flowers trees blue sky

40 | may 2015: the sky is smiling (a playlist!)


oh, may! it is the prettiest month of the year in sweden, i do believe. blue skies. sunshine. flowers. warm weather. it is the perfect month to be outside as much as possible. and that’s pretty easy to do, considering that the sun sets later and later. by the end of the month, it’ll still be light at 11pm.

it’s a month that makes me feel alive. and in love – even if june is usually the month reserved for lovers. for me, may has not always been an easy month, but i think that is what makes it all the more sweeter. my love was very, life-threateningly sick for 2 mays in the past. and, so, now, we celebrate life + love + health every may. all month long, we focus on living life to the fullest. being in love with each other. soaking up the simple moments. and enjoying the beauty of the earth during the late spring.

so, all of that was my inspiration for this month’s playlist. it’s a playlist made for lovers + gardens. sunshine + blue skies. it’s all about laughing + being together. taking it easy, dancing, rejoicing. and squeezing every ounce of beauty + happiness out of every single moment.

so, go ahead. click on the photo below and follow the link to the playlist on spotify.

go outside, twirl in the sunshine, smile, give away free hugs, hava a picnic, gaze at the clouds, and remember that life is precious. let’s make the most of every single minute. there’s no time to waste!


happy may!

onwards + upwards! xx

you can also click here to get the playlist! 


look up on this earth day

it’s earth day, lovelies. and i could do post after post about how much i love nature. this tree-hugging, water-loving nature girl, however, has decided to focus her earth day celebration on the beauty of the sky.

first thing every single morning and last thing every single night, i gaze out my window + up at the sky. i can’t help but do it. i look up to see the clouds, the sun, the stars. i look up to remind myself how tiny i am and how great this world is. i look up to think about all of those who are far away from me, and remember that we are all standing under the same sky. i look up and wonder what it’s like way up there past our sky. i dream of the stars, of floating on clouds, of flying free. i look up just to breathe.

so, in order to honor this life-giving, awe-inspiring piece of nature on earth day, i have gathered 5 quotes. quotes that i’ve never heard before, but that are so inspiring and beautiful. take a moment, read these words, and then look up.


“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.”
― Ishmael BeahA Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life

“I let my head fall back, and I gazed into the Eternal Blue Sky. It was morning. Some of the sky was yellow, some the softest blue. One small cloud scuttled along. Strange how everything below can be such death and chaos and pain while above the sky is peace, sweet blue gentleness. I heard a shaman say once, the Ancestors want our souls to be like the blue sky.”
― Shannon HaleBook of a Thousand Days

“The sky is not my limit…I am.”
― T.F. Hodge

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.”                                ― Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

wherever you are, my friends, take one little moment and look up. gaze. ponder. breathe. wonder. blink. dream. observe. slow down, just enough to take in all that you see up there. and give thanks for the beautiful earth that holds us and cradles us and gives us life.
isn’t it time that we give a little back? happy earth day, fellow flower children!

onwards + upwards! xoxo


blue skies + worshipping the sun

you know, spring in sweden is a little bit all over the place. rain, snow, and sometimes sunshine. – i am sure many of you experience the same where you live.  it’s not usually that warm, but when that beautiful sunshine shows her face, then her rays make even 5 degrees C/45 degrees F feel warm + nice. i’ve said this before, but the sun in sweden is something very special.

when the sun shines in the spring, it’s time to get outside and soak it up. the dark days are over, the cold has left us behind, the light has begun it’s return, the days are getting so much longer, and i (along with every other swede) become a sun worshipper. i literally stand and face the sun. i close my eyes… meditating, soaking in, breathing deeply, living in that very moment.

so, the other morning, after days and days of clouds, rain, and snow, when it was so beautiful, i decided to take a long walk for my meditation time. i explored the neighborhood behind ours, passing apartment buildings, houses, and cozy, little yards + gardens. the sun was warm, the breeze was cool, people were  out + about, and i simply gave thanks for the joy of walking and discovering and being.

i thought i’d share with you a little snippet of the amazing blue swedish skies that i have seen a little of this week. the blue skies make me feel so alive. i hope these photos do the same for you in a tiny, little way. enjoy!

sunshine-roof-window neighborhood easter-tree-square blue-skies square-tree-feathers sunshine-walk tree-buds

happy easter weekend, everyone. here in sweden, everyone has a little holiday from friday until monday. we are taking the train down to norrköping to visit lina’s family for a few days. but, we will be back home again on sunday, to enjoy the last little bit of the holiday here. so, it’s all about relaxing + enjoying for the next 4 days. wishing you a fabulous few days! and, if the sun shines wherever you are, turn your head up to her, close you eyes, and give a little thanks for the warmth + life that she brings. love + light to you all!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

my six senses instagram easter weekend.

i realize that it is already wednesday, but i’m still gonna share my weekend pictures now. i figure as long as it’s not the next weekend, then i’m still safe. just wanna let y’all know that my senses were on overload this past weekend/week. it was a combination good and tough times. and it was intense. lots of family. emotional. beautiful. difficult. and, as i said, intense. in good & bad ways. here’s some of what perked my senses.

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good fridaypinteresteaster lunch lunch toddlers sunnew life candles easter chickens tulipsbananas coffee


seeing: family gathered around the table for easter dinner. from the youngest to the oldest. so great. blue skies up above me. a bright full moon outside my litchen window.

hearing: our sweet little bella’s recorded voice entertaining our sweet little niece. nails being hammered into wood on good friday.

tasting: easter dinner. filled with meat traditionally, but vegetarians can make it work too.

touching: the wax dripping from the candles we lit on easter morning.

smelling: bouquets of tulips. fresh, crisp air on a long walk.

feeling: warm sunshine shining down on me. happy that early spring air has found its way to sweden. peace as i drank my morning cup of coffee on my first morning of spring break.

i made it through the week, and now i’m doing the best i can to just relax. spending some time at home. meeting friends for drinks. being with my love. although it’s my vacation week (or 2, who knows what i’ll do next week), it’s still a little tough in life right now. we didn’t make it to china, of course. but, i’m working really hard to focus on other things coming up… like moving. and there is still a sense that we need to focus on each day as it comes. survival mode, you might say. or enjoying the moment. it depends on whether you are a glass half empty or glass half full kinda person. me? i choose half-full. so, i’m determined to soak up my moments, breathe deeply, and remember all that is wonderful and that for which i am grateful.

by the way, speaking of senses, as i type this, my love is playing her guitar and singing. our cat is snuggling beside me. and the sunset outside is stunning. the pink horizon fading to dark blue overhead. life is not perfect, but sometimes for one split second, it feels perfect in that moment.

so, what has peaked your senses over the past few days? what thoughts have you got rolling around in your head?

peace, dear friends.

i choose to inhabit my days.


ok. truth time.

it’s monday. it’s cold. but the sun is shining. and i am weary. not tired or sleepy. but weary. mentally. march has barely started, and i’m feeling uneasy & anxious. i have some kind of ominous feeling about this month. it feels heavy. long. a bit frightening.

buds it’s true that i feel a little anxiety because i will be working full-time for the first time in almost 3 years starting tomorrow. but i will tackle each thing as it comes, and it’ll be fine. i know that. i’m not too worried about work. it’s the full-time work in combination with everything else in life. there’s a lot of other stuff on my mind too, regarding moving to the states, upcoming trips, my love, my family in the states. i feel quite stable in some ways, and yet disconnected from myself in other ways. but i am worried and concerned more about others than myself. and i wonder how everything will come together in the end… yeah. right now, i want to skip over march. i want to skip over the tough days and move directly into the light. just being honest, y’all.

waterfalli am fully aware that what i am experiencing is what we know as the valley parts of the journey. when i think about my journey photo challenge this month, it is a perfect symbol of exactly how i feel… like i’m traveling from darkness to light. like march is some kind of crazy tough transition month for me, chocked full of activities, work, and worries. and when i make it to the other side of march, something inside of me will be set free. but, for today, that feels like an eternity away.

industrialhowever, in the middle of all of my uncertainties, i must find a way to keep journeying. to keep moving foward day by day. because, let’s face it. it’s not possible to skip ahead. so, for me, i gotta make space for some quiet time to myself. time to turn inward. to listen. to just be & breathe. if i don’t do that, i won’t make it. i will not find myself balanced enough that i can take care of myself and be of any help to others. i also must remember to live life… to find those moments, places, people, things that stir my soul and remind me that this is all part of the journey. the dark and the light. and every day, every step contains a tiny sliver of light somewhere.

blue skiesso, “i choose to inhabit my days”(inspiration from Dawna Markova). to breathe through the tough, overwhelming moments and to laugh & dance through the joyful ones. to live in the here & now, even if it’s uncomfortable. besides, today is all i’ve got, right?

life is amazing

* all photos taken on sunday in norrköping. a reminder to me that spring will come. there is still hope.

wishing you peace and love today.

a magical swiss-irish wedding day. 3.1

ok. i have taken so many pictures that i must divide them up. i know that some of you are waiting for the wedding pics,but you’re just gonna have to wait one more day. hehe. however, the pics in this post are from the wedding day, so they still count. we had some time in the morning before we needed to get ready for the wedding, so what did we do? we took advantage of the grounds around kilshane house by taking a long, slow walk out in nature. the air was crisp, the sun was warm, and the morning itself was perfect & magical. take a look at what ireland had to offer us…

good morning & hello sunshine!

it’s a great day for a wedding & the shoes are ready for some dancing.

time for breakfast! here is the groom… he just received a lovely gift from his bride.

hmmm… i think it’s time for a walk out in this perfect weather.

the house in the distance. amazing.

the garden where the owners grow organic food, which we had the pleasure of eating. yum yum.

yes. i slept in this manor. this estate house. i still can’t believe it.

the conservatory. such a peaceful place.

the window to the room where we stayed is the top one on the left. loved it.

the morning was beautiful, but it is now time to get ready. we’ve got a wedding to attend!

almost ready!

as i said, the morning was perfect. relaxing & beautiful. i continually had a difficult time believing all that my eyes were seeing, all the i was experiencing. it was too much to take in, and yet, i was soaking in every single moment. and the most exciting thing was coming… the joy of witnessing & celebrating the wedding of two beautiful people, and the chance to share all these moments with my life, my everything… my wife.

so, the next post will reveal the magical, beautiful, amazing moments of the afternoon & evening. the activities, the people, and the fun. stay tuned & check back tomorrow. i promise you won’t regret it. and i truly hope you enjoyed the glimpse of the lovely irish countryside today.

if you ever have the chance to visit ireland, do it. you will not regret one second! and i promise that i will never, ever take for granted the opportunities i’ve had to share, learn, & experience this amazing place…

i’d round all of you up, pay for your plane tickets, and take you there myself if i could. we would have so much fun!

may sunshine & peace follow you everywhere you roam.

day 29: numbers.

i kept trying to think of something really creative for today’s photo challenge… numbers. but, nothing came to me. though, i did keep looking at this clock this afternoon and thinking about how time passes.

and then i thought this: if not now, then when?

yeah. when? if i don’t live life, suck everything out of it that i can, soak up every little moment, seek out adventure, change, craziness, embrace my inner carefree, free-spirited nature, and take risks & leaps of faith… then what happens? if i don’t do it now, today, then when? tomorrow is not promised. an opportunity may never come again. and i do not want to be 85 years old, sitting in my rocking chair, wondering “what if?”. nope. not me. time keeps passing. and it moves faster & faster it seems. if i wait too long, time will slip right by me. life is to be lived… today. right now. right here.

so, if not now, then when?

don’t waste another minute. follow your dreams. live life. find your passion & go for it! ok. enough blogging for today. time to be with my little family…

carpe diem! peace.

25: unusual.

listen to this song as you read the post. it’s a little unusual, but it’s just perfect. i’ve had it on repeat all day.

[spotify id=”spotify:track:69vRwesV32B8GU6bBJ63uT” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

the weather around has been unusually warm, which means that i completely missed spring fever & hopped right on over to summer madness. i’m telling you, it’s been w. a. r. m. dare i say hot. but, if i say hot, i say it in a non-complaining way because after months of cold & darkness there is no way this chick is gonna complain about some warm sunshine on her skin.

so, basically, i want to go on vacation. like now. it’s pretty much all i can think about. if i was in the states, then i would be having a mini-vacation this weekend. it’s memorial day… the unofficial official beginning of the summer season. a trip to the beach would have been in the cards. but, i’m gonna deal with the here & now. vacation comes in the middle of july. and again, i’m not complaining. i work part-time & have 3 weeks paid vacation in july/august. unheard of to this ex-pat from the country with no understanding of the importance of vacation. seriously, usa, 1 – 2 weeks per year? lucky i live here now where i have a total of 5 weeks paid vacation.

so, i’m not in the states, and i’m not heading to the beach this weekend, BUT the weather here is quite summer-like. ok, really summer-like! i broke out some summer staples from my wardrobe today, and that put a big ole smile on my face. luckily, i’ve also been able to enjoy some time outside almost every day with my love… just chilling on a blanket or taking a little walk.  love that quality time together. love soaking up the sun. love taking my shoes off and feeling the grass. love seeing the little creatures, like 3 squirrels that i am gonna say i’ve made friends with, as they scamper about taking care of business. love to see the trees all full of thick, bright green leaves. i just love it all. yeah, it’s been unusually beautiful here. and i’ve been enjoying seeing things come alive again.

so, this here post’s gonna be all about the sun, the blue skies (which are waaaay more beautiful than in north carolina. sorry, nc, but we don’t have the humidity here), and the warm temps, which have even caused a cozy little thunderstorm or 2.

walking through downtown today, i unintentionally found myself following behind 2 very interesting & unusual men. what’s their story, i wonder…

like i said. blue skies. green leaves. amazing. these are my 2 favorite colors. for real.

my most important summer item: my flip-flops. i live in them. and yes, they make me a total american. one of those laid back, hippie, tree-hugger-ish kind. i’m just not one of those high-fashion swedish chicks; and i embrace my free-spirited, non-fashionista, inner hippie. and hey, i’m in my late 30s. i know who i am and i don’t feel any pressure to be anything but me. yep.

 happy, sunny me!

hope you’ll have a gorgeous weekend, rain or shine, filled with those things that are most important to you. for me, it’s all about my love, my work, and a little time for myself. if i can balance all of that well, then i just might pull off a fabulous weekend.

wishing you sunshine, music to make you dance, and moments of peace.

day 20: something i can’t live without.

well, with today being my love’s birthday, and the fact that she is the most important thing in my life, this post is most definitely inspired by her and our celebration of her throughout the day. for her birthday, lina & i spent the afternoon outside in the archipelago. the east coast of sweden lies a short 30-40 minute drive from the city and it is truly a gorgeous & peaceful place. but, we don’t get out there that much. the thing is, we don’t have a car & the whole bus thing takes waaaay too much planning. so, today, lina’s parents picked us up & drove us to the coast so the 4 of us could celebrate a birthday fika in the beautiful weather today. perfect.

as i looked through my pictures from the day, i realized that there is another thing i can’t live without (though not as important as my wife, of course)… nature. especially trees & water. so, here are a few pics from the day. a day filled with the most important thing in my life… spending time with my love surrounded by water, trees, and a great, big, blue sky.

it was a beautiful day. and i’m a lucky, lucky girl.

peace, dear friends.

happy may day.

today is a holiday in sweden. yep. a random tuesday. well, not so random. it’s the first day of may. MAY DAY! and over here, that means a day off to celebrate the beginning of spring (after a night filled with bonfires and bbq’s). it means other things too, like protests, etc., but i’m not gonna go into that. for most people around here, it’s a day to relax and get into the spring/summer spirit. for me, it has been a very calm, lazy day off spent soaking up the gorgeous swedish weather. fiiiiiiiinally. we’ve had a few days in a row of spectacular blue skies & warm sunshine & it feels like spring is here to stay. i won’t mention the fact that there is snow & rain in the weather forecast for the weekend…

here are some pics from the valborg (coming of spring) celebration last night. we met at a camp/retreat site about 20 minutes outside of the city. oh yeah. out in the country. so, yes, i had a little nature fix, which means that i had a chance to breathe really deep. dirt, birds, trees, mud, bugs, leaves. perfect.


 bbq time!

 game time! ok. i admit it. i do not like games. i always feel so stupid. i love to watch games, though. we were divided into 2 big groups in order to fairly pick out 2 people at a time to go against each other in a challenge. i kept slinking back behind as many people as possible in my group, trying to hide and disappear. please, don’t call my name, i repeated to myself. alas, my name was called at one point. curses. all i was trying to do was take a picture, then i heard, “Liz! come and make an airplane with a piece of paper, and then throw it as far as you can.” no problem, right? easy. the only problem was i could not remember how i used to make paper airplanes. the silly, sad thing that i made flew out and then directly back to me. hehe. see what i mean. me. stupid. well, at least i gave some others a laugh. ok. i laughed too. it wasn’t that bad.

bonfire time. some of the kids got to light it. they were so excited.

tradition says that as the fire burns, someone gives a spring speech. so, here is a beloved member of the church sharing with us his thoughts on spring & the new life it brings to the world. we also sang traditional swedish spring songs. gotta love the traditions.

 nature. bbq. bonfire fire. songs. good people. =  great night. welcome, spring!

today lina & i opened up the windows, turned on some good music (reminds me. i wanna do a music post really soon!), and did some rearranging in our living room. nothing fancy. moved out some old art & put up some new. took down the curtains to give us even more light. and, voila! the room looks completely different. it’s amazing how just a few subtle changes can make a big difference. now every time lina & i walk through the living room, we make sure to the the other just how cool it looks in there now. if you ever get really bored, just move a few things around in your home. tips from me! hehe.

this afternoon we had a friend come by for fika, and then we couldn’t take it amy longer… it was time to get outside! so, we headed off to the park down the street, spread out a blanket, lay down, & chatted for an hour or so. the city was buzzing with people out & about. it was like a little bit of heaven.

so, it’s been a great day, and i believe i’ve caught spring fever. i don’t wanna do anything except be outside all the live long day.

hope you’ve had a great tuesday! peace.