today i wanna be 12.

 dad & me (from circa 2007/2008). always kids.

it’s halloween!!! i loooove this day! but, what i love most is what i remember from when i was a child or a teenager. halloween was a big deal in my family. we dressed up (well, not my dad). but, my mom had this crazy witch’s costume and wig that she wore almost every year. and of course, my brother & i had costumes on. but, not usually any of those store-bought things. no, not for us. we rummaged around our closets, with mom’s help, to come up with something. there was perhaps a time or 2 we bought a superman or princess costume when we were really young, but what i remember most is trying to be a creative as possible with what we had. and today, i appreciate that so much!

on top of the costumes, there was the anticipation of walking around the neighborhood, hoping to be scared by someone or something, and at the same time freaking out about what lay around the corner. people decorated their houses, had spooky music playing from their windows, and were generous with candy as we went from door to door, yelling “trick or treat!” after a few hours of wandering the neighborhood in the dark, scaring each other & being scared in return, it was back to our house to sift through all the goodies we had gotten… and then a sugar high for the next week.

but, what made my parents stand out from others was the fact they they were kids themselves… they love holidays, and always did everything to make holidays fun! we had 2 fantastic halloween parties during my childhood – one for me & my friends and one for my brother & his friends. it was amazing! we worked hard to scare everyone as much as possible, ate crazy food like dirt, eyeballs, brains, etc., played games, had a gypsy fortune teller (me!), hung ghosts in our trees, had spooky music, bobbed for apples, watched scary movies. it was so much fun!!! and i am so so thankful

so, today, as i fondly remember halloweens of my childhood, i am struck with the urge to go back in time and be a kid again. oh, how much fun it was…

happy halloween, everyone!!! peace.      

(yes. we’re back from ireland & pics are coming soon!!)

the joys of living in europe.

there are some major perks to living in europe. and one of them is that so many countries, and therefore so many cultures, lay close to one another. on top of that, there are cheap plane tickets to be found. and then there are friends who live in those nearby countries. add all of this up and… you guessed it! my love and i are off on another trip! this time we’re headed to the land of guiness beer, U2, leprechauns, misty cliffs, green grass, & pubs, lots of pubs! IRELAND! i’ve never been there and i can’t wait to visit dublin. i’m sure that our friends will give us a perfect irish weekend!

so, see ya monday & have a great weekend! peace out!

21st century pen pals.

i have a bunch of friends that i have never met. well, i like to think that we are friends, even though we have never talked to each other.  it’s true, we have never even seen each other (except perhaps a picture or 2.), but we read and write to each other all the time. we live all over the world, in different countries, with different cultures… but are connected by words. i’m not sure if i’ll ever meet these friends of mine;  so, we are, what i would call, 21st century pen pals. we’re blog buddies. almost every day we chat with each other. through messages of support and through writing that inspires. at least that is how i feel. it’s this wonderful give and take sharing of life between complete strangers who are now friends, connected through this cyberspace world where we share our thoughts, pictures, fears, joys, and lives online… through our blogs.

every morning i wake up and check to see which of my blog buddies has left a post on their blog while i was sleeping (lots of time differences). and i check my blog… to see if there are any new comments on whatever i may have written here. comments from family, friends who i know, and friends who i may never meet. i love the feeling of expectation that i have when i log into my account and find that there are comments waiting for me to read. those words of encouragement leave me feeling so connected. i love searching through the blogs that i read (including family members), finding out what’s happened to my dear blog friends in their little corner of the world…

have you ever seen the movie “you’ve got mail?” every morning, every time she comes home from work, every night before bed, kathleen kelley checks her computer and breathlessly waits to hear those wonderful words… “you’ve got mail” from the man with whom she is falling in love:

What will he say today, I wonder.  I turn
	on my computer, I wait impatiently as it
	boots up.
I go on line, and my breath catches in my
	chest until I hear three little words:
	You've got mail.
I hear nothing, not even a sound on the
	streets of New York, just the beat of my
	own heart.  I have mail.  From you.

it’s one of my favorite movies of all times. cheesy, i know. but i can’t help it. and i feel just like kathleen kelley every morning when i wake up. it is amazing to think about the ability to connect with people all over the world who have never met. when i read their blogs or when i read comments on my blog, i am overwhelmed that people can touch each others lives just through the power of words. i think about all my blogging friends. i celebrate with them when they are excited and i feel their sadness when they are lonely, confused, or angry. we do, in fact, share life with one another. it’s a beautiful thing.

well, i’m signing off for tonight, friends & family. posting my post for this day. feeling inspired and touched by these interesting 21st century friendships and my family members who i can keep up with online. i’ve checked everyone’s blog, caught up on their lives, and i’ve realized how much their little comments to me, and to each other, mean to me. so, to all of you bloggers out there, keep the words coming. you all light up my life in your own special way. and thanks for dropping by here from time to time.

goodnight. peace.

busy monday.

it’s a busy day in our little downtown apartment. we’re home all day, but have plenty to do. what have we been up to, you wonder? well, first we were busy sleeping until almost 10:30. poor us, i know. guess we were exhausted. then we were busy syncing all of our calendars and other technical devices… we are nerds like that. and we were also busy drinking coffee all morning and eating breakfast at 12. now we are doing laundry this afternoon & planning our economy…perhaps, perhaps, perhaps we are going to be able to make a trip to the states in january!!! ok. not getting too excited… later on we are going to be busy reading, working on our computers, preparing dinner, & watching a movie. hmmm… it’s so tough being so busy.

zola has been busy watching birdies…


i am complete again.

the baptism dress.

i have spent this weekend at home without my love. well, actually, i haven’t been home that much. friday night i worked. but, later in the night i settled into an empty bed to watch the latest episode of one of my fav shows, and drifted off to sleep with an adorable cat beside me. we took care of each other, since we both felt a little weird without lina.

saturday morning was slow and calm… coffee and a good book entertained me for hours; and then i attended our niece’s baptism (lina’s sister’s daughter). it was a relaxed, beautiful afternoon/evening. i must admit that it was a little strange to be completely with lina’s family… without lina. but, it was so good. so much fun.

it has taken 2 years, but i finally feel like my own person again. there is something about moving to another country and learning another language that makes you feel like you have lost your personality a little. i don’t feel 100% “me” when i speak in swedish all the time. i can’t use my little personal phrases/sayings, or make jokes, or relax completely. but i’m getting there! the cool thing about being with lina’s family yesterday (who i’ve really sort of known for 2 years) was that i felt like myself! something has happened and i didn’t even realize it. some new step has been taken. or a new phase has begun. it felt free, light, and enjoyable… where in the past all social situations have been fun, but a little stressful & lonely sometimes. but, yesterday, i felt like i had my own place. i felt like me. come to think of it, i think i may have felt all of this creeping up a little bit… at work, at lina’s work, with the teenagers i’m around.

after the baptism of the happiest, giggliest baby girl, i came home and relaxed. i talked with my mom quite a bit, did a lot of thinking, and then did a little writing here. i went to bed late and was asleep before i knew it. i have no idea where the night went. it flew by… this morning the sun was shining, and after another morning of coffee & reading, it was time to get moving. i cleaned, cleaned, cleaned to get ready for my love’s return from the her survival camp in the woods.

now, she’s home and i am complete again. the weekend went by quickly, and it was a good one; but not as good as when i share it with my love. i missed having her to talk with, laugh with, relax with, and just share everyday life with. i lived by myself a lot in the past, and it was ok. in fact, i enjoyed it. turns out, i don’t like it so much any more. life is so much better when it is shared… and i am so amazingly blessed to share it with lina!

it’s off to rent some movies now and buy some beer. one cozy night, coming up!

happy sunday everyone! peace out.

i feel every little thing.

i’m the first to admit that i’m an optimist. a hopelessly romantic chick who’s full of thoughts of dreams and possibilities. i think that some people may think that i am too hopeful, though. too positive sometimes. maybe i am. i’ve been accused of wanting to run away from anything difficult. perhaps in the past that was true. i may talk (or write) about things that make me seem always happy, full of life/hope, and like everything is great and perfect. i may seem that i am strong all of the time. but, whether i say anything or not, i am also a realist inside. and i am weak on a regular basis. i am completely aware that darkness exists – in my life & in the world. i am completely aware that life is not fun every day. i don’t ignore the pain, confusion, and fear. i feel every sting of sadness, every tear that falls down my cheek, every moment that i can’t breathe, and every time that i just want to crawl away & hide. i just choose not to focus on those things. i feel them completely, but i don’t share them that often. yes, i am human and i hurt. but that pesky hope & optimistic belief that all will be well wins over my pain every day. i am surrounded by darkness sometimes, but light always bursts through and shines the way for me to find my way out.

there was once a time in my life, however, when i think that things were so upside-down and crazy, that i shut off all of my emotions. over & over again i told myself that there was hope. it’s how i survived. i think i told myself that things would get better so much, that i didn’t even need to believe it. i didn’t need to feel it. i just repeated it again & again. and i went to my job. a lot. all the time. i had no personal life. i filled my life with my work and my studies, and kept telling myself that things would get better… one day. but, i refused to see how things really were. i ignored the pain because it hurt so much. i did such a good job of ignoring my feelings, that i convinced myself that i was ok. i couldn’t see how things really were. so, i sounded like some fake, happy-all-the-time, life-is-perfect person. i looked like someone who had everything & felt wonderful. but i was lying to myself. in order to survive the pain, i tricked myself and turned off my emotions. and i had no idea this was happening. i actually thought i was happy – or that i would be happy. soon. i was way too afraid to admit to myself my reality.

then, one day, an amazing friend challenged me to actually look at my situation – to stop complaining, then pretending everything was ok, then hoping, then complaining again. he told me that clearly i was not happy and challenged me further… to find someone to talk with. that was the wake-up call i needed. so i did just that. and for the first time, i realized that i had no idea how i was really feeling and it was high time that i explored and felt my feelings again – as scary as that was.

but by facing that fear, and acknowledging my emotions, i began to meet myself in a whole new way. and that led to my freedom. freedom to discover who i truly was, and then to live my life with reckless abandon and infinite hope. once i began to really feel things, i realized the joy of living every minute to it’s fullest. i found the courage to take risks, to truly follow my dreams, to be carefree & daring, and to never sit back and let life pass me by. i learned to never, ever bottle up any of my emotions. so, just because i don’t talk with you about my emotions or write down negative things, doesn’t mean that i don’t feel them. believe me. i do. everything is not hunky-dory all the time. there are things that bring me down & make me cry. and tonight for some reason, i telling you how i feel. i am letting out that secret (which isn’t really a secret) that some days suck. sometimes i’m a little emo. some moments just feel dark.

tonight is one of those nights. i’m alone. i miss my love. i miss my family. my heart aches. and everything feels heavy. soon i’m going to crawl into bed and pull the covers up tight. and then tomorrow will come. a new day. with sunshine and brightness… to take away the darkness of this night.

but before sleeping, i reached for something to inspire me. here’s what i found tonight…

may there be peace and light in your lives.

good to know i’m not crazy. instead, i’m honored we share a belief.

“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.


twisted celebrations.

is there something wrong with me? or is it because of my world view and my experiences in life?

i am confused, once again, at the joy that people feel when another person is killed. ok. i’m not just confused. i am angered by it. disappointed in humanity. afraid that we will never grow out of our selfish, violent ways.

i realize that i have never lived in the middle of violence, or under the oppressive reign of a dictator. i have no idea what it feels like to live without rights. well, i take that back. yes i do. my wife and i cannot live in the US because we are women who we are married to each other. we are second class citizens, sinners and not worthy of the all the rights that americans have. i have felt the oppressive-ness of the US government, but i have been blessed to have not felt violence as a result of it (though i know that it exists).


when i watched the news this morning, reporting on the killing of gaddafi in libya, i was disturbed at something that i am usually disturbed by… people celebrating the death of another. don’t get me wrong. gaddafi was a terrible, terrible man and libya should never have had to live under his rule any longer. i’m not here to say how he should have been taken out of power, or what the solution is when there are people who are living with tyranny and violence. i have no idea how to deal with these complicated situations. i’m also not here to judge the celebrations of those people who have been victims of gaddafi’s reign, for i have not experienced the lives that they have led.

what i am talking about is this twisted sense of justice that so many have, especially those of us who are on-loookers, who haven’t lived in the situation, but watched it on tv. this sense of “2 wrongs make a right”, “you did this to me, so i’m gonna do it back to you”, “he/she was a bad person, so he/she deserves to die.”, “yes! God is great! the horrible man is gone!” “woo hoo! the bastard is dead!”

what is the deal with this? why do people seriously think that it is ok to celebrate and wish the death of another? how can people demand justice in a violent way? isn’t that just stooping to the level of the “bad person”? yes. there are people who do evil and horrible things, but how can celebrating the end of their life (or the life of anyone, for that matter) make right the terror and pain they have caused?

again, i may have no idea what i am talking about. but, something in my soul feels that it is so wrong to celebrate the death of another. for all of those who believe in jesus, when did he ever choose to be excited at another’s demise? when did he ever say that we should payback when we are wronged? in fact he said the complete opposite. when did he ever fight back? i do not know everything about all other faiths, but i do know that at the heart of all of them is love – love of self and love of others. God, the God of everyone, of every faith, is love. and i truly believe that there is not one time that God celebrates when any human being loses their life… whether it is a 96 year old who lived a long life, a 45 year old murderer on death row, a 26 year old addict, a 50 year old nun, a 6 year old child, a 36 year old parent, a 70 year old dictator and terrorist… the God of love yearns for humans to live in harmony and peace with one another, and to enjoy life.

so, what do we do with all of the injustice and violence in our world? what do we do when one source of injustice and violence no longer exists? i don’t have the answer. i do know that i feel a sense of relief that a dictator such as gaddafi is no longer imposing his violence on libyan citizens. but, my heart aches that this man felt so much hate, sought so much power, and believed that torture and violence was the path to his happiness. what a horrible was to live, and to die.

no. there are no celebrations coming from me this morning. there is only sadness and grief that this kind of violence and terror still exist in the world. there are only questions and wonderings as to how we move past the desire for greed, power, status, and selfshness that lead to such horrible situations. the death of gaddafi reminds me that we have a long way to go. we have much to do to ensure justice, equality, and peace for all. and there is much that we need to continue to learn about each other, so that we can live with respect, acceptance, and diversity. we still need to learn how to open our hearts and minds, and seek the difficult way of peace, instead of the easy way of violence.

pic from

peace. deep, true peace i wish for you all.

a package!!!

here i am on a chilly thursday night. sitting in silence, but feeling rather productive.

i finally succeeded in focusing and getting some work done. and now i’m all ready for my meeting with the youth tomorrow night. yes, i know. it’s a day ahead. and i neeeever complete things a day ahead. always on time, but not in advance. however, today i got it done. go me.

soon, i’m gonna curl up with a good movie , a glass of wine, and wait for my love to come home. i’d really love to write about a crapload of current events rolling around in my head – occupy wall street (and beyond), the news out of libya today, LGBT stuff, faith ponderings… but, i’m not in the mood right now. or, rather, my brain is fried from planning my meeting for tomorrow night. you know, it’s good i’m doing something that i have lots of experience in, because adding in the “plan this in a whole other language” thing doubles or triples the time it takes me to accomplish things. i have to basically write everything out in swedish, just so i can get in the flow, so that tomorrow when i meet with the youth, i’m not reading my swedish to them, but talking and conversing like a normal person. it’s a tough process, but i’m sure it’s helping my swedish immensely. all that to say, there will be no long post tonight on any deep and meaningful subject…

just a fun post about the package that we got from the states today!

zola love, and i mean loooves, boxes.

fun stuff!! ok. a mixture of a bunch of things that i can’t here in sweden. or if i did, they would be expensive. 2 sets of orange halloween lights. 3 air freshners (i’m already using one). 5 white t-shirts. 1 scooby-doo halloween dvd. 1 snoopy dvd. and a card. (the dvd’s were unexpected gifts from my parents who refuse to grow up – and i love that about them!) yes, i am spoiled! thank you, mom & dad!!!

there’s nothin’ like an orange glow in your living room to make it cozy…

peace & happy almost weekend!