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.

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.