first class all the way.


hanging out here in first class on the train to gothenburg for the weekend. surfing the net for free, sipping coffee, eating chocolate, soaking in the Swedish sunshine warming me through the window. train rides are sooo cozy. just another day in the life… hehe. not really. we never travel first class, but it wasn’t that much more expensive thjs time, so we went for it. and i’m loving it.

inevitably i always hear some english when I travel, and just now i discovered that there are 2 american men sitting a few seats in front of me. it feels so cool when i hear american english, like i’m instantly connected with fellow patriots from across the pond. they are speaking quite loudly, so i am staring intensely. hehe. can’t stop. and there’s also this elderly Swedish lady making tons of phone calls about random things. she speaks very slowly & very loudly, so we all know what’s going on with her. great people watching on a train, if the view outside the windows bores you (which should never happen here – boredom – since the countryside is beautiful!),

anyway, we’re headed to the west coast to visit friends this weekend and just hang out. youknow there will be a little shopping, a little fika, a little wine, and tons of pics. gonna be so great to have 3 days completely off. yay!


quote of the day:

“the very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”
~ Chris McCandless

wishing you a fabulous weekend! peace.

my new spring do.

it was time for a change, so i got a new, messy, funky haircut. it’s a big change and it feels so much better. just in time for a little road trip too. we’re headed to gothenburg for a 3 day weekend. gonna be great!

peace out, peeps.

week 4: march instagram pics.

it’s the last week & i have had so much fun finding things to photograph for the march photo a day challenge. and i must say, i am super proud of myself for actually following through every single day – something i never, ever do. so, it’s actually a big thing for me. ok. too much talk. time for pics.

day 22: kitchen sick

 this is not my kitchen sink. but it is my dream one. a little bit modern. a little bit country.

day 23: animalzola loves this box. to sit in, sleep in, chew on, tear up. she sounds like a puppy, huh?

day 24: moon ironically, there was no moon on this night. so i cheated & used a pic that i took a few mornings earlier.

day 25: breakfast the breakfast of champions… when you’re in a hurry.

day 26: keys got my keys & my headphones. ready to walk home from work after a long day.

day 27: your (my) name as i was killing some time in a book store, i ran across an author who i share the same first name with: elizabeth. i snapped a shot & promised myself that one day, my first & last name will be on a book cover standing on a shelf in a book store. yep.

day 28: trash i kissed lina goodbye & she handed me a trash bag. so i took out the trash this morning on my way to work… like a good, little wife. this is our little trash house in our apartment building’s backyard. cute, huh? for a trash house.

only 3 days left in the photo challenge & then it’s april. i’m all ready to go! join along, if you want! i use my iPhone & instagram to take the pictures, and then i post them here on my blog. but, you can use your camera or phone & post them on twitter, your blog, Facebook, pinterest, or some other social media. if you are gonna use a hash tag so we can all see each others’, then use this one: #photoadayApril. it’ll be good to start a new month, with new inspirations. you can be sure i’ll be totally into it come sunday. hehe! but, i’ve still got 3 more march pics to do. you’ll see them later this weekend.

well, it’s wednesday – my super long & busy day. so, it’s time to let my head hit the pillow. sweet dreams to all of you out there. goodnight.



poet. theologian. mystic.

during the 13th century a man was born in persia (now afghanistan). he moved to the city of konya (now turkey) and lived his life there as a sufi mystic, on a journey seeking truth and love. a journey seeking his soul, i dare say. all along this journey he wrote poems. around 70,000 verses of them as i understand it. those poems live on today as a source of inspiration and inner peace for many today. including me. they offer wisdom, silence, simplicity, truth, & love. they encourage us to embark on a journey of the soul & a journey towards one another.

his message is that life as a journey… a mystical journey of spiritual ascent through mind and love to the Perfect One. in this journey, the seeker symbolically turns towards the truth, grows through love, abandons the ego, finds the truth and arrives at the Perfect. the seeker then returns from this spiritual journey, with greater maturity, to love and to be of service to the whole of creation without discrimination with regard to beliefs, races, classes and nations. it is a call to lead a mystical life (= a life that is in touch with your soul) and a loving life (= a life that seeks to be in service to all humanity). for all you methodists out there, sounds like john wesley to me. holiness of heart and life.

rumi’s words are the inspirational quote today. and i thought i’d share a little of his love for words & life with you.

 “if you wish to be a mine of jewels, open the deep ocean within your heart.” ~rumi

 may peace be with you the whole day through.

re-writing history.

quote of the day:

history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. ~ Maya Angelou

today i took this picture of the church where i work. when i saw the picture in black & white, i couldn’t help but think of the past. of all the people who have been a part of the church, of all the people who have passed by the church & never given it a second thought. i also thought of the homeless, alcoholics who have gathered daily by the clump of trees & benches just outside the front of the church. i thought about the building that once stood behind the now empty lot behind the fence. i thought about the fact that the church is in the middle of the downtown area, where people have walked year after year. i thought about all of the things that a church is, and is supposed to be. and i thought about all of us… and where we are as a human race.

maya angelou says that if we face our pasts, our mistakes – as individuals & as a society – then we need not live through them again. so, i began to wonder… how have we treated those who are outsiders, those who feel hopeless, those who live life unsure of where they are going to sleep, those who live with violence all around them, or are filled with anxiety & fear? how have we treated those who are different from us, who look differently, act differently, believe different things, live different ways from us?

in the past, we, as a human race, have sought power, greed, personal security & gain. we have cared more about ourselves, our possessions, and our personal time than creating a community, sharing our lives with others, sacrificing for the greater good. we have been egotistical and self-centered. but, it doesn’t have to be that way. and this picture reminds me of all of the possibilities we have to learn from our past and create a new future together. one based on justice & equality.

just something i’m thinking about…

peace to you all.

what’s waiting for you?

it’s been a good day. it started off a little if-y, though. spent the morning in a long meeting surrounded by a lot of negative energy actually. why must people always see the problems and stuck there? why must people discuss something over & over, going in circle after circle – arguing and not moving forward? ugh.

but that was just the first hour. then we had fika, that life-saving break that breathes new inspiration into all people. and today it did just that. well, at least for me.

over a steaming cup of hot chocolate, i met an intern from germany & we hit it off. as we were chatting with each other, i started having one of those crazy conversations in my head that some of you know that i have when i am doing some public speaking or just talking… i analyze, plan, and think things in my head as i am speaking about something else. well, i was doing just that. as i was chit-chatting with the german chick, i was thinking about how unbelievably incredible it was that we were chatting in swedish. 2 newly-swedish-speaking ex-pats, from different countries, with different languages (of course she speaks english too), speaking a third language to communicate. so. freaking. cool.

and then i had a moment. one of those moments where i am blown away that i live in sweden. i left my home country, everything i knew, moved to live with my love, have learned a new language, and have been working for almost a year – making connections & building up my own life here. of course, not without the help & support of so many people, mainly my love. anyway, it was an awesome moment. one that i never dreamed, planned, or thought i would find myself in the middle of.

life is crazy. amazing. difficult. and breath-taking. especially when we go deeper, get out of our comfort zones, and risk everything. we never know what’s waiting for us! but i guarantee every single one of you that, if we listen to our souls, it will be more amazing than we ever could have imagined.

courage & peace i send to you.

everyone’s out & about.

it was the first weekend of spring. we changed our clocks ahead & the days grew longer. the weather was beautiful. it was pay day on friday (for most people). and everyone – and i mean everyone – seemed to be out & about, enjoying every single moment of the weekend. it was also a work weekend for lina & me = tons of work hours & working at night. but, we managed to squeeze in some time outside under the sunny, blue skies just like everyone else.

we have all emerged from our winter blues & have our sights set on summer – even if it is only spring & there is the possibility for a snow day. nevertheless, right now in sweden, it’s all about seizing the day. spirits have been lifted & we have crawled out from under our winter blankets & out onto our balconies (which lina & i don’t have. but that is a whole other story. you don’t want to hear me whine.) and into the parks.

here are some snapshots of early spring days in sweden!

on my way to work friday night. the tree is yellow!!!

fika on friday with my love. blueberry pie. yum.

spring decorations in the shopping area. they make me so happy.

bought a paris guide book. we’re going in may & we’re booking our flight tomorrow! i cannot contain my excitement!

sipping coffee & soaking up rays.

saw a sunday matinee: the hunger games. go see it. the hype is right!

pasta carbonara a la lina. sunday night at home. dinner & a movie.

i hope that your weekend was great & that you feel ready to tackle a new week. thanks for reading, following, & commenting. you have no idea how much it means to me, my friends. and no, i didn’t forget my little quote of the day. i am taking sundays off. so, it’s just a little peek in pics for this post. but, there will be a quote tomorrow morning! see ya then!

g’night. peace.

say what you will.

it was a sunday morning in a small mill town in the mountains of north carolina. i was standing in front of around 120 people, leading a worship service… part of my job as a minister at the methodist church where i worked full-time. it was a part of the job that i loved. leading ancient rituals connecting us with humans throughout history, taking a message of hope from an old text & making it relevant to today, praying for & on behalf of the entire congregation. such a humbling & inspiring task.

one of my responsibilities that particular sunday was to lead the prayers of the people – i shared names and situations and places that were in need of prayer, support, & love. and then, i asked the congregation if they had any concerns to share. as each person spoke, i wrote down their concerns, adding them to our list of prayer requests. and then, i prayed. out loud. it was something i took very seriously (and still do)… forming words, sending thoughts & prayers to the holy on behalf of everyone gathered. my words mattered.

many times i used the words of people and intertwined them with my own words. sometimes i wrote down my prayers, sometimes it was spontaneous. on this sunday, i had written down my prayer (and improvised some too). it included words from a prayer book that i used quite often. i wove the words from an ancient theologian’s prayer into the beginning of my prayer and then continued with my own thoughts. as i completed my prayer & began to lead the congregation into the next part of the service, a man stood up in the back of the church. he said that he had a prayer request to add. i distinctively remember recognizing that he was a visitor and feeling excited that someone felt the courage to express a need, even if it was after the “appropriate” time to do it. besides, what kind of church are we if we plan a service and don’t allow for moments of inspiration? church is not about rules, you know. but about spirit & relationships.

anyway. i invited him to share his concern, and he proceeded to hold up a bible and yell at me that he had no idea what i thought i was doing or what kind of church this was… that the only book he read was the bible and that i should not have used the words of other people in my prayers. i mean he was yelling, shaking his fist and his bible at me. i was in shock. my mouth was hanging wide open. i couldn’t believe this man was verbally attacking me in front of all these people. i pulled it together, thanked him for his opinion and kept standing there without moving. the other minister stood & began to speak to the man. i have no idea what he said. i kept standing there with my mouth wide open. still in shock, but aware that i needed to keep it together. then i saw the man take his bible and leave. i sat. i don’t remember the rest of the service, but i made it through, giving myself a chance to reflect on what had happened later on that day.

needless to say, i never stopped using other peoples’ words in my prayers or writings. too many amazing people have said too many amazing things that we need to share with each other. of course it is wonderful to find the inspiration to be able to add some of our own thoughts & words to the writing world, but to overlook all of the gifts that we have been given by talented writers throughout the years would be a shame.

so, i think i’ll keep reading. i think i’ll keep writing. and i think i’ll keep sharing.

quote of the day:

“employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for”  ~ Socrates

taking it a step further:

FAST from television today (i have screwewd that up a little already today. but i watched documentaries, so it was educational. and now the tv is off. for the rest of the day)

PRAY — practice lectio divina (sacred reading) — during some of the time you would normally have been watching TV. (read whatever inspires you. it most certainly does not have to be the bible, in my opinion).

GIVE some or all of the remaining time you would have watched TV today to any reading you like.

happy beautiful saturday!

sending words of love and peace to you all.

wastin’ time.

of course i would totally agree with everything john lennon says, since he is one of my idols; but this quote is especially great. i have had my share of moments of feeling guilty for not doing one thing or another. i beat myself up for seeming to be so different from other people. sometimes i still feel like i’m on the “outside”, like there is no one else really like me. but, then, i remember that being me is exactly who i am supposed to be. and perhaps it’s a good thing that i’m not exactly like everybody else. and it’s ok that i seem to be a “time-waster” instead of a type-a, go-getter personality. that just doesn’t jive with me. i take life at  a much slower pace.

you may call me crazy, or lazy, or whatever; but i am much more comfortable, at ease, at peace, and inspired when i sit, reflect, read, chat with a few people, drink a glass of wine or coffee, sit in a park & people watch, stare out the window, listen to music, go to a museum or a concert, meet over a beer at a pub, hang out in bed reading & writing all morning… you get my drift. i am made this way. it’s who i am. for some people, i suppose it seems that i waste time. but, no one knows all that is going on inside me. i admit that i would love to take lina & zola, and go sit in the woods every weekend to recharge – write early in the mornings, take long, slow walks, build fires & sip wine, have a few visitors every now & then. i am a nature-lover. a hermit. a dreamer. but, i am me. and the reason that my time is not wasted is because i’m busy inside, working with my soul. when i waste time, i am in the midst of dreaming, imagining, connecting, creating. of course i would love to create something like my sister-in-law’s plates, bowls, and vases (she’s a potter); or be like lina, creating music with her voice. i don’t create something tangible to sell, or have the talent to entertain & touch people through music. honestly, sometimes i feel like i can’t really do anything well, except be alone. and then i remember what being alone produces in me… inspiration.

now, i am not saying that i wish or even could handle being alone all the time. i like being alone, or in a small group, but i need people too. i need the balance, and perhaps i need it a little more than usual. though i don’t even know if there is a “normal” amount of alone time. simply put, i must balance out my crazy days with some lazy days. and when i do, my life flows so smoothly.

all of this to say, we are all created differently; and while at times we may just want to fit in, more than anything, it is important to be true to ourselves. authenticity before popularity. so, i embrace john lennon’s words on not wasting time. i waste time, but that time has not been wasted. besides, just being is necessary in order to really do anything.

quote of the day:

“one person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” ~ Tim Burton

by the way, wasting an hour & 15 minutes last night at my yoga class was most definitely time well-spent! loved it. so, my dear friends, find your way to waste some time this weekend! enjoy the moments!

peace & rest.

a lady, the muppets, & some flowers.

quote of the day:

watch out for each other. love and forgive everybody. it’s a good life, enjoy it!” ~ Jim Henson (the guy who created the muppets!)

  • FAST from over-using technology today. (Don’t check Facebook frequently; talk to your coworkers instead of sending an e-mail; turn off your cell phone during meals; etc.)
  • PRAY for people who are shut-in or lonely.
  • GIVE a handwritten note or card to someone who has made you smile this week.

it is a beautiful, beautiful day in sweden. a real spring day. i believe the warmest day of the year so far (16/61). and that means that this morning, as i read blogs and did a little work at home, the windows were open & bluegrass music was blasting through my speakers. it was so wonderful.

and then, it was time for a walk in the sunny, warm afternoon. as i walked with my love to her meeting, an elderly woman stopped to ask us if we knew where her daughter was – she thought that they were supposed to meet today. now, we didn’t know this lady at all, and it was obvious that she was quite confused. we got her to tell us her daughter’s name & lina looked it up on her phone, hoping to find a phone number. no luck. or, we found the name, but no number. or something like that. turns out her daughter lives in another city. the woman was so, so confused and upset. we discovered that she lived nearby (we hoped), & lina told her to go home & call her daughter to see if they were going to meet today or not. as we were saying goodbye to her and started to walk off, the lady stumbled & began to fall. thankfully, lina & i were still close enough to grab her before she fell to the ground. we felt terrible sending her on her way, but there was nothing else to do.

lina had to go to her meeting. i was so unsure about being with the elderly woman alone, because she was very hard to understand. i felt that trying to communicate with her would just upset both of us. but i waited a little bit in the square, and watched the lady shuffle off, her cane in her left hand & a bag in her right.

i felt a little like a spy, but i followed behind her. we suspected that she lived at a retirement/nursing home around the corner from us. it took quite a while for her to walk, but i kept an eye on her & moved really close to her every time she was crossing a street, so i could be there… just in case. when she passed the retirement home & kept walking, fear and uncertainty circled in my head. where was she going? did she even know? just as i was about to approach her & talk with her again, she stopped in front of a building and looked up at the number that stood above the door. 24B. she was on one of the streets she had mentioned in our earlier conversation, but it was not the retirement home. she obviously decided that she had reached the correct place & began searching for her keys. with perfect timing, a young man walked up & punched in the code, opened the door, and the lady made her way in. i felt better, but not completely at ease. i walked over to the door & looked at the names that stood above the keypad for the code. and there it was. her last name. or actually, her daughter’s last name. finally, i could exhale again. the sweet, confused lady was home. safe & sound.

with that little adventure complete, i headed downtown to grab a chai latte and find a sunny spot to sit & soak up the rest of the moments of my afternoon & say a little prayer for those who are lonely or need a little extra love in life. oh, and you know i took some pics.

 somedays i am blown away when i realize, once again, that i live here. as for enjoying life, i’ve got a challenge and the fulfillment of a dream planned for this evening… i’ve signed up for a yoga/meditation course and tonight is my first class. i’m so excited & a tiny bit anxious because i have no idea what to expect. but, it feels amazing to finally follow through on something that i have wanted to do for so long now. and finally, the timing is right. i am certain that this is going to be a very inspiring & interesting evening, which will probably involve a lot of processing and reflecting on my part afterwards.

ok. time to get ready. have a great evening. wishing you love & peace.