week 2: belovelive photo a day!

passed some cool lights on my way home.
week 2 bllphotoaday
some of week 2’s photos… lights: @julia_gulia21, celebration: liersees, celebration: macdubh, candles: sarcasticash

ok. i know it’s a crazy time of year. all of us are super busy & overwhelmed with things that must be done. but don’t let that pressure of the season sneak into your belovelive photo a day participation. that’s the exact opposite of what this photo challenge is supposed to be about. get my drift? i mean, i know some days it may feel like it’s just one more thing that you’ve got to do. or you feel that pressure to find the perfect picture – a balanced blend of artsy-ness and personal expression. but, let that go. just let that pressure go.

when you wake up in the morning, look at the word. let it sit with you for a while. if you know of something that you are going to do that day that will be perfect for the word, then, by all means plan away. if you have no idea, then just let the word simmer inside you during the day. and just take pictures anyway. of whatever. something will appear. something will come to mind. let the word inspire you.

celebration was a tough word this week. but, the great thing about these photo challenges is that it forces me to be creative and to find ordinary things inspiring. on a regular friday, what the heck was i going to find to celebrate. i had no birthday, to party, no nothing special going on. but, that’s when i thought again… perhaps, the word “celebrate” could teach me to soak up the simple pleasures in life, to celebrate something ordinary, to make a regular old friday moment something special.

anyway, all i’m saying is to let the photo challenge slow you down a little bit.let it inspire you, not stress you. and if you miss a day, so what? if you get behind, who cares? it’s not a competition. it’s just something for you to express yourself however you want. there is no right, wrong, or on time. snap away as you please.

but, don’t give up.

push on through. if it’s the first time you’ve done a photo challenge, then just keep at it. it gets easier, i promise. and pretty soon you begin to see art everywhere. it’s amazing how your eyes begin to take in all that is around in & how you begin to see in a completely different way.

we’re halfway through december now, and i hope you’ve found some joy in taking part. keep sharing! keep expressing yourself! keep being the artist that you are. i loooove seeing your photos. and again, i am so humbled an excited by those of you who are taking part. and if you are just reading this for the first time, click here to get started. anyone can join in, any time!

here come my pictures from this past week:

day 9: love

love
there is so much i love about this picture.

day 10: candles

candles in honor of hanukkah.
candles in honor of hanukkah.

 

the fight for equality continues. lgbt rights in the daily news.
the fight for equality continues. lgbt rights in the daily news.

day 12: lights

passed some cool lights on my way home.
passed some cool lights on my way home.

day 13: ordinary

not an ordinary fika on this day. it was st. lucia day in sweden!
not an ordinary fika on this day. it was st. lucia day in sweden!

day 14: celebration

my love & i went to a friend's house friday night & celebrated our last glögg drinks of the season (we're going to the states in 2 days!).
my love & i went to a friend’s house friday night & celebrated our last glögg drinks of the season (we’re going to the states in 2 days!).

day 15: gifts

the christmas gifts are all packed & ready to fly. now, i just gotta pack my clothes. hehe.
the christmas gifts are all packed & ready to fly. now, i just gotta pack my clothes. hehe.

one of the things i have been trying to focus on/keep in mind this week in my photos is the fact that the world that we live in is broken. it is hurting. ordinary things & the daily news remind of us that fact almost constantly. but, the season of advent offers us something different. in a very real way, this time before christmas is a time to look honestly at the broken world around us. to admit to ourselves that everything is not shiny tinsel and happy holidays and twinkling lights. families sitting ’round the fireplace are not always warm & cozy. for many, there is no family. no fireplace. no cozy feeling of warmth & peace. no traditions. only coldness, fear, violence, hopelessness.

and the message that advent has to share with us, is not so warm & cozy all the time either. that crazy wild man, john the baptist, went around speaking about all the suffering and pain that exist in the world, and pointing out that we are the ones that cause it all. as much as we don’t want to admit it, it is our egocentrism, selfishness, and desire to be great that cause us to choose power over love, war over peace.

i think that this is a message we still need to hear today. yes, there are beautiful lights & candles & celebrations that we can enjoy every day. but, how can we forget the pain & brokenness, and the part we play in keeping the cycle going? how can we really enjoy all the beauty, laughter, love & material possessions we have, when our brothers & sisters are mourning, freezing, hungry, & scared?

we are good people. we want justice, do we really live a life of justice? when we see someone who needs our help, do we offer? or do we turn our heads & keep walking, offering a prayer or a good thought, but not engaging in any kind of relationship?

who we are, how we spread peace & love, is not so much about following the rules. and just doing our duties to do the right thing. it’s about giving our hearts. it’s about looking at the world & seeing it as it really is, with all it’s suffering & violence & evil, and yet somehow holding on to the belief of hope, reconciliation, and peace. but, it’s not just believing it either… it’s living it out in our lives.

advent gives us a chance to slow down, see what’s really happening, notice our place in the world, enjoy the moments in our life, and work to make others’ lives a little bit brighter. advent is the season where we admit that everything is not ok. but choosing to live with joy anyway. and sharing that joy that we have found with everyone that we meet.

ok, friends. that’s my little reflection at the end of this week’s photo challenge. here’s to wishing you a beautiful saturday evening & a reminder to keep those cameras clicking! can’t wait to see what y’all have to offer & share next week! (we’re getting closer to christmas!!)

peace & love.

happening now.

monday morning

snowstorm + coffee +christmas music + reading + writing +candles

sending out a cozy, wintry, monday morning greeting from snowy sweden to all of you, all over the world.

peace.

love is in the air.

advent2

advent2

it’s the second sunday of advent. the sunday of love. the first week of advent has flown by & i have been pretty faithful to finding some quiet time by myself every day. go me. it makes my day so much more meaningful. it balances me out. it helps me to appreciate the little things in life. for the first time in quite a few years, i feel as if i am soaking up this advent season. actually, i don’t know if i’ve ever felt so present in the moment as i do this advent. and for that, i am so thankful. i suppose i am in an amazing place in my life.

i’ve been thinking about my marriage the past week. and today. as one of the things that i love so much. obviously, it is a bi-national marriage that lina & i have, and one of the things that i love about being in a bi-national marriage is the fact that we have two cultures with two sets of traditions. some of them are the same, but some of them are quite different. advent/christmas is one of those times that is quite different. we do out best to blend our traditions together, so we get a combo of a swedish & american christmas, and that has been so amazing in the past years. i mean, how much more fun could that be?! two ways to celebrate christmas at once!

still, we find ourselves in one country or the other during each season/holiday, and while we do the best we can to fill in the gaps of the other country’s traditions, it’s just not the same. there is always a little something missing. however, this year is different…

this year, we are getting to experience much of the traditions of both countries in their respective countries. we are soaking in all of the cozy, amazing advent traditions in sweden. and then, we finish off the season with the craziness of the states. it is totally wonderful to be able to spend part of the season in both countries!

so, we’ve got one more week of swedish amazingness during advent, and we’re gonna do it up right this coming week. then, it’s off to the states.

today, since my theme is love, i thought i’d share a few more things from the past week that i have loved to see, do, taste, hear, feel, or be. part of the swedish way of life in december.

morning lucia pepparkakor favetrees linasinging church

star

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

peace & light to you all on this sunday evening.