what’s your favorite color?

i took a group of about 12 teenagers across the united states from north carolina to wyoming one summer about 7 years ago. we drove. it took 3 days. i must have been crazy. hehe. we were going to the arapaho indian reservation near riverton, wyoming. we spent a week living in a cathoic mission, painting & reparing homes, and playing with kids. all of the people we met were living without much hope or joy. to drown out their sorrows or to help them avoid the fact that they felt unloved, left behind, and were unemployed, they abused alcohol, drugs, and each other. and the kids on the reservation copied all the behaviors they saw. it was a tough week, that was full of amazing moments…

one night, after we had been to a pow wow (an traditional indian dance around a fire),  i was sitting in the back of the van with some of the teenagers. a 15 year old boy turned to me and asked me my favorite color. i have no idea what i said. perhaps green or blue. and then , i asked him. and he replied that his favorite color was that – and he pointed out the window toward the pink, orange, yellow, red, blue, & purple sunset that was casting a magnificent glow over the distant mountains and empty prairies. he then explained that he has a different favorite color almost every day… based on what he sees in the world around him. what he saw on that night was more than beautiful colors, though. he saw beauty and life, even in the middle of one the most ugly, deserted, and forgotten places & people. he saw the beautiful sunset as a sign that there is always hope, even in the most hopeless situations. we can always find something to admire, if we simply open our eyes and our hearts.  i am honored that i have had an opportunity to work with teenagers… they are inspiring and out of nowhere they reveal that they are deep, thoughtful, wonderful human beings with the potential to make a huge difference in their lives and in the world.

so, for the past 7 years, i have learned to open my eyes even more and to find the beautiful colors of each day and in every place. here are my favorites colors (found on the streets of sweden) today…

walking in our neighborhood this morning.

the square 2 blocks from us. spring is here!!!

people moving about as the morning starts.

look at these colors!!

peace to all.

start with something beautiful.

 i had a little photo shoot with a flower yesterday…

… so, i thought i’d start  today by sharing it’s beauty. isn’t amazing how beauty comes in all different shades and colors?

i think every day should begin with something beautiful, don’t you?

peace and love to all on this thursday. ♥

perhaps the stars lined up just right.

i am so tired of waking up and dreading my walk to school, knowing that every day is the same, boring, uneventful day with students who seem to not want to have any contact with each other.

i don’t know what happened or why, but today, when i entered my class everyone seemed to be smiling & talking. what?! had i entered the wrong classroom or come at the wrong time? no, it was my class. so, i walked over to the table where i sit and, just as i do every morning, i smiled and greeted the iraqi woman who sits beside me. “god morgon”.  and she responded to me with a smile, a chuckle, and “god morgon” back. huh?! that never happens! it’s usually silent until she needs to look at my  papers and copy my answers. how cool to start the morning with a smile & a hey! i must have been feeling so surprised and so good that before i knew it, i had turned around and asked a pregnant syrian woman behind me how she was doing (she’s about to pop!) and we had a really nice conversation just before class started. later on, my teacher complimented my accent  by saying that i don’t have an american (or any) accent when i speak in swedish. super cool!! then my classmates voted me to be their representative for a school meeting today. say what? i didn’t even think they knew my name. now, all of this added together left me asking… “how?! why?!” i have tried to reach out in that class before. not much luck with that. and day after day, the class seems to last for freaking ever. it’s boring and the teachers have been unreliable in some ways. but, today, everyone was feeling friendly and funny. it was crazy! i have no idea why, but i’ll take it! finally… an enjoyable day! yeeesssss.

perhaps some days just happen to turn out this way. perhaps it’s the stars and the moon. or better yet, perhaps it was my attitude. i spent 15 minutes in silence this morning. just me, a candle, and some quiet music. it was so calming. i thought about nothing except the fact that everything that i need is within me. everything any of us need, we already have. and each day, all i need to do is try to be true to myself, to tap into the light that is within me and to acknowledge the light that is within others.

days like today are few and far between. but, perseverance and endurance gets me through from one day like this to the next – even if there are many, many ordinary days in between. and beginning my day with some silence definitely prepares me for whatever i may face.

wishing you a wonderful, peaceful day filled with surprises.

my other little surprise today: plenty of leaves on the trees!