yep. it’ s week # 3 in instagram pictures.

it’s late & i’m tired, but not too tired to share some pics. hehe. so, here we go…

day 15: car

 we have no car & i couldn’t find the car that i want, which just happens to be parked in our neighborhood pretty often. so, i went artsy & posted this picture of a random car parked outside the gate of our apartment building.

day 16: sunglasses

 day 16 was no day for sunglasses here. it was cold & cloudy, and the best we could do was try some on & dream about warmer places.

day 17: green

 yes. i’m aware that there is no green in this picture. but, it was our st. patrick’s day celebration. i think the irish items in the pic make  up for the lack of green. right?

day 18: a corner in your home this corner in our apartment became a spontaneous music corner when lina spread out all of her stuff.

day 19: funny

wakey. wakey. good morning to our little zola who just sat up & opened her eyes. she is so not awake yet. funny girl.

day 20: before & after

a blog post before. and a blog post after.

an extra pic:

 i chatted with my parents on Skype the other day. my dad took the computer out to their dock, sat it in a chair, and then sat across from me. it was hilarious! and it felt like i was right there with him. crazy cool.

day 21: delicious

 a delicious fika (coffee break-ish type thing) at work with some lovely ladies.

and a few extra shots from work today… where we now have our new sign up at the church where i work. (click here to read more about the history of why we needed a new sign). it’s so cool.

ok. my internet peeps. i’m over & out tonight. hope your wednesday has been fab.

peace out.

you are you. and i am me.

quote of the day:

“they say the most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you realize why you were born.” ~ Viola Davis, 2012 Critic’s Choice Best Actress Winner and Academy Award winner.

taking it a step further:

  • FAST from discriminatory behavior today towards other people (no matter where they’re from, who they are, what religion they belong to, political affiliation, or the way they look.)
  • PRAY for the inner strength that comes from knowing who you are and the conviction to pursue your goals no matter what others think.
  • GIVE at least 15 minutes to thinking about a long-term goal and a definitive step you can take toward it this week.

today’s words & challenges have got my brain running around in circles. my thoughts are all over the place, and i haven’t the time to write down everything i’m thinking. so, i’m just gonna spit stuff out…

when i think about discrimination today, i immediately think of the story of trayvon martin, a 17 year old teenager from florida who was murdered in february. why? most likely because he was black. by who? a police officer, nonetheless. seriously. it’s 2012 and discrimination is alive & well. regardless of whether the police officer is guilty of a hate crime or not (and it looks like he is), the outcry from american citizens and the flood of tough questions found all over social media sites points out the truth that discrimination is still around. even today. and that makes me sad. and freaking angry. read this news article to find out more about trayvon’s story.

i could be in danger for being married to a woman were i living in another country that punished or killed people for being in same-sex relationships (not to say that hate crimes against LGBT people don’t happen here or everywhere. they do). but, i have been lucky and blessed so far.

in high school, i was thrown against a wall of lockers by big guys who were not white because my high school was having horrible issues with race relations at one point. there were protests and people refused to go to school, including me after that incident. there was discrimination all over the place that year.

and, of course, i have met some people who questioned my ability to be a minister because either i was a woman, or married to a woman, or both. those people say things like: women should be silent. women can’t be ministers. don’t’ have authority. don’t command respect. can’t be used by God. and, in some churches, women who love women are immediately cast from ministry, regardless of their gifts for ministry; even if they had been in ministry before. like me.

so, yes. i have been affected by discrimination in different ways. i’m sure you all have your own stories too. but, i don’t think i’ve ever been hunted down because i who i am. for most of us, i dare say that being true to ourselves does not involve us putting our lives on the line on a daily basis. or maybe it does & i’m just oblivious. for me, at least at this point in my life, it’s more of an inner struggle with myself. i can’t do anything about the fact that i am a white woman in love with a woman. that’s just me. but, what i can choose, is how i live my life… from my soul, reaching for my goals. or not.

so, today, i’m gonna spend some time thinking about those goals and recommitting myself to one of them. and make a plan to see that goal through. and all along the way, i am going to remember that each of us have our own goals, each of us are unique, and we all (and i mean all!) deserve a chance to listen to our souls, find support & love from people around us, dream big and chase our goals… as we seek to become who we were meant to be.

so, go ahead. start pondering why you were born… what amazing gift do you have to share with the world?

love for all. peace.

welcome back, spring.

pic from vivian (ny through the lens).

today is the spring equinox… when the earth’s tilt is fairly straight up & down, and the day & night are equal. ok. truth time. perhaps today is not the exact day when you have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark wherever you live, but it’s close. no matter where we are in the northern hemisphere, we all experience a day when the length of day and night are close to being equal = equinox. it could have been 2-3 days ago, or today. nevertheless, today is the first day of spring. the seasons have changed, and it is time to move out from the darkness of winter & into the light of spring. and that makes me super happy.

of course i have been talking about the promise of spring for a few weeks now (the season where sweden go crazy because the long winter will soon be over)… the days have become lighter, we have had our share of warm (14/57 degrees) days, birdies are starting to sing, tulips are being sold on every corner, and there are just a few buds popping up in very random places. i’ve even begun wearing my sunglasses some. still, it looks more like winter than spring outside up here in the nordic countries… but, there are signs. one must remain patient here in sweden… the trees & flowers will really bloom in late april/may. but, it’s on it’s way!

 proof that spring is on it’s way, even here in norrköping.

the rebirth of life. i could write about this forever. the symbols are everywhere. nature is oozing with spirituality, telling us the story of light & dark; of life, death, and rebirth. over & over. year after year. spring constantly reminds us that life conquers death. that love wins. that, even though we may feel hopeless & completely forsaken, the cycle of life guarantees that we will not be defeated. even when we die (metaphorically or literally, in my opinion) we find life. new life, rebirth, beauty, warmth, light, freedom… they all lie on the other side of the darkness & suffering. i have experienced it not only in the seasons, but also in my life. in my death and my rebirth to the freedom to embrace the courage to simply be me.

what an inspiring season. full of the promise of hope. it’s so easy to forget that hope in our every day lives. in those cold, dark days that seem to drag on forever. but, spring does come again. and, for this year, it has arrived once again. now we can go forward, anticipating the fullness of spring and all of the joy that it brings. happy first day of spring, my dear friends & family!

quote of the day. (ok. 2 quotes. i couldn’t help it.)

“the beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” ~ Harriet Ann Jacobs

“our lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.” ~ Martin Luther

taking it a step further.

  • FAST from wasting electricity — turn off lights when you aren’t in the room, turn off or unplug electronic gadgets when you aren’t using them. (and mark down earth hour on your calendar – march 31! 8:30 – 9:30)
  • PRAY: Read this by Rabbi Yisrael Rutman, about hope from a Jewish perspective, or this by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, then meditate on what you hope for and how you can begin today to make your dreams & hopes become reality.
  • decide to GIVE your old or obsolete electronics to a local electronics recycling center.

look outside today. search for any sign of spring that you can find. i just came back from eating lunch with lina, and as i walked past some bushes that lined the sidewalk, i spied a few teeny, tiny red buds. it’s happening. change is coming!


halfway there.

oh, i am so so so bad at discipline and routine these days. how’s my lenten routine going? it’s random &  sporadic at best. and that’s being generous. i am fully aware of the benefits of spending 40 days dedicated to setting aside a very short amount of time every day. after 40 days, there will be some sort of transformation. something learned & experienced. and that time to myself, it’s invaluable to emptying myself and preparing myself for each day’s adventures and opportunities. but, here we are halfway through (or more actually, i guess) and i have most definitely not set aside that time on a daily basis. oh, yeah, i’ve thought about lent & read some things here & there. experienced some incredible moments. but, it hasn’t been how i planned or imagined it.

however, i’m not gonna beat myself up over it all. nope. today is a new day. and i begin again. i have a clean slate. i confess my inability to discipline myself & i seek to make a change for the better (better = more discipline for the next 3 weeks). will you send me good vibes & positive energy, prayers & thoughts so that i find the strength/discipline that i so desperately want to include in my life again?

so, here’s my little challenge for the second half of lent. (i can handle the instagram photo a day challenge, so i should be able to tackle this one. helloooo, priorities.) i will post a little quote every day – except sundays – that i find that inspires me & speaks to me. i’m posting it because i am held accountable to the blog world to actually do it, and in that way i receive support & motivation to discipline myself. plus. i enjoy writing & reflecting, as you know.

today’s inspiration:

“It was so important for me to lose everything, because I found out what the most important thing is, which is to be true to yourself.” ~ Ellen Degeneres

taking it one step further (for me & anyone else who wants to take up the challenge):

FAST from taking your belongings/material things for granted today and imagine having nothing.

PRAY to be more true to yourself.

plan to GIVE away some of your belongings to a local second-hand shop or homeless shelter.

* i found these ideas here.think i’ll use that website quite a bit.

wishing you monday morning peace.

hello… inspiration.

seems like all i needed was some quality, fun time with my wife & some amazing music.

we had a music cafe, called “local heroes”, at the church (where i work) saturday night. it was a 4 hour open mic nite full of amazing music & crazy, amazing talent… from a children’s choir, to a retired man blowing on a horn, to a singer-songwriter band (blackbyrd), to a jazzy-ish trio (the original trio), to super talented teenagers, to a middle-aged women’s band, to (you know it’s coming!) my amazing love. yes, my love sang 2 songs & everything about her was beautiful. i am overcome with pride, of course. and i have reason to be, according to person after person… all who are also singing her praises. needless to say, after a night such as this, filled with music, emotion, a chance to stand in front of the audience/congregation & offer my own words of inspiration, and a visit to the local pub for a st. patrick’s day guinness, i went to bed feeling overwhelmed and content. hellooooo, inspiration.

today was a chance to spend some quality time with my love. after work, we did a little shopping. oh my gosh. i bought some work out clothes. why did i do that? now, i’m gonna have to put them to use. hehe. seriously, i am hoping to begin more yoga. or begin yoga. anyway. we shopped, ate, and came home for a few hours to just relax. then, we headed back out in the evening for a movie.  a little sunday night date. perfect. and now, it’s a little sofa time & then off to bed.

so, now there’s music running through my veins, lifting my spirits and touching my soul. speaking of soul, lina’s cousin, julia, created a playlist today on spotify, which feels absolute perfect. it’s happy, relaxing, and chill. and then there’s my love. you know, there are just days/times when you feel connected. we’ve had some time to focus on each other & just be together… and watching my love listen to her soul and living life from her soul through her music has lifted my spirits. when all is said & done, now that i’ve been part of the real world again, am feeling better (bye bye,damn cold), and have had 2 days of inspiration, i feel a little more like myself. ready to face the next week.

cool ladies rockin’ it out.

the ep/cd cover for blackbyrd. yes. we loved them so much we bought their music. and liked them on facebook.

 my love. i could listen to her sing 24/7. she really should have a band. no. really.

 happy st. patrick’s day celebration!

 everyone in the family doin’ her thing. me & the computer. lina & the violin. zola & her cuteness.

 the movies! so cozy & fun.

hope you have had a great weekend and that you are ready to tackle & experience all that is waiting for you in this upcoming week. think what adventures & opportunities lie ahead for us! wishing you tons of inspiration & hope.

love & peace.

at the end of the rainbow.

i’m hoping to find something at the end of the rainbow today, since it’s st. patrick’s day. i’m hoping that the luck of the irish will shower down on me and at the end of the rainbow i will find what i’m looking for… inspiration. though, I’m not really sure if inspiration is what i’m looking for actually. but, i do feel like i’m searching, seeking something. there is an unsettledness in my soul. one that leaves me feeling like i want to blog, i want to write, i want to be social, i want to live life, i want to do lots of things… but i can’t. i’m paralyzed. something is empty. i’m kinda numb. this is so not like me.

i realize that i’ve been experiencing my time in the desert right now. appropriate, i guess since it’s lent. and probably a side effect of being sick & at home for the past few days/week. too much time to think. alone with my thoughts. it’s a good thing to have  – time to yourself, but it’s hard. you come face to face with yourself. your demons. your dreams – both realized & unrealized. so, i suppose this blog post, which is marking the end of my little hibernation (well, i did actually leave the house yesterday for a cozy fika) is the culmination of my little dry period. (please let it be the end of my little dry period). i don’t want to stay here in the desert any longer. it’s lonely. and uninspiring. i am forcing my way out and back into real life… does it work like that? can i do that?

anyway. it’s st. patrick’s day. and i’m taking that as a good sign. a sign of luck. a sign of living life, of leaving my thoughts behind, of breaking free. tonight i’m gonna be a part of/lead a music cafe (sort of open-mike nite. no i’m not singing or doing anything musical.) at the church where i work. it’s gonna be a night filled with great company, great music, and great inspiration. plus, afterwards, lina & i have decided to go grab a guiness at a local pub where they will be celebrating all things irish. so, things are looking up.

still, i can’t knock this feeling of… something. restlessness. homesick-ness. being overwhelmed. all of the above? i don’t know. feels like i need an adventure. a trip. we’ve gotta get on with planning our trip to paris in may. only 2 months left!

in the meantime, the challenge i have is to look at the joy that is all around me. the opportunities (scary as they may be) of each day,  the tiny little buds that are appearing in very random places, promising me that spring & sun will return. the beauty of my love looking from behind her computer and across the table at me. that smile. that connection we feel. lina is my main inspiration right now.

i am reminded this morning that it is not about the promises to come, but rather the life that is. and, even  in the desert there is beauty. true, there is a desire to see what lies at the end of the rainbow, or what’s on the other side of the rainbow. to get out of the present, uncomfortable moment and into one that is more suitable & enjoyable. but, the more that i think about it, the more that i realize that what lies at the end of the rainbow is nothing more than the present moment. besides, if all i care about is getting to the pot of gold, then i miss the beauty of the rainbow all along the way.  it’s about the journey, not the destination. right?

of all people who should have wanted to get out of their present situation, st. patrick was one of them. kidnapped at 16. sold into slavery to the irish. and then escaped & returned home to wales. he had much to be pissed about. but, after decided to work in the church, he also found himself feeling a calling to go back to ireland to walk among the irish people. what?! return? certainly it was not his first choice of where to go. but, he did. and he served there faithfully, bringing with him the amazing belief that if we meet people where they are, as they are, instead of trying to get them to change into what/who we think they should be, then we can more effectively spread love to everyone we meet.

patrick didn’t avoid the situations in his life. he didn’t search for the pot of gold, always waiting for what came next. he used the moments in his life as they came. and he lived them to the fullest, faithful to who he was called to be.

last fall i had the amazing joy of visiting ireland (and our good friends) for the first time… and i loved it!! talk about living in the moment & enjoying life as it happens… those 3 days were full of life. so, in honor of the irish –  those fun-loving, jovial, life-living people on the island of green, i pledge to do the same on this day. and i pledge only for today, for those are the moments that matter.

 i took this picture of the river liffey (which means “life”) when we were in dublin.

 living life with my love on a bridge over the river liffey.

who cares what’s at the end of the rainbow?! just look how beautiful the rainbow actually is.

sláinte! (cheers! in irish.) peace.

march photo a day: week 2

we’re almost in the middle of march! already?! in the past week there has been a touch of winter weather and a touch of spring weather.  and it’s been super windy… a sure sign that the seasons are in the midst of changing. i know all you americans out there have sprung forward to daylight savings time (how’s that working’ out for ya?), but here in europe we have some weeks to go before “summer time” begins. i’ve already begun experiencing the inability to sleep past 5:30 due to the fact that the sun is now rising that early. gaaahh. but, all of these changes = spring is just around the corner!

anyway. to the pictures! the themes for the day were pretty creative & weird this week. here’s what i saw…

day 8: window

 window washers at the mall.

day 9: red

 a red prayer blanket made & given to me by some amazing ladies in a church where i worked in nc, and the 7 things i would want with me if i had to spend 40 days alone in the desert/wilderness. a lenten lesson for my youth at church last friday night.

day 10: loud

the speakers were turned up really loud for the melody festival final on tv saturday night at work. we had no tv and were freaking out because all of sweden would be watching except us (since we were working). and then, we found it streaming on the internet! whew. so we watched it. at work. mouhahaha.

day 11: someone you talked to today

i talked to my mom on sunday. i love talking with my mom. i talk to her almost every day – we have an amazing long distance plan.

day 12: fork

 a monday night pub visit with my love complete with beer, fries, and a fork.

day13: sign

it was crazy windy walking home yesterday. so windy that as i started to cross the street, i heard a big bang, saw this metal sign tumble over, and then blow across the street. craaaaazy.

day 14: clouds

 whispy clouds outside my kitchen window this morning.

i couldn’t resist:  cotton-y clouds this afternoon.

there ya go. week 2. complete! peace out.

blogging from bed.

that’s it. i decided that this cold is gonna leave me and i’m forcing it out by staging a bed-in. that’s a sit-in in a bed. yep. i’ve been in bed all day (ok. perhaps i will move to the couch when i decide i need a little tv action). but enough is enough. i’m sick of feeling sick, so, it’s mid-afternoon on a wednesday and i’m still under my covers. no music. not much computer. no tv. just me. alone with my cat. drinking tea. napping. drinking juice. staring at the ceiling. napping again. trying to heal. i think i made the right decision, though. i only wish that my love could be in bed too since she’s also under the weather…

 my view from the bed during today’s lazy morning w/my love before she went to work. 

you know i love coziness, so i’m making the best of it (even if i am a little bored). our bodies and our minds need some time to not do anything (as if we can shut off our minds. well, i can’t). our souls too. so, i’m focusing on the warm, cozy covers. lighting some candles. drinking lots of hot tea. and giving my body & my brain a break for today. perhaps i will write some. perhaps catch up on some tv series. perhaps nap again. i’m gonna listen to my body & do whatever it says. so, far, it has said to literally just be.

but, just being always tends to lend itself to thinking (hence the inability to shut off my mind)… sometimes that’s good. sometimes it’s not. a few hours ago, i found myself daydreaming about the states until i fell asleep. i imagined the sunshine, the water, being on the boat, eating my favorite foods, seeing my family. my daydreaming turned into homesickness as i drifted off into a deep nap.

 keeping an atmosphere of coziness all day as part of my healing process.

i have also found myself thinking about my blog during my waking hours today. it’s such a narcissictic habit. isn’t it? to write about myself. post pictures of myself & my life. as if i am something great. on the other hand, i have a story to tell, thoughts to share, and people to connect with… so this is the perfect platform for that. when i first started blogging, i sucked. at least i think so. i was never satisfied with how it looked, what i posted, etc. i was caring about possible readers too much. later on, lina & i had a blog together for a while, and that was really fun. i felt creative & began to find my voice. then, about a year ago, i created this blog… my co-blog with lina had run it’s course for both of us. here i have found a home. i found my place to express myself. to write, post, create whatever & however i wanted, without regard to who was reading. i wrote for myself. just recently, have i begun to wonder (since my readership – is that a word?) has picked up, if i am writing for a audience again, or if i am writing for me? what is the purpose of my blog? is it to create & write, or is it to generate comments/connections? or both? and is one better than the other? hmmm…

prayer to myself: please always, always write & post only from your soul. only what you feel, what you need to say, what you are inspired to say. disregard those who read (in a sense). do not write for anyone else, but let what’s inside flow out. only when you are just yourself, will you allow yourself to be used. listen to & speak from your own voice. always. be. true. authentic.

(i know. this little fast from all music, tv, people, etc. has gotten me seriously stuck in my head. over-analyzing. but sometimes it’s good to reassess too.)

i cherish all my readers, and the connections i have made through this blog. i find such inspiration from reading many blogs which i have discovered. i am inspired to keep writing by the lovely & encouraging comments i receive. i long to stay connected to friends & family in the states by showing little snippets of my life here in sweden.

and i have a message to get out to the world – a message of hope, acceptance, justice, & love. i want to be an ambassador of peace through my words & pictures. and i want to shout out to everyone that there  is one universal truth: love… this world may be upside-down, crazy, confusing, and full of corruption & injustice, but i believe in something much more powerful than all of the brokenness & darkness all around us and in our lives. i believe that love does conquer all. that peace is possible. and that, if we all simply seek to follow our bliss, to listen to our souls, that individually we will grow stronger, and together we will create a world full of justice, love, & peace. that is why we are here. to love ourselves & one another, as we have been loved. i believe it with all that i am. i know it from deep within me.

so, perhaps, this little corner of the blogging world, this little space, is my way of continuing my journey to be who i was created to be; and to join with all of you in working together in our  sacred calling to c0-create this world to be the world it was created to be.

thank you for stopping by to remind me that i am not alone in this journey, in this quest, this calling to live life to the fullest. thank you for simply being you.

(look at what happens when you blog from bed during a sick day. hehe.)

 joy. love.  justice. mercy. and peace to you all.

something to ponder.

pondering. one of my favorite past times. and thanks to a tip from my awesome & inspiring cousin, lindsey, i have something positive and encouraging to ponder over every day. this morning i got a little message in my inbox, like i do every day, from the universe. it’s from a fun, uplifting website that sends out daily inspirational thoughts via email. it’s just a little pick-me-up every day.

this is what was waiting for me this morning:

“Liz, if you could take a daily pill that would profoundly speed-up the manifestation of all your dreams, would you take it without fail? 

I thought so. 

What if it was a big, ugly pill that took 5 minutes to dissolve on your tongue, and it tasted like medicine. Would you still do it?

Yes, all of your dreams… 

Thought so. 

But what if during those 5 minutes each day you couldn’t watch TV, or talk with friends, or distract yourself in any way from your chore?

Wow, you must really want a fabulous dreams and goals, and all those other awesome life changes! 

OK, what if you could skip the pill bit entirely, but instead you had to set aside 5 minutes a day to visualize, in a dark and quiet room, seeing your life unfold as if all your dreams were coming true, and for good measure you had to say or do something, each day, that implied the same?

No, you can’t go back to the pill idea.

    The Universe”

something to ponder, huh? makes me want to remember the importance of dreaming my dreams, believing in them, and spending just a little bit of time every day focusing on them. dreams do come true, i can attest to that in my life. sometimes not in the way or in the time we want or plan, but they come true nevertheless. it’s a beautiful thing. and i believe that when we truly listen to our heart, seek to be true to ourselves, and scrape up enough patience & hope to wait, our dreams will become reality.

if you want to receive a personalized, positive email every day click here & check it out.

5 minutes today. just dream. and believe.

love & peace.


monday morning music.

sometimes i find myself all over the place on the internet, not knowing how i found the places i found. you know, like driving on an unknown road, making turn after turn, and discovering new, amazing things, not exactly knowing how to get back, but not really caring. well, at least that’s how i drive sometimes – i like to call them adventure days, made part of my life thanks to my adventurous parents. oops. i got a little off subject. hehe. anyway… i click all over the place – here & there – and have no idea how i end up on certain websites. it usually happens when i find something inspiring, then they link me to something else inspiring, and so on and so forth. this happened to me one day last week and i ended up here. and i fell in love. new group. new music. new opportunities to chill. i’m into relaxing music right now (ok. always.), but i can feel that on the horizon i am gonna be moving towards some more sunny, upbeat, funky music. for now, though, this is perfect. and somehow i feel that i connect with the music & with nature when i listen. perhaps it’s because they seem to be so in tune with nature themselves. perfect combo.

so, for you today, i leave you with this eclectic, funky (in their own way), amazing group and a video. the tree ring. (if you have spotify, you can click on the group’s name & listen to the entire album. if you don’t have spotify, get it now! it’s free world of music on your computer!).

oh, and yes. today is beautiful! the birdies are chirping and the sun is shining (and rising at 5:30ish already!). spring is on it’s way! i’ve still got my cold, but I’m feeling good!! happy monday & thanks for reading!

peace out.