day 5. wild.

into the wild

image from pinterest.

so far, i haven’t been posting my daily photos for april’s belovelive photo a day journey. i plan on doing a weekly sum up about it. but, today i just couldn’t resist after i figured out how i was going to interpret today’s word:


i usually interpret the day’s word based on how i feel that day, or on something that happens. but, today i have been seeing, feeling, and experiencing “wild” in many different ways, so i couldn’t focus. it’s been crazy wild, in a tough way, today. like “i’m feeling all over the place and have no control” wild. today i also i yearn for the wildness of nature, for mountains and trails and road trips. and i feel wild & crazy inside, in a good kinda way. like “be exactly who you are and dance on the tables” wild. finally, i am feeling a sort of “i am so busy i can’t focus” wild. it’s wild how wild i am today.

then, by some force of divine inspiration, i remembered a song that i love. and it all made sense. i knew my focus and my interpretation for the day.

i’ve posted a video of the song in a previous post, and wrote then about how much i dig the singer/songwriter (lp) responsible for this inspirational, meaningful track. and when, i remembered her today, i knew that this was a great reminder of what the word “wild” really means to me.

it’s not a negative word, though sometimes it’s used that way. today it has been tempting for me to focus on wild in a negative way. like out of control. but, if i’m honest, for me, it’s really a word about carefree, reckless abandon. of wind whipping through your hair, howling at the moon, standing of the top of a mountain, dancing around your apartment, laughing till your belly hurts, sun on your face, twirling and jumping, freedom on the open road. oh how i long for that wild right now.

today, though, when i listened to the song again, i felt it. there was a twinge of wildness within me. it’s there. it always has been. and always will be. and i felt a sense of wild peace.

so, for now, as i head down the stairs and outside to the basement to gather my laundry, which is finally done, i’ll stop for a moment in the backyard and sit in a chair in the sun. i’ll tilt my head back, close my eyes, plug in my headphones, and let the music sweep me away while the sun warms my face and my bare arms. i’ll let my soul open up; and in an instant, i’ll feel the wild, carefree nature that is my soul. i’ll remember that the gate is wide open… and anything is possible.

come on, join me and listen to lp belt out her lyrics about living life. and let’s leave that gate behind.

(click here if you don’t have spotify and/or want to watch the video).

[spotify id=”spotify:track:15TiBxzXUKvlUCyrQ7RQHU” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

Are we on the lonely side
Say oh now the past long away
Are we so lost in the dark of our hearts
That oh-oh-oh-oh there’s no light of day, no-oh-oh

One, two, three, four

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us, a runaway train, gone insane
How do we, how do we not fade?
How do we, how do we, how do we not fade away?
How do we, how do we all fall
Into the wild
How are we livin’, livin’, livin’
Into the wild
How are we livin’, livin’, livin’
Whoa-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh, hey-hey-hey, hey-hey-hey-hey

Oh please believe me I’m more scared than not
That oh-oh-oh-oh this isn’t the way
And please be there, I can barely hang on
But whoa-oh-oh I’ll wait ‘til I break, yeah-hey-hey-hey

Somebody left the gate open
You know we got lost on the way
Come save us, a runaway train, gone insane
How do we, how do we not fade?
How do we, how do we, how do we not fade away?
How do we, how do we all fall
Into the wild
How are we livin’, livin’, livin’
Into the wild
How are we livin’, livin’, livin’
Whoa-oh-oh, whoa-oh-oh-oh, hey-hey-hey, hey-hey-hey-hey

it’s wide open, the world and all her possibilities.

where do you wanna go?

peace & dreams, my loves.

winding down.


it’s late sunday night. well, not so late. but late enough. or perhaps i’m just tired. i’m feeling mellow. chill. good.

it’s been a fairly busy weekend, what with being at work every day. but, it’s all been good. or perhaps i’m just in a good mood. i don’t exactly know what i am right now. my head hurts terribly, i can barely keep by eyes open as i tap my finger on my phone’s keypad. it probably doesn’t help that I’m already laying down. still, back to what i was saying… i feel drained, exhausted. but good. peaceful.

besides the work of the weekend, my love & i managed to knock off almost all of our christmas shopping, watched a movie at the theater, and decorated our apartment. go us. the holidays have arrived here! it is so cozy, warm, & beautiful, if i do say so myself. it feels great. we tapped off our night with a swedish christmas tradition… drinking glögg. mmm…

the upcoming week looks to be busy too, but that’s the nature of the season, huh? of course, a lot of busy-ness is amazing & fun stuff… like going to the theater and having our thanksgiving dinner with friends. i’m also determined to get some more writing of my story done & posted on here. and, of course, every day brings us one more closer to my love & i to our trip to the states. only 3 weeks now!

i hope y’all had a great weekend, holiday or not. i wish you a night of peaceful rest & a new week filled with new opportunities to follow your dreams. enjoy the season!

peace & love.

wakey wakey.


why is it that yesterday, when i had nothing i had to do until lunch time, i woke up at 4:30 and struggled to fall asleep again; and today, i woke to my 6:30 alarm (because i am leaving at 8:00 for a meeting) and felt as if i could sleep for at least 4 more hours? why is it like that? is there some law of nature i don’t know about?

oh well. no time to ponder these things… the sun is shining, my pot of coffee is ready, i need 5 minutes of yoga/breathing, and then there’s lots to do! gotta run!

have a fabulous tuesday! peace.

i’m busy. hoping to get rich.

my entire bedroom has an orange-pink glow to it as the sun sets. it’s warm & calming. i’m under the covers, computer’s on my lap, and the cat is trying to figure out where she is gonna settle down – or if she’s gonna settle down. i tackled and accomplished most of my to-do list today, and i’m feeling pretty good about that; but i have another one waiting for me tomorrow. filled with new & exciting things…

yes! i’ve got a few meetings filling up my morning. one of which is to plan a theme and activities/classes/moments of reflection & discussion for the camp that i am working next week. it’ll be good to get some things decided, then i can really focus on specific details = what i’m gonna talk about with the youth/how i am gonna plan some mentoring/opportunities for spiritual moments during the camp.

then, my 3rd meeting of the day is with a woman from somewhere in the middle east (i can’t remember where). she moved here during the past year with her husband and has been studying swedish. i met her in the fall and she was working really hard, but could not talk in swedish. i saw her last week and wow, what a difference! she has really picked up a lot of swedish. impressive. but, the really impressive thing is that during the summer, while she has a break from swedish classes, she is studying english. but, she’s really unsure of her english and wants to be better, understanding that it is important for her to know english since it’s spoken all around the world. well, we were chatting with each other and i offered to meet her once a week to just talk in english with her and help her with her english assignments, if she wants. so, tomorrow, we have our first little tutoring session at the cafe in the church where i work. i’m really excited! i can easily help people with english, and i’ve offered it to other teenagers or adults before, but this is the first time it’s actually happening. why not help with what i can?! can’t wait to meet her tomorrow!

on a related note, this morning i got my little email from the universe & it said this:

It’s not how much one gets paid, Liz, but how much they give, that makes them rich. Bling, bling ~ The Universe

wow. how true that is. and how rich i feel when i am able to know & use who i am to try to make a difference somewhere. when i know who i am, follow the beat of my heart, and listen to my soul, then opportunities just come. and ironically, the more that i am true to myself, the more life becomes about how i can be used. you’d think that it’s selfish to listen to your soul, to follow your own dreams. but, instead, it is freeing. whenever i find that i focus inward, seeking peace for myself, i find that i am thrust out into the world even more – and perhaps can be used to create peace. the reason for that is, i believe, because of our connection as humans. the more i am in touch with my true self, my inner self, the divine spark within… the more i am in touch with others. the spark is the same in us all. in other words, love and peace is what we all seek. and i do not have true love and peace unless my neighbor does too.

two weeks ago i had a weekend camp retreat for my youth. one of the things that i didn’t mention in my previous posts was a connection i made with two older teenagers from the middle east. the two teenagers live in a group home because they are refugees from their home countries. they’re here in sweden on their own. refugee children. without their families.

well, a man who works with them contacted the church where i work to ask if there was any work that we could do together… if there was anything that we had to offer these teens. the other minister i work with suggested this camp. so, after a meeting and some email contact, 2 of the teens who live at this home came to the camp. they were amazing and fantastic, and i was so impressed. they were in a completely new setting, surrounded by swedish youth & adults (and me!) they had never met before, experiencing things they had never experienced before. and yet, they were kind, friendly, outgoing, and simply wonderful to have during the weekend. i felt so blessed and thankful that everything worked out – at least that’s what i thought.

then i got an email from the man who works at the group home. he attached a letter that one of the teens had written (in really good swedish!) about the weekend. as i read this 17 year old’s words, tears streamed down my face. he wrote that he felt welcomed, appreciated, needed, and he had a great time. he commented on what we did, how he felt, and that he sees these youth now as his sisters & brothers.

folks, this is how world peace is created. by simply being together. these 2 teens are muslim & from the middle east. we were all westerners, coming from a christian perspective. but none of that mattered at all because we all accepted each other as we were. that was how determined we would be. and all the teens followed right along. brothers & sisters. all accepted. all respected. i am overwhelmed and humbled that we had a chance to meet these incredible, strong teenagers. you’d better believe we are already planning how we can continue to work together & support each other, because they have plenty to offer us. it’s not just about us giving them help. i can’t even begin to explain the love & joy they gave us.

these are the moments in life when i remember why i am here. and by here, i mean alive. on this earth. i remember that my quest for peace is real and important. and that hope does exist. just get 16 amazing teenagers together from different places in the world and watch them love each other. there is a ton of hope for this world. and i am so very amazed that my work (whether it’s writing or the work i am paid for) allows me to focus on finding ways to work with others in order to help this world be the place it was always meant to be.

with all my heart and soul, i wish you a day, a week, a year, a lifetime full of moments of peace and love.

the music of the universe.

quote of the day:

“the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” ~ Rachel Carson

there is so much noise around us all the time. iPod music (which i love), the tv, traffic, machines. so much noise. not to mention the noise that is inside our heads… the never-ending thoughts of wonder or fear or worry. it’s so easy to get stuck in all the noise around us & to drown out the true noise. silence. but silence scares us because we are left only with our thoughts, unless we can quell those as well. (which is why i love meditation – something to help me learn to be truly silent). all of these outside & inside noises & sounds that cause us stress, worry, anxiety, and a sense of hurriedness leave us unable to focus on the beauty & wonder that is all around us. the drown out our souls.

but, today is a day to try to shut off some of the extra noise & just listen to the universe.

this morning, i woke up, made my pot of coffee, got my computer & began checking on all the normal things i check on in the mornings – you know, catching up. i didn’t turn on any music (my love is still sleeping) and pretty soon, i realized that even though it is silent in my apartment, it isn’t silent at all. the birds are chirping & singing like crazy. (and of course, zola – the cat – is super busy watching all that’s happening with the birdies). by hearing the birds, i remembered that if i turn off all of the extra sounds that i can, then i hear the world. i hear the songs of nature, the music of life in a city. listening to the sound of life is inspiring – whether i am in the middle of the woods, by the ocean, or in a busy city. too often, though, i am wrapped up in my music plugged into my ears, or looking down at my phone while i walk instead of picking my head up, looking around, and listening to the sounds of birds, or water, or people chatting, or church bells ringing, or dogs barking, or children laughing…

today, in sweden, is called dymmelonsdagen. it is the wednesday before easter. there is not that much that happens in swedish society today that is different, but the tradition is to replace all of the metal clappers in church bells (the round, hard thing that bangs against the bell) with ones that are called dymbils – which make a duller, more muted sound. so, today, church bells ring, but you can’t hear them. it’s part of a preparation for the next 4 days, which are holy days in christianity. it’s a chance for a little bit of silence.

silence is preparation, i believe. how many times have you taken a moment to take a deep breath before doing something important or scary? silence allows us a moment (or a day) to prepare ourselves, our hearts, minds, souls to be ready for what comes next. we slow down just enough to begin to listen to the world around us and our soul inside of us.

today i will be super busy – as i am every wednesday. but, in the middle of the busy-ness, i pledge to listen to the world around me – to listen better to the sounds of nature which are even in the city, to listen deeply with ones who talk with me, to listen to my heart. in the middle of my busy day, i am headed to my yoga class… a perfect opportunity to spend and hour and a half just listening.

if you get a chance, turn things off. listen to the silence – and then hear the music of the universe. perhaps in doing so, we will all hear more clearly who we are, who we are called to be, and how we can be true to ourselves & each other.

wishing you calmness & peace in the midst on this wednesday.

life in the fast lane.

oh my gosh. where do i begin? life is crazy right now. really good, but crazy. working 1 job 50% and having an internship 50% is about to rip me in two. don’t get me wrong, i absolutely loooove both my job & my internship, and i do not want to give either of them up, but my little brain finds it difficult to focus on both of them at the same time. the thing is, i feel like i’m bouncing back & forth all the time. some days i am even working at both places, which does not make it any easier. i am discovering that i am not so good at juggling, and i long to have only one job to focus on so i can give 100% of my best to that one thing.

on the other hand, nothing is ever boring for sure. and, as i said, i love working with the youth in both places…

which leads me to the possibilities that are lingering out there in front of me. at my work at the church, i found out that i may, i just may, be able to work there through the end of the year. right now i have the job until the end of june, but there is a remote possibility that i will be asked to work all the way through 2012. fingers crossed ‘cuz it rally feels like i’m beginning to get into a groove there! and it feels so unbelievably amazing to be working as a minister/pastor again. and then on the internship front… my internship at the youth organization is over in the end of april. but, i’m not planning on leaving. somehow i’ll find a way to stay connected. right now, the idea is that we (they) write  proposal (like a grant) to hire me for a certain amount of time as a project leader. and the project, you wonder? well, it is to work with 4-5 unemployed youth/young adults to create (illustrate & write) a book about youth in sweden – what they do, what they want, how life is. the plan is for me to gather these youth together, do some introductory lessons on social skills, help them plan trips & the book, and then travel to different cities, take pictures, and interview youth who live there. photography, teaching, traveling, writing, and youth. could anything be more perfect?!

so, there are amazing things on the horizon for me which i am really excited about. i have no idea what will come of anything, but that’s ok. for now, i am just trying to live from crazy day to crazy day. and enjoy all the little moments in between…

 like waking up to see this beautiful snow outside my kitchen window.

 like spending some quiet moments alone in the mornings.

like walking to work in the cold, crisp air. loving the snow crunching beneath my feet.

like writing some theological articles for my work. and struggling to write it all in swedish. hehe.

like walking in the dark back & forth, all over the place. yes. i walk. a. lot.

 like enjoying meetings, talking with people, chatting with teenagers – who all seem to need a little extra support these days, and always learning about different cultures (not just the swedish culture either).

like drinking wine & settling into the weekend.

that’s right. it’s thursday night & i’m looking at 2 full days ahead of me without work! WOO HOO!! my weekend starts tonight and i am turning my brain off, shutting down my responsibilities, and planning on enjoying time with my wife. though, i’m not gonna be sitting still. tomorrow we’re headed out of town to visit some friends & attend a meeting (but a good & interesting one!) on saturday. feels like it’s gonna be a fun friday evening, so i’m really looking forward to it. plus, nothing beats a cozy, little out-of-town bus  trip. geez i love to travel. any & everywhere! in any case, even in the midst of all the craziness & never-ending list of things to do, i am determined to find & carve out time to feed my soul. to just be. and to enjoy life with my love. and right now, that is what i intend to do for the next 48 hours.

wishing you a great start to your weekend!

peace & love.

now more than ever.

i’m freaking out. and i guess it’s time. perhaps i deserve it. i mean, i’ve had all this time off. you know, the two weeks i spent in the states enjoying life. i guess i need to face reality and stop bitching. ok. i’m not really bitching, i’m just freaking out.

but, when did this happen? when did i go from having all the time in the world to having no time at all?

  • year one in sweden: too much time on my hands & no motivation to use that time to write. i couldn’t. i felt paralyzed in one way, as i tried to find my place here.
  • year two in sweden: work, internship, life moving at warp speed, and all the motivation to write but no time to do it.

oh, the irony. it’s just crazy. hey, isn’t there a balance somewhere? does it really have to be so extreme, or at least feel so extreme? why does it seem to be all or nothing?

well, it’s more good than bad with all of the craziness in life… it just makes my head feel like it might explode, and i find myself dreaming of (obsessing about) spending an entire day in my pjs – which ain’t gonna happen any time soon. nevertheless, it’s really good (reaaaally good!) to have found my place here, to feel like i belong, to build my own life (with my love) here; and today at work was really good. really productive. really fun. i was listening to some swedish (which of course i do all the time because, well, that’s life), and i realized that it was me talking. i was goin’ to town speaking swedish, not necessarily like everyone else, but it was flowing easily out of my mouth. feeling natural in some way. oh yeah. felt awesome. again, i say, it’s really good to be building my life here.

when i got home after the super, super cold 8 block walk & a trip to the grocery store for milk , i was ready to put on my cozy pants, pull on my favorite t-shirt, slip on my slippers, wrap up in my blanket, and spend the rest of the day with my love. i did exactly that & it has been great. we’ve been chatting some about some trips (YAY!!!) that we are planning… paris in the spring (hello. i’m dying here!) and a possible early summer trip with our friend to gotland, an amazing swedish island. old, cozy, beautiful, natural, fairy-tale-like, i hear. in looking at our calendars, it came to my attention that every weekend, and i mean every weekend is booked from now until may.

and that made me freak out. lina too, i think.

 me not freaking out.

how am i gonna make it? i need & crave down time. i’m a recluse with a hermit’s heart. i mean, i enjoy spending time with people, hanging out with friends, and doing all the awesome stuff we have planned, but i also really enjoy (need) time to just be. when is that going to happen? and then i remembered… my 30 minutes of quiet every day – used to read, meditate, write, take pictures, walk, be. no phone. no computer. no internet. just me, a cup of coffee (if the activity allows it), a book/journal, a camera (depending on the day), and some music (if i want it). the only way i will survive this crazy, fun, over-the-top-busy spring is if i prioritize my “me time”. it is so necessary.

now more than ever.

here’s wishing you an amazing week. and some time to chill squeezed in somewhere, somehow. just do it. i’m gonna.

peace & quiet.

no time. at all.

seriously. i have no time right now. every minute seems to be taken up with something. most of it is work-related. but, every free minute is busy too, it seems. though i must admit that all of the busy time during my free time is fun stuff. still, i feel as if i am running around like crazy. as soon as i get home at night, bedtime comes quickly,  and then it’s time to get up and start everything all over again. and i desperately want to write. i seriously want to just chill. but, right now, my focus is on other things. you know, i have learned to take things as they come in life and to try to live in the present moment (not always an easy task). yes, right now, life is busy. and perhaps that is exactly how it should be. it may be difficult, but the time will come again when there is not so much going on. what i need to do now, in the midst of all the craziness, is to embrace all that craziness and get everything i can out of every moment. so, instead of complaining, i’m enjoying whatever is going on around me…

besides, my love and i am going to greece in one month, so that means that i will have vacation activities on a beautiful island for one whole, relaxing week! lucky, lucky me! and with that trip sitting right in front of me, i can make it through this next out-of-control month!

peace and calmness in the midst of your week.