the last day of april & a challenge for may.

FINALLY!!! the weather has taken a turn for the better & there is an abundance of sunshine and semi-warm weather (= i still have to wear a jacket). my windows are open, my sunglasses are stashed in my bag, the blanket is out & ready to be used in the park tomorrow, and the sun is beating down from a brilliant blue sky. spring has actually arrived! and it’s right on time.

today & tomorrow are a kind of spring holiday in sweden… called valborg. it’s a coming of spring celebration with grilling out and hanging with people. tonight swedes sing in the spring with big bonfires. super fun! it’ll be my second valborg, so i know the drill this year, which feels good. the only crappy thing is that lina & i are both working = not celebrating in the same place or in the same way. oh well. we gotta try to enjoy the celebrations where we are. me with the church group out in the country; and lina in the city, working with the youth. no matter what, we can’t help but enjoy this weather!

 today’s blue sky & bright sunshine.

so, out with the old winter, and in with the new spring. woo hoo! which reminds me… here come the last 2 pics from the photo a day april challenge. love my instagram challenges.

day 29: circle. i love my funky, retro kitchen radio with all its circular knobs.

day 30: something that makes me sad. the continuing struggle for all people to be accepted & ordained in the UMC.

and now… presenting the photo a day MAY challenge!!! you know you wanna join in. it’s so much fun to be challenged to see something creative in every day. it’s kinda like a little gratitude, stop-&-smell-the-roses kind of daily discipline. it’s really good for the soul, i think.

wondering how to do it? well, it’s easy.

  • just read the challenge for the day and interpret it however you like.
  • snap a photo with your phone or camera
  • then post your pic wherever you want. on instagram (using your phone), on twitter, on Facebook, on your blog. on pinterest. or all of those places!

i have gotten into a little groove of posting everyday on instagram & pinterest, and once a week here on the blog. i may change it up this month & post a pic daily on the blog & then use that picture as inspiration for writing. i can’t decide, but you’ll find out tomorrow! for now, here’s the may challenge!

this month is gonna be fun. especially since i’ll be in paris for a few of the days!

happy snapping! peace.

music makes me emotional sometimes.

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(blackbyrd performing at a charity concert)

i’ve heard some really great music today. stuff that fills my soul. calms me. makes me close my eyes & just be. i let the music- the instruments & the lyrics wash over me. and in those moments, i just felt whatever i felt… despair, hope, homesick, love, inspiration, fear. there are times when it’s ok, ya know, when it’s even good, to just feel your emotions. all of them. and to simply be & breathe.

wishing you peace & rest as you prepare for a new week, my friends.

week 4: photo a day. april.

here we go. the last installment of april’s photo challenge. i seriously cannot believe that may begins on tuesday! 2012 is flying by. hope that you’ve had a good week (mine’s been full, and i’ve had a cold, still, it’s been good) & that you’re ready to begin a new challenge with me in may. come on, you know you wanna. of course i’ll post the may challenges on monday (along with the last 2 pics for april). for now, here are the ones from this past week. geez i loooove this challenge. oh, and one more thing, just so you know… all the pics are taken with my iPhone 4s, using the instagram app. the collages were made with the pic frame app. so easy & so much fun.ok. time for pics!

day 22: something i bought. we bough a gift for a friend’s new baby. loved the cute dinosaur wrapping paper.

day 23: vegetable. i had a yummy baked potato with avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, & cottage cheese for lunch. delish.

day 24: something(s) i’m grateful for. my marriage, my job/work,rainy days, the city where i live, my girls, sunny days.

day 25: looking down. on my way home from work… looking down my street.

day 26: black + white. some things around the apartment.

day 27: where i went. on friday, after a meeting, my love & i went to out favorite pub to get the weekend started off right.

day 28: 1pm. at one o’clock this afternoon i was gathering all the things i needed for my afternoon out with my love.

that’s all, peeps. hope your saturday has been a good one. i’ve still got a ton of blog posts rolling around in my head. and, as for the who methodist church convention thing, it’s still going on. i will for sure have lots to say about that in a few days. off to bed now, a day of work tomorrow, and then a very special swedish spring holiday on monday/tuesday. more to come on that at the beginning of the week. plus more pictures. of course. i can’t stop taking pictures these days. but that’s a good thing, i guess. i feel as if i’m expressing myself, getting a chance to be creative. ok. enough typing. i’m rambling.

goodnight & peace.

better late than never i always say.

two-ish weeks ago i received 2 comments which notified me that i had won 2 different blog awards. wow! cool! well, it has been super busy in my life, and i have had blog posts & ideas for blog posts coming out my ears, so it is only now that i am finally getting around to responding to those awards. but, at least i’m doing it now.

1. the versatile blogger award.

the fun american chick from NYC who now lives in sweden over at somethingswedish gave me this award. i admit, with a little embarrassment, that this is the second time i have been awarded this one. needless to say, i am unbelievably honored and excited that a fellow expat here in sweden thought of me! she has just moved here (about 4-5 months ago, if i remember correctly) and it is extremely entertaining to read about her new experiences and vicariously live through her first year adjustments to living in sweden (reminds me much of my first year, and brings back good memories!). it’s a good read, and i truly suggest that you stop by & check her out. thanks, girl!

since i won this award previously as well, i’m gonna skip out on the rules and instead send you to my previous post, the one i did when i won the first time. the blogs that i mentioned there are still wonderful blogs & they have become part of my daily reads. they are my first true connections in this blogosphere, so i hold them dear to my little blogging heart. click here & find some awesome new blogs to read and 7 fun things about myself that you didn’t know!

2. the beautiful blogger award.

this is the first time i’ve been awarded this one! makes me happy that someone thinks of my blog as beautiful. what a compliment. thanks to leigh over at bluegrass notes for thinking of me! leigh’s blog is beautiful in what she writes about… she makes me feel calm & offers wonderful, interesting thoughts on living a healthy, spiritual, whole life. check her out! thanks again, leigh.

now on to the fun!

5 beautiful blogs you rally should check out!

  • 365 to 30. an inspiring & gorgeous blog about a young woman’s year-long journey to her 30th birthday. love the pics!
  • the urban hippie. i love this chick’s pictures. sooo beautiful. give s me a great little USA fix whenever i need it.
  • 400 days to 40. another beautiful blog about one’s journey toward a milestone birthday. i’m so gonna do this since i turn 40 in 2 years!
  • linköping with love. i can’t believe i stumbled onto a beautiful blog by an american who lives in a city 30 minutes from me! we gotta meet! and you gotta check out her pics!
  • kill ‘em with curls. i love this beautiful blog! kimberly is creative and poetic, and her blog is simple & beautiful.

i highly recommend these girls above and i am so happy to pass of the beautiful blogger award to them! the beauty lies in various things in each of their blogs, and they are each beautiful in their own unique way.

happy reading & happy blogging!

sending you all some saturday peace.

pink is not usually my favorite color.

but, today, i’m all about that girly, happy, soft color. just look at the weather we’re having on this first day  of the weekend!!! one of the swedish newspapers is calling it a “super weekend” – it was payday (everyone gets paid on the 25th of the month), it’s gonna be summer-y warm, and it’s a long weekend (the end of april/beginning of may/coming-of-spring celebration monday & tuesday!). sounds like a super weekend to me! and what a way to get it started!

helloooo, spring! 

enjoy your friday, peace-making peeps!

tapping into our inner atticus finch.

i’m sure i’ve mentioned it before sometime… (here.) my favorite book of all time. to kill a mockingbird by harper lee. well, as i was catching up on some news this morning, i ran across a blog post relating the book’s main character, atticus finch, to the votes on equality & inclusion facing the methodists at the conference in florida these next few days. it is an amazing post. short, simple, to the point. and since it discusses issues that are near & dear to my heart in light of the main character of my favorite book, i just had to post it here to share with all of you.

i most definitely could not have said it any better, so here’s the post below: (or click here to go to the website).

The African Americans (we were called “Negroes” then) were in the balcony of the court room after the jury had found Tom Robinson guilty of raping a white woman. Rev. Sykes, the Negro preacher, had invited the children of Atticus Finch, the white lawyer, to be with them in the balcony because the court room was so crowded.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) sat in the court room after everyone else had gone out, but the Negroes remained in the balcony with his children, waiting for him to leave.

As Atticus Finch got up and walked to the doors of the courtroom, passing under the balcony, Rev. Sykes had everyone stand up (he had to coax the daughter of Atticus Finch to stand up). They stood because this was their way of honoring a white man whose conviction and conscience about rightness and fairness were so strong that he dared go against a history and a culture of prejudice and bigotry that in so many ways said that Negroes were unworthy of respect, equality, and justice.

As I saw that scene, I thought of another white man of long ago. His name was Gilbert Haven, a New England Methodist preacher who became a Bishop. He was an outspoken ally and advocate of black people who felt that the bans against interracial marriage, from a faith and democratic perspective, were wrong.

My preacher father and my mother named me Gilbert Haven Caldwell, not because my father was named for him, but because they, like Rev. Sykes, believed that those who allow their conscience, rather than a culture of bigotry to guide their words and actions, were worthy of respect.

I wonder how many United Methodist delegates in Tampa, when matters related to same-gender loving persons come up for discussion and vote, will allow their inner Atticus Finch to come forth? Once, many persons used the Bible to support their bigotry against persons who were black. Today, there are those who ignore Jesus and the message of love in Scripture as they judge and condemn persons because of whom they love. But hearts are changing.

I believe some delegates who have been unable to be “Atticus Finch” before now will remember him in Tampa as they vote “yes,” to affirm the humanity, equality, and God-given gifts of all those who are called to serve God, regardless of whom they love or how they express their gender.

How could they do anything else in light of Jesus command to Love Your Neighbor?

~ Gilbert Haven Caldwell, Jr.. A Retired United Methodist Minister

i am holding onto hope that everyone’s “inner atticus finch” will guide their thoughts and actions in florida during the next week. actually, in all areas of life, we all could learn to let our “inner atticus finch” lead us.

wishing you all peace & love for your neighbor.