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!

she’s back!

i just wanted to give you all a little tip:


my love’s back in business and she’s got her newly designed blog up & running! i couldn’t be more excited! look for some great inspiration, photos, music tips, and creativity! just click here or on her picture below to visit her blog!

pep talk.

good morning!

it’s back to business again today. alas, spring break has ended, i had to wake up to my alarm clock, and 9 more weeks of swedish classes lie ahead of me. could be fun? right?  i’m trying to think positively. so, 9 more weeks. and then, summer! that’s only 8 more mondays! it’s just that i had a lot of swedish practice outside of school during spring break, and i feel that i’m going to learn better at this point in the middle of life. not in my inconsistently-teacher-led class. give me real life instead! give me an internship! (i’m working on that possibility. yes!) still, i have more work to do with my fellow immigrants. i have more to learn. it could be good. it will be good. yes. i’m giving myself a pep talk this morning…

and i’m dreaming of being here. this is my motivation…

here’s to wishing everyone a great tuesday!


look where we ended up.

sunday afternoon was too beautiful to stay inside, so we decided to take a walk beside the river and enjoy the sunshine & warm weather. we made it one block… to pub just around the corner from our apartment. and guess what?! it was open! the outdoor seating was too tempting, so, we grabbed a beer and sat in the sun. for a few hours. hehe. i think the plan was to stay outside until the sun went down. and that we did! only we left the pub and went to another outdoor seating restaurant to catch up with some friends. all, in all, it was a spontaneously wonderful afternoon/evening! when we came home, it was dark. mission accomplished.

cold beer & warm sunshine. feels like summer.

there is nowhere love won’t go.

it’s 4:38 am in sweden & i’m just happen to be awake. just now, the sun is beginning to rise. i was irritated at first to have woken up so early, but then I realized… it’s sunday. it’s easter morning! and I’m watching the sunrise!

the dark days are finally over. death has been conquered! love, which is willing to go anywhere, to face anything, has won! yes, there is nowhere love won’t go. it has gone to the darkest places, it has been in hell, and it has conquered death.

we thought that there was no hope. we thought that all had been lost. we thought that suffering was the end of the story. we assume that even today we are left alone to wander the earth aimlessly, so we try to fill our emptiness and fear with money, power, & selfishness. but that’s all a lie. yes, life is tough. yes, this world is screwed up. yes, we hurt and suffer. but, we are not alone. the light has conquered the darkness. death and suffering happen, but they do not have the last word… because love rose up from the dead. love lives! love wins!

wake up, world! there is hope even in the darkest night! there is much to be done! there is much to celebrate! there is love to be shared!

the birds are chirping. the sun is rising. and love has risen!

a pic from easter sunday in 2009 when lina & i were in florida.


sun, sun, sun!

i’m getting some much needed vitamin d this weekend. the sun has been shining, and we’ve been outside!!! apparantly, the amazing weather will continue tomorrow and monday; and that is perfect timing – it’s a 4 day weekend! so, we’ve had 2 beautiful days and it looks like we’ve got 2 more on the way. woo hoo!

here’s what we’ve been up to during the first half of our mini-vacation together: friday night we had a bbq for lina’s nephew. i really love to eat outside. then today (saturday) was påskafton (easter eve). in sweden, easter is celebrated with family on saturday. and one of the swedish traditions on this day is to get eggs filled with candy (it’s one big egg, not lots of little plastic ones in the states. and there’s no easter basket. it’s all about the eggs!). and, here, kids hunt for their eggs. so, lina and i spent the day with some of her family, celebrating a typical (and sunny & warm!) easter eve! people, food, sunshine, easter eggs, fika on the deck, just sitting in the sun. it felt so good.

good friday morning. starting the morning off… me: lazy with a cup of coffee, the cat asleep beside me, & my computer.           lina: working hard with lots of papers, paying bills, making a budget, etc. not really fair, huh?

friday night: the first bbq of the season. yuuuummy!

just enjoying the warm sun on a friday evening.

the table is set!

easter egg hunting this afternoon!

little j showing me her prize… found: one egg full of chocolate & candy! YEAH! (picture taken by lina’s cousin, lovisa)

looking for the last egg…. it took forever. hehe. (lina hid them well!)

serious easter egg excitement here.

wishing you all a wonderful, and hopefully sunny, easter! peace.

today all hope is lost…

“joseph put the body in his own tomb that had been cut into solid rock and had never been used. he rolled a big stone against
the entrance to the tomb and went away”. ~ mark 15:46

this picture shows us the beauty of Christ in his complete obedience to the will of God, at vast cost to himself, and also in his unconditional love for us. because it is for us, for our sake, that he is here like this.

for the first followers of Jesus, this was the end of the road, the end of hope. jesus was dead and buried. they had no expectation that anything extraordinary would happen. as that heavy stone was rolled across the entrance to jesus’ tomb, it really seemed like The End.

there are so many people who have lost hope in some area of their lives. i can think of some i know. i’m sure you know some too. and there are so many that we don’t know personally, but they are still our brothers and sisters. perhaps today, as jesus lays in the tomb and all hope seems lost, let us hold on to each other. let us think of each other…

surely we can sacrifice a little time to think of one another on this day.


(pic and text inspired from here)

i’m diggin’ this.

every year in europe they have the eurovision song contest. think european american idol, but bigger. each country has its own contest and chooses a winner. the winners are then all part of the eurovision song contest. and 2011’s contest begins soon! i just happened to run across the winner from switzerland… and i think she’s gonna do quite well. love the song, love everything about it! check it out!