid, everyday look into what makes life (mostly) beautiful and (a little) challenging in the world’s most popular city.

And I’m inviting you to write back to me in the comments. No stamps or mailbox required.

For those of you who are new to the Sabbath Society, I’ll be publishing the email letters I wrote in September, giving you a peek into what this group is all about, in case you’ve been on the fence about joining us. Awesome, yes?

And if you follow me on Periscope (SMillerRB), I’ll be doing my first live broadcasts this month. A house tour and trip to the Cotswolds may be included. For those of you who are new to this app, the live video will only be available to watch for short periods.

Tomorrow, expect a letter from me in your inbox. From your friend who is doing her best to navigate new culture, parenting between continents, writing her first book, speaking to groups of people and oh, did I mention I’m recording radio spots tomorrow?

Stay tuned by subscribing here so you don’t miss any details. I’ll fill up the kettle for us. Tea or coffee?




Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Pam

    Looking forward to your airmail here, Shelly! Love your 31 letters stamp too… Blessings on all you are doing and accomplishing! I don’t know anything about periscope, though I’d love to see your pix of the cotswolds… Late here and I have to get to bed… fading fast. But I’ll check back later on your next posts to comment… Pam, apples of gold, http://wordglow.wordpress.com

    • Shelly Miller

      (((Pam))) It’s been FOREVER! How are you friend? Great to see you here in the comments and I’m so thankful to know you’ll be following along.

      • Pam

        It’s been a crazy year for me… away for nearly 8 mos on a family emergency. So it seems forever for me too. Looking forward to writing my own 31 days and to following yours. Ah, England… been there only in imagination, books and movies, but oh, it’s always been in my heart. Can’t wait for more… 🙂

  2. Emma

    I smiled as I read your opening story, I can hear both the accents and the giggles of you both. Looking forward to hearing about insights already gained and am loving the photos.

    • Shelly Miller

      Funny, I was thinking about you as I wrote this knowing that you would know both of us Emma. Would love to hear your thoughts (as a wise Brit) in response to what I write this month. Lots of love to you! xx

  3. Kristin_theschellcafe

    I love doing life with you… even if it’s across the pond. Thank you for sending us love letters whilst you write your book!

    • Shelly Miller

      You are a gift Krisitn!! My heart is happy about that little sentence you wrote. Love letters? Yes, they are.

  4. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Shelly, I was breathless by the time I finished reading your post…the kind of breathless that is actually more like holding my breath as I consider all the excitement that is your life! Whew and wow! This truly *is* all so exciting, and I see GOD’S breath infusing your life at every turn. You know how much I adore England (AND YORKSHIRE GOLD TEA!!!–my favorite, especially when drunk in a tearoom in York!), and from the first time we visited, I could picture myself living there. I even asked Michael once if we could take a Sabbatical (there’s that word, right?! :-)) and live there for a year. Alas . . . it was not to be. So for you who love that land as much as I, just to *live* there would be wonderful enough, right? But to be a blessing there in the multiple ways that you have in such a short amount of time, is staggering….and yes, renders one breathless. I am sooo excited to see how the Lord is using your gifts to bless others. I know without doubt that you are in just the right place for just such a time as this. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. I know you well and know that you are seeking the Lord every step, every breath of the way. I pray for you and have and will. And it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will be the breath in your lungs and beneath your wings as you write the book that He laid on your heart when you awoke that day with the word SABBATH in your heart. You didn’t know it then, but that was to be your first book! Thank you for your obedience to follow Him, even when it led you through some upheaval and to a new country. His plan is unfolding, and it’s all good! Love you so much!

    • Shelly Wildman

      Hi Lynn! I’m right there with you (and what a beautiful comment!)! I have adored England since I first set foot there as a college student in the ’80s. I have also dreamed of living there for a time. Just yesterday my oldest daughter told me that she might apply for a job posting in London and I told her to go for it. She might never have that chance again. Just wanted to tell you that I resonated with ever bit of your comment! 😉

      • Lynn D. Morrissey

        Hi Shelly, you are a new friend, indeed. I love how Shelly links people–one of her strong gifts. And your name will be easy to remember! it’s wonderful to meet a fellow Anglophile. Thank you for reaching out. And indeed, your daughter should move there. You will have a place to stay! We have had dear friends there since the 70s and have visited them four times. That in itself is a long story. I will try to look for you. Do you blog?

  5. Shelly Wildman

    OK, those videos might be enough to entice me to sign up for Periscope!

    • Shelly Miller

      You made me laugh Shelly! Hope you can come for a visit some time soon. We’d have so much fun.

  6. Lisa

    We are only online friends but yes, I noticed less posts coming from Redemptions Beauty, as in missed reading your insights. Looking forward to your letters in the next days. and the photos too. Love these two black & whites of your family. They convey a beautiful essence of your new urban life in London.

    • Shelly Miller

      Well you made my day Lisa, thanks. It’s nice to know I was missed in your inbox. You may get more of me than you want now. *wink* Thanks for following along friend.

  7. SunSteepedDays

    Tea for me, please. As an Anglophile living in the American West, I’m really looking forward to your series. And while I’m here, I’ve already begun clicking around — glad to have found this blog. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      Lovely to have you visit SunSteepedDays! I’m a western girl at heart so we already have something in common. Hope you enjoy the series. Welcome!

  8. Laura Boggess

    I’m excited to follow along! Like Lynn, found myself breathless while reading. Hugs from across the pond!

    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Amen, Laura. Aren’t you just so thrilled for and proud of “our” Shelly! I praise God for her…and you!!

    • Shelly Miller

      It’s like you just walked through my front door and surprised me Laura. I’m so glad to have you here. Hugging you now, can you feel it. xx

  9. Devi Duerrmeier

    I*m excited to follow along as well, Shelly. We are moving to Australia (in transit in Germany right now), and I’m writing in October on transitions, so I’m sure there will be some wonderful lessons to learn from you in this department.

    • Shelly Miller

      I saw somewhere that you are moving Devi. I was hoping it was my way so we could meet in person. But Australia sounds wonderful. I hope you’ll join the conversation here about transitions. Your opinion and insight is a gift.

  10. pastordt

    What a change from last year, right?? I’m in this October again, too. Writing on “Aging Gracefully.” Or trying, at least. 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest