my bro, my kindred spirit. happy birthday to you!

brother fishing

today is my little brother’s birthday! and to celebrate i want to tell you just a little bit about him. i can never do him justice by writing about him, actually. you really need to meet this man. still i’m gonna do what i can.

my bro is 4 years younger than me + about 40 years more wise than me in many ways. his mind, his heart, his determination, his energy, his commitment, his soul… everything about him makes me so proud to call him my brother, and my friend.

about two years ago lina (my wife)  and i moved to asheville, north carolina (my home state) from sweden, where we had lived for 3 years. in that time, i had missed my family terribly. in one way my brother and i have been close, and in one way, we hadn’t. but, this move to asheville changed everything about our relationship.

brother me 40th birthday 2

we spent at least 3-4 evenings or days together every single week for about a year and a half. drinking beer, eating out, just being together. he was going through a terrible, tough time. i was living the high life, loving all of the asheville vibes, and kind of all over the place. and, while we had different things going on in our lives, we met each other exactly where we were. we needed each other. i listened to him. i leant him my big sister ear. and he encouraged me to truly, truly live life. to be authentic. to follow my heart. and to get off my ass and make shit happen. we were each other’s support. (of course i include my amazing wife in all of this too because she was a part of supporting and caring for both of us).

my brother is wise, as i eluded to before. so wise that he thinks and lives on his own terms, which is not at all to say that he is selfish. he lives on his own terms, trying to find a way to speak and live the truth in every thing he does. one night at dinner i called him a prophet. i ‘m not sure he liked that, but i secretly still think it’s true. the definition of a prophet is someone who speaks a message of truth to a community, a society, a group of people. and pretty much every prophet is rejected and misunderstood. that folks, is my brother.

brother moving

however, none of us are perfect. far from it. and my brother, prophet or not, is not excluded from this. but, he is the perfect brother for me. coming from the same home, having the same + yet completely different childhood/teenage/adult experiences, we always seem to meet up in the same place. inside i believe that our souls are the same. we may live life a little bit differently from each other at times, but our love, our spirits connect always.

of course, not everything is always so serious and deep with us (i mean, a lot of times it is). but, we also channel some fun, crazy silliness that runs in our family. i will always cherish those late nights of eating burgers + drinking beer with my love and my bro in our favorite asheville spots. we laughed, we giggled, we pondered life, we questioned humanity. yes, these were special, special times.

brother me 39th birthday

brother monk

brothers lina mebrother me coffeebrother me truck

times that i miss so very much. after a year and a half of spending so much time with my brother, there is an emptiness that lina and i both feel now that we are back in sweden, and since he has left asheville too.  it’s not the same. it never will be. it was a very, very special year and a half.

brother me camping

fortunately…. he is planning to come and visit us in about two weeks!!! this big sister is more excited than you could ever understand!

me-and-nick-brother

so, little brother, the celebration of your birthday will continue once you are here. but, for today, on the day that your were born some thirty-seven years ago, and little 3 and a half year old me held you in my arms on the sofa, i send you a virtual hug across the ocean, knowing that i get to hug your neck very, very soon!

no matter what, we always have each other. we got each other.  blood and love hold us together.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NICK! I LOVE YOU!

a little song that i dedicate to my brother today.  a perfect example of the give + take that i share with my brother. click {here} to listen to the song on spotify. (song + lyrics by first aid kit).

Brother, you are my guiding star
Forever, you roam, I won’t be far
I have so many things to learn from you
I was so lost until you came through
And led me through the dark

Brother, come close don’t stray away
For I know
You’ll turn and run from us some day
Like you must
We all do
I’ve been there too
If it all gets too real
I know how you feel
And I’ll be your guiding light

Världen är så stor min bror (The world is big, my brother)
Den är så skrämmande stor (It is so frighteningly big)
När det blir för tungt, min bror (When things ge too tough, my brother)
Lägger du tyngden på mig då? (Will you lay your heavy burdens on me then)

Brother, I haven’t always been near
There’s so much I’ve been through the last couple of years
You did grow
Leaps and bounds
With or without me
Here I am
Understand it’s where I want to be
I’ll follow you
My guiding star

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| week twenty one |

i miss doing a weekly photo update. sharing the random little snippets of my life that i capture on my phone. so, i think i’m going to begin that again. then, the rest of the week i can focus on other kinds of posts: beer, travel, tips, spirituality… those things that are the passions of my life.

but, one of the things that i am most passionate about is learning to live in the present moment, or living a mindful life. all of my other passions, come from my desire for peace, to live an authentic life, in the moment, grateful for all that i have and all that i am.

but some of my passions lend themselves to sounds like amazing, crazy adventures. and, sure,  i love amazing, crazy adventures as much as the next person, but the heart of life is found in our every day moments.

so i don’t want to highlight only all of the unusual, special, amazing moments and adventures that i have on this blog. no, i want to share my love for the everyday as well.

when we learn to live every single ordinary day as something extraordinary, knowing that the adventures are found in those mundane, ordinary moments, then we begin to live a life full of gratitude. and we find that we want for nothing, that we already have so much. that life is beautiful, even in the midst of the struggles and chaos and stress. when we tune into those moments that make us smile, if even for a second, then our whole attitude changes. and life becomes one big adventure. every single second of it. a sense of peace falls over us and we stand grounded, like a tree, rooted to the earth, letting the winds and storms and rain blow by. soaking up the sun when it shines.

so, this weekly photo journal is my way of sharing with you those regular moments that have passed by in my life. hopefully you will get a little peek into my expat life in sweden, or find inspiration, or simply enjoy the photos. but, more than a photo journal for you, this is for me. to remind me that my life is amazing. to give thanks for every little thing. not to ignore the not so great things, but to claim the beauty that is life, even in the midst of all of the suffering and confusion and stress and uncertainty.

besides, i/we have but this one life to live. so, why not live it to the absolute fullest, enjoying it?!

happy-camper-mug

my love’s birthday was this past week
birthday-breakfast-lina lina-birthday-morning tapas-lina-birthday me-coffee- cafe-linne-uppsala-coffee

i cycled outside of uppsala + discovered some beautiful placesbiking-sweden- biking-sweden-country

we spent the weekend in stockholm: shopping for my brother-in-law’s wedding, drinking local beer, celebrating europe’s eurovision song contest victory (sweden won!) with some friends, and enjoying the super spring weatherstarbucks-stockholm-shopping shopping-street-stockholm omnipollo-soder-stockholm-microbrewery microbrewery-taps-beer-omnipollo omnipollo-beer me-beer-sodermalm-stockholm omnipollo-taps-sodermalm tacos-friends sweden-eurovision lina-me-melodifestivalen-eurovision late-night-stockholm-sky sodermalm-stockholm- stockholm-spring old-town-stockholm-alley lina-me-ice-cream-stockholm stockholm train-home-uppsala-sweden

happy monday, dear friends + family! wishing you a week filled with exactly what you need.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

lina

five reasons she’s the best thing that ever happened to me

today is a special day in my little family. it’s my beloved wife’s 31st birthday!

in honor of her, i thought i’d share five of the ways that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me. here we go!

1. she’s a hero

i’ve never seen someone fight so much to live life to the fullest. she has taught me perseverance, dedication, commitment, and discipline. have i mastered all of those things yet? oh, hell, no. but, wow, how i have been influenced + inspired by her. and it’s not only me. i know, because i have heard, how many people look up to her and find strength in her strength.

2. she challenges me to care about myself

i can easily get swept up in always making sure that others’ ideas and opinions are represented, without sharing what my thoughts + ideas might be. this is actually a major issue of mine. not that i care so much about others, but that i don’t care so much about me. she reminds and pushes me that i have every right to have my voice heard and that i don’t have to please everyone else all of the time. i am worth it.

3. she makes people smile

ok. not just smile, but laugh. her humor is top notch. smart. witty. silly. it’s like this perfect combination of crazy weirdness and intelligent wit. whatever it is, she makes me laugh until my sides hurt. she puts a smile on my face and fill my soul with music.

4. she’s got talent

good lord, my wife can do almost anything. perhaps she can actually do everything. she’s handy in the home, organized, tidy, athletic, musical. she’s an artist, a book worm, a guy’s gal, a gal’s gal. she knows a lot about a lot. she loves to talk deep. she loves to chat about the weather. she can canoe a canoe, pitch a tent, ride a horse, hit a golf ball, dance like no one’s watching, cook + bake, create movies, sing, play the piano. i’m telling you… the list is endless. and, while all of her talents help me out, they also show me what it means to be a well-rounded person. and, once again, i am inspired to be better, to learn more, to try more.

5. she’s like me, but not. 

sharing life with my love is amazing. there is no other person that i’d rather spend my moments with, and every moment is infinitely better when she is nearby. we have the same values and enjoy the same things, and yet, we have our own very unique personalities as well. so we are alike, but not. she’s  a great balance for me. helping me to get my head out of the clouds sometimes and back down on earth. and, i’m just enough of an idealistic person for her. we’re two individuals, coming together to share the ups and downs and ins and outs of life. and it just works.

my-love-2015my days would be incomplete without her. my nights would be empty. and my life would be completely out of balance. in all of her unique, beautiful marvelous ways, she just fits. she is the one that i choose over + over again. and i am so very thankful that on this day, 31 years ago, her light came into the world. how blessed am i that i get to see and feel and absorb that light every single day?!

love and light and peace, to you, my everything. happy birthday! xoxo