february 29. bonus day.

wondering what to do with this extra day? a day which just happens to be in the middle of lent = a journey which can, and does, lead to transformation… if we let it.

how about we do this…

happy wednesday, my dear readers. don’t give up. just keep on. this morning is a new beginning – a chance to love more, to live more, to be more.

sending you thoughts of peace & love.

because i have nothing else to do. right.

ok. a little break. i was thinking i’d be productive today, but it ain’t happenin’. i don’t know why. ugh. i always get so stressed out when i don’t accomplish what i planned on accomplishing. perhaps i am trying to repeat last tuesday – which was an amazing, inspiring, productive day which left me filling whole & content. today. not. so. much.

well since i am being unproductive with my work, i figure i’ll play a little. so, here’s a little “tagging game” courtesy of moments of mezzo, who tagged me.

the rules:

  1. Post the rules (that’d be these 5 things here.)
  2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post (below)
  3. Create at least 5 new questions (gaaahh. stress!)
  4. Tag some peeps and link them to your post
  5. Let em know they’ve been tagged!

the questions:

If you could take a walk in a celebrity’s shoes for a day, who would you choose and why?

i have just surprised myself with this answer…

angelina jolie. not that i love her or anything, but her life fascinates & intrigues me. she travels like a crazy person, meets amazing people, gets to act for a living, seeks quality & justice, is a humanitarian, and has a huge family. it sounds so exotic & fulfilling at the same time. i think i would adjust quite well to sharing a life with my love that looked like angelina & brad’s.

Chocolate or vanilla?

vanilla. i can add chocolate & so much of whatever else i wish! i just realized that i was thinking about ice cream only, but the question only mentions chocolate or vanilla. hmm… so i go with chocolate. except vanilla ice cream. got it?

What is your favorite song and why?

imagine by john lennon. it’s soft, chill, and so so so meaningful. it’s my dream… & i hope that it will be played at my funeral. morbid? nope. it’s my wish for the world and my plea for all who will be left behind after i am gone. imagine. and work for peace.

Dogs or cats? (Don’t make me unfollow you.)

at the risk of losing you as a reader, mezz… cats. as if you regular readers didn’t know. hehe.

Which part of Fear Factor would you be the worst at: the physical activity, the gross stuff, or the dare devil stunts? The best at?

i would suck at everything. but i would be absolutely the worst at the physical activity. i am so not a physical kinda person – unless it involves dancing. and as for the rest of it, i’m a chicken. ok. i’m not that bad. i can handle some gross stuff and i can be adventurous, but not the extreme things they do on fear factor. nope. not for me.

What is one strange habit you have? Where did it come from?

i can’t think of anything…. i know there must be tons of weird habits that i have, but my brain is stuck. maybe everything i do is weird. ask lina. she’ll for sure know something. hehe.

If you were in a fire, apart from people and animals, what 5 things would you grab first if you had the time (in order)?

my journal, my phone, a photo album, my camera, old writings. i really thought about this, and i realized that if i had my love & my cat, i would be fine losing everything else. truly. everything else can be replaced. i’ve worked really hard to not become dependent on stuff – it doesn’t really mean that much in the end.

my questions:

1. what is your favorite holiday & why?

2. what character in the movies or in a book do you most identify with & why?

3. share one of your most embarrassing moments. give us all the nitty gritty. :)

4. who has been the most influential person in your life & why?

5. if you could quit punching the clock & get paid for doing what you really love, your hobby, what would that be? details!

tag! you’re it!

julia, karen, lanie, and trista.

ok. back to work. thanks for the fun, the mezz. peace out, peeps!

p.s. I also tag lindsey!!

everything’s pink & blue.

i set my alarm for 6:30 when i woke up at 4:30. i was feeling ambitious. then, i rolled back over to sleep the last 2 hours before my monday would begin. i slept hard. before i knew it, the alarm went off & i was scrambling & fumbling around trying to slide my finger across my phone to silence the music which sounded like it would wake the whole neighborhood. seriously, 6:30 already? with my alarmed turned off (not on snooze, mind you), i lay my head back down on my fluffy pillow, knowing that i was taking a risk. i think i fell asleep, but the falling asleep actually served to wake me up again – my eyes shot open, i did that short breath thing that you do when you’re nodding off, but find yourself waking up. oh god. how long had i slept? with fear, i grabbed my phone & checked the time. 6:42. only 12 minutes had passed. i lucked out. i contemplated my choices. get up, make coffee, light candles, read/write (plus find out all the oscar updates!) or sleep again until lina’s alarm does off in 45 minutes.

i chose to get up. somewhere i found the strength & motivation to put my feet on the floor & make my way into the kitchen. as i was preparing all of the coffee paraphernalia, i realized that i had not turned on the light over the stove so i can see to pour in the water or scoop in the coffee grounds.

then i realized what was happening. light is coming back to sweden! it’s 6:45 & everything is blue & pink outside. inside, the kitchen is lit with natural, morning light. the months of darkness are over. i declare it to be official. and while i truly love the dark, cozy winter months, i find myself feeling very happy to see the sun making such an early appearance this morning. come to think of it, it feels as if everyone is coming out of hibernation these past few days. it’s so true what they say – the light of the sun (or lack thereof) truly affects one’s mood & general overall feeling. perhaps that’s why all those swedes smiled back at me the other day when i took a walk out in the sunshine. we all were part of the same club, with the same secret knowledge and the same feelings… we all know it. we all feel it. the sun is beginning it’s return, spring will come again. the sun had, in fact, not abandoned us. and these little moments of hope found in the secrets of nature remind us to keep on going & fill us with friendliness and cheer.

i’m glad i decided to get up. i needed to see the beauty of the morning, to have the sunshine greet me and tell me that the time has come again – the dark days & nights have ended. for now. just as i had hoped & believed that the light would return, it became true. and when the light fades to darkness again (and it will), i will remember this morning. the darkness may last awhile, it may seem to go on forever, but it never wins. the light will return.

but, you know, it was never really gone.

wishing you a beautiful monday filled with light & peace.

crazy weekend nights.


ok. maybe my weekend nights are not crazy in your eyes, but they are my nights just the same. and i like them. i’m not ashamed. judge me if you want… well, perhaps we just have different definitions of crazy. hehe. i’m kidding. they were definitely not wild & crazy nights, but they have been crazy in their own special way in my little part of the world.

friday’s craziness involved working with about 6 teenagers… we played some games together, laughed uncontrollably, and talked some about lent & this journey we’re on for the next 40ish days. it was a really great night full of tons of joking & fun! no, there was mass of teenagers breaking down the doors, (due to the fact that it was winter break for them), but sometimes it’s good to have a smaller group. when it’s a smaller group, i can really spend some quality time with them – and that i did. on my way home, i stopped on the street to say hey to my love while she was at work with her teenagers (my internship teens). i walked with some of them for a little bit & then headed to our neighborhood pizzeria to grab a late night snack to munch on when i got home (it was about 10:30pm when i got home). for some reason i was wide awake, so i stayed up until my love came home (2:00am). it was really cozy… hanging out under my covers with my computer & my cat. oh, and my snack was awesomely yummy.

the sunset as i walked to work friday night. gorgeous.

 self-explanatory. hehe.

saturday’s craziness was all about a little pub visit (after working some in the afternoon) to our favorite spot just down the street from us. i love spending some quality time with my love… just chatting, dreaming, and getting in touch with each other. it’s so important to make time to just be together & catch up. we ended the night at home by watching the swedish song contest that everyone watches on saturday nights. we gotta choose the artist who’s gonna represent sweden in the eurovision song contest (for all my american friends, think… american idol, but with a representative from every state). this is a big deal here.

the pub.

sunday night’s craziness has been dominated by some interior decorating! lina had a little inspiration this afternoon as we wandered through downtown, so we made a few purchases & voila! we hung new art over our bed! check out lina’s blog (here) to see a cool post on the decorating process.

i love it! (kudos to my love for coming up with the great idea!)

that’s about it for the weekend’s “craziness”. gonna rest for the remaining moments of my weekend before a busy week begins again. buuuutttt… something amazingly fantastic happens at the end of this week… one of my dearest friends/former youth/”little sister” from the states is coming to visit us for a week!!! it’s a big moment for our little family, she’s our first visitor from the other side of the pond!

just to give ya a little background, j & i traveled together to sweden in 2007, which just happens to be when i met lina (i was a the leader for the youth “mission” trip she was on). more on our visitor (check out her blog here) & perhaps more on how lina & i met, later on… ♥

so, if i thought this weekend was crazy… well, next weekend will be super crazy. for real. can’t wait!

how was your weekend? i’m all ears… peace out, my peeps.

because i love fairy tales.

ok. i know you all are just dying to know. hehe. do you even remember the big swedish news from yesterday? the sweet new princess, one day heir to the swedish throne, now has a name! and i think it is beautiful. since my opinion matters. =) it’s not a traditional royal name, and none of the guessers out there were even close…

princess estelle silvia ewa mary

duchess of östergötland

all royalty are given an area, a county, of sweden to “rule over”, and the king (estelle’s granddad) announced this morning that estelle’s county is östergötland. and guess what?! östergötland just happens to be the county where we live! yep. feeling proud & excited.

i am so into this living in a country where there are kings, queens, princesses, heirs, & duchesses. it’s just like a fairy tale. yep. i’m a dorky american.


out in the sunshine.

after some serious wind & rain during the night, when i woke up this morning, the sun was shining and the sky was blue! on top of that, i had a whole day in front of me… my day off! at first, i thought about staying home & having a repeat of tuesday’s day of candles, coffee, & writing all day (and what an awesome day it was!). but, during lunch with my love, she asked me what i was gonna do the rest of the day. hmm… i decided that i just had to go outside and enjoy the weather.

it was as if we got a little taste/reminder that spring would actually come one day soon! while the breeze was still chilly, the sun felt warm on my skin and the beauty of the day erased any thoughts of being cold. nope. i wasn’t cold. i just walked and soaked it all in. i decided to walk by the river & carry the camera with me, using the afternoon to do some things that i love to do, but never really have time for. so, i walked & walked. stopping very often to snap a shot here & there. and i smiled or said hello to almost everyone i passed, receiving smiles & hey’s right back (which is quite rare here, since most swedes keep to themselves, not making eye contact, or chatting it up with strangers – a little different than the southern USA). but, today, it was amazing. perhaps i got so many positive responses because i was walking around with this giant grin on my face… so the friendliness i encountered very well could have been people laughing at me. but, i’m gonna keep telling myself that there was some human connection happening… you know, like if you give off positive energy, you receive it back.

the more i walked, the closer i got to a favorite cafe of mine,  i decided to go in for a little personal fika… and spend my quiet time for lent there. i ordered some hot chocolate and went to the top floor (which is unbelievable. i wanna move in and have a loft apartment there. hehe.). it was a popular place to be today, filled with mostly college students, i think. some of them were doing a video project & interviewing each other. a few other groups of people sat & chatted. i settled into a chair, put in my headphones, and sipped on my yummy drink. it was the perfect setting. i was finding quiet time in the midst of everyday life.

in my reading, i was reminded of the importance of being a messenger of peace, hope, & love in life… to all i meet, in whatever way or whatever place i meet them. the thing is, this is where religion gets a bad wrap. some religious people (ok. many of them.) seem to want to force a message of “love” (or their message of hate & closed-mindedness, i would say) on other people, insisting that they follow rules, commanding people to do certain things, believe certain things in order to be considered “good”. and that pisses me off. you can’t command people to love. and how arrogant and shitty is it to say “my way is the right way” to another person? think how much better would it be to accept that we are all different and just love each other simply because we are all humans? (notice i didn’t say like. liking someone is completely different, and we don’t have to like everyone we meet, but we do have to respect all, i believe).

instead, if i, if we, want to share a message of peace and hope; if we want to love others, fight for equality, and create a world of justice & harmony, then the most effective way to do that is to motivate others by the way we live our lives. making some statement of belief or pressuring others to believe/think/act the same as we do is most ineffective, in my opinion. instead, the loudest way to shout out about love is actually not even with words… it’s the with everyday moments of our lives.

as i looked around at the people sitting near me in the cafe, as i smiled at those i passed during my walk, as i chatted with a man about the birth of the little swedish princess today, and as i visited my love, her co-worker, & some of the youth, i was inspired to think again of the best way to share love. the best thing to do to give off positive energy, make people smile, let them know that they are worthy & beautiful just as they are. sometimes it is necessary to use words to share these thoughts with others, but it’s so easy to show love just by living our everyday moments with the love we want to share. practice what you preach. walk the talk. be the change you want to see in the world. and, as one mystic saint once said… “go & preach the gospel (share love) throughout all the world. if necessary, use words.

ok. of course i have tons of pictures to share with you from today of the beautiful city where i live, and i’m gonna do it right now!

 our apartment building (the yellow one) and a stunning blue sky!

 stopped to talk with a man near here. we were looking at the flags & chatting about the baby princess.

proud swedes!

 i pretty much just love this apartment building. gaaahh.

 the river is thawing!

 the cafe/bakery.

 see what i mean… coooozy.

 can’t you just see this space being an amazing loft apartment?! those floors… i’m dyin’.

 outside the cafe. in a few weeks/months this area will be filled with chairs & tables, people, musicians…

 i’m all smiles today!

i hope that your thursday has been super great too. now i’m gearing up for a quiet evening alone (it’s all about balance, remember?) before my love comes home. a glass of wine, maybe? some music? a movie? i’ll see what mood strikes me… what are you up to tonight? how has your thursday been? by the way, i haven’t said it in a while, but thanks ever so much for reading!

sending you love & peace.

the talk of the town.

seeing as i am a resident of sweden and have now claimed the swedish royal family as my own royal family (since i’m from the states & we have no royalty), i have a duty to post this:

what is it, you ask? it’s the official royal family’s announcement of the birth of a little princess to the crown princess victoria & prince daniel at 4:26 this morning!! all of sweden is a-buzz with chatter about the joy of this occasion. there have been 42 gun salutes (when an heir to the monarchy is born it’s 42 instead of 21!), guesses of the little princess’s name, and anticipation of the first pictures of the royal family.  so, welcome to the world, little princess! and congratulations victoria & daniel!

today it’s super fun to live in sweden! peace out!

ash wednesday in another way.

20120222-211614.jpghanging out with people at work.

I just had to do it. This morning I emailed my friend in North Carolina because today is a day we always loved to share. I remember standing with him outside, crushing the old palm branches of last year, putting them in a little pot, and burning them. We sat & watched them burn, making black, thick ashes. Then we mixed them with a little bit of oil and waited for the evening to come.

Early evening came & people filled in the seats as we began reading words reminding us who we are, what we’ve done, and what we’ve left undone in our lives. We gathered together to remind ourselves to return to the path we had once been on, to remember that we are called to be true to who we are created to be, to be true to ourselves; and to seek the way of the wilderness, which amazingly leads to love & wholeness.

The most powerful part of these nights was having people walk down to the front where my friend & I stood. I dipped my finger into the black ashes, looked into the eyes of the person standing in front of me, reminded them that they are loved, and marked a cross on their forehead. Amazing.

Yes, I missed those moments today. But I celebrated in a completely different way. I went to church to work this morning, but we have had no service like those I shared with my friend. Still, it was a great day of chatting with people (and we talked about doing the service next year if I’m still there!).

The rest of the day I was at my internship, my second job. I worked from 1 – 10 (which means I’m actually still working) so I had no time to go to a service at another church. However, this has been just as good. Of course the ritual of ash wednesday is powerful & important, but at this point in my life, being in the midst of people takes center stage. Perhaps this is my wilderness, my challenge. Living life in the middle of society, among all kinds of people, with all kinds of lives & backgrounds feels just as amazing, just in another way.

I still am reminded of who I am, who I have been, and who I am called to be in the middle of this crazy & beautiful world. I am still reminded of the importance of using these next 40 days to find my way again, through the wilderness, and to a life filled with love that spills over to everyone I meet.

So what am I gonna do for the next 40 days? I’m gonna find some balance… spending time with myself & with others. I’ve spent these few moments writing and it’s now time to turn back to the youth & my co-workers around me.

Try to take some time for yourself too.. you deserve it. Wishing you a peaceful, beautiful night, my friends. (and forgive my crazy grammar/writing mistakes. hehe).


je ne sias pas.

i don’t know why, but i have a french music obsession today. i’m playing one soothing playlist after another. perhaps somewhere deep inside of me i’m tapping into my french-ness. i have no connection to france or anything french, except that i studied it for 2 years in high school. or perhaps i woke up feeling french-ish because today (in the states) fat tuesday is celebrated… mardi gras in french.

there are little celebrations all over the country, in pubs and other restaurants, but the main celebration happens down in new orleans, the southern louisiana, french & cajun-inspired, party city. it’s a day of parades, masks, beads, drunkeness, food, music, & all night street parties. colors of purple, green, and gold are everywhere symbolizing justice, faith, & power. i’ve never been to the real mardis gras celebration in new orleans, but i’ve always wanted the experience. oh yeah, it’s on my bucket list. i have been to my share of mardi gras celebrations, though…. all kinds of celebrations.

so, why the celebrations? why fat tuesday? well, the name of the day is referring to the last day of eating rich, yummy foods before the ritual of fasting for the lenten season (the 40 days + sundays. more about that tomorrow.) before easter. the celebration of mardi gras in the states is quite popular in secular culture, while the practice of fasting before easter is only a spiritual practice of a few (compared to the mardi gras celebrations). though, most people who fast, fast from one thing – like Facebook, or soda, or candy. they do not actually fast, as in, refrain from eating something for a certain amount of time. but, fasting is a whole other blog post that i hope to tackle soon. it is so misunderstood, in my opinion. anyway, today is the day before the fast to celebrate, enjoy life, seize the day, and party! it’s like an oxymoron. crazy indulgence today. mournful, somber awareness tomorrow.

here in sweden, fat tuesday/mardis gras is known as fettisdagen (fett=fat, tisdag=tuesday). for the same reasons, of course. it’s the last day of eating rich, yummy pastries before beginning the season of fasting. while people in the states usually eat pancakes & indulge in tons of kegs of beer & other party foods on mardi gras, things are much more tame here. most everyone makes their way to a bakery at some point during the day to buy the special pastry of fat tuesday: semla. it is a wheat pastry bread, with some almond paste (marzipan) inside, and whipped cream on top. the lid of the pastry has powdered sugar sprinkled on top. it’s delish! and actually, not too over-the-top sweet.

so, did i make it to the bakery? why, yes i did. after lunch, i walked one block to our neighborhood bakery & secured our semlor! (swedish lesson: one semla, two semlor. hehe.) i’d love to tell y’all an exciting story about how i had to fight & wait in line forever to get my 2 semlor, but it was actually pretty calm. there was a lady ordering 2 ahead of me, a lady behind me waiting to pick up her order (how many did she order?!), and a man carrying a box load to his car. i had no problems… walked right up there, placed my order, and scurried on out & back home, where our semlor are now waiting for us to enjoy them for a fika later this afternoon.

so, i guess i do know why i’m in a french state of mind… it’s mardi gras! enjoy something yummy today, dear readers! and check back tomorrow so we can share the beginning of an amazing, thoughtful journey together. a journey of remembering who we are, where we came from, where we are going. a journey of self-reflection & self-discovery…

for now, back to my french music & back to work.

intrigued? meet ya back here tomorrow. peace & celebrations!

9:00 am

got my bottomless cup of coffee. lovely french music (sandrine kiberlain) in the background. two candles lit. a snuggly blanket to take the chill off. and cozy clothes on. my workday has begun… a day of writing, planning, & reflecting. oh the comforts of working from home. i’m a lucky girl.

happy tuesday, world. wishing you a day filled with inspiration & opportunities to tap into your soul.