the people of 2014

people-2014i shared so many beautiful moments with so many beautiful people in 2014. i couldn’t just let the turning of the new year slip by without recognizing the fact that it is the people in my life that make my life what it is. i would be nothing if i were all alone. and i am so very thankful for the people that surround me and make me giggle, and think, and teach me what life is all about.

however, by no means is this an exhaustive collection of people. there are many that i know of that i have not included in this collage. but, at some point, for the sake on moving on in life instead of sitting by the computer for a week straight, i had to stop sorting through every single photo of 2014 and complete this post. hehe.

many of you, who are not pictured here, are people who i may have never met face to face. many of you blog readers + instagram followers. many of you are people i care deeply about, but i haven’t spent much time with you in 2014 (different countries and all that).  please know that you all have a special place in my heart as well.

this post, as a whole, sums up just how blessed i am to have so many wonderful people in my life. positive people. challenging people. people who inspire and push and irritate and constantly are there for me. i cherish each and every moment, the good + the bad, and i am completely + fully aware of the joy that you each bring to my life in your own special way.

so, thank you, for an incredible year! from the bottom of my heart, i wish you all peace, light, empowerment + love.

love, liz


moments, people, & words that make me feel alive.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt


“You were given life; it is your duty (and also your entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert IMG_7335

“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley IMG_7333

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile, laugh as much as you breathe, and love as long as you live.”
― Rachel Ann Nunes IMG_7336

“It is the experiences, the memories, the great triumphant joy of living to the fullest extent in which real meaning is found. God it’s great to be alive! Thank you. Thank you.”
― Jon KrakauerInto the Wild

live it up my friends! love & peace.

helloooo, july.

happy first of july to all you wonderful people out there. in sweden, the sun is shining, the air is warm, and the birdies are chirping. however, i’m still stuck in my bed… blogging, reading, and watching a mini ally mcbeal marathon. re-living the first season and laughing my ass off at ally’s quirkiness. lazy multitasking at its best.

don’t worry, i will make it outside pretty soon. gonna meet a friend for a walk and perhaps some fika. who am i kidding? i live in sweden, the land of perpetual fikas and it just happens to be something i love to do as well… share a cafe visit with a friend. of course i’m gonna have fika somewhere.

i’ve been working all morning on creating a compilation of my june instagram pictures… last month i had prinstagram make one for me, and i just saved it to my computer & posted it here. but, they have updated their website and now there is no way to preview your “poster” before you pay for it. ugh. so, i had to create one on my on. it took a while, but… success!

and here’s a little sneak peak for you of what’s coming in july… but not everyday. you’ll have to check back on sundays. i’m only posting once a week, but i’m working on making my pictures a little different. of course, if you want to see my pictures daily, you can follow me on instagram. i’m @lizslens. and check out my post from yesterday if you want the july photo challenges so you can join in the photo fun!

hope you have a fantastic sunday & that the sun is shining wherever you are!

peace out from sweden.

day 31: something beautiful.

my something beautiful from today: our friends’/lina’s “brother’s” newborn baby girl’s hand. we’re aunts again. yippee!

good evening, good people.

well, it’s the last night of may 2012, and the birth of a beautiful baby girl into the family has gotten me thinking about beginnings & endings… wow. what a may it has been. i know i’m gonna sound cryptic & mysterious, but you’ll just have to excuse me. i’m not ready to talk about everything that’s happened. but just know that this may has been like no other i’ve ever experienced. it has, in fact, been the hardest time in my life so far, i do believe. and i know that it’s not fair to type out those words here & then not reveal what has happened, but as i said, i just can’t. i’m not ready. but, one day i will be. for now, i’ll leave you hanging. still, i have a few reflections & things i need to say.

yes, may is coming to a close. and i’m so thankful. of course there have been some beautiful moments, and i have tried to reflect them here, with my little photo a day challenge. but, to be honest, i am so ready to move onto june. you know, though, the photo challenge has been really good for me. the past few months have given me a chance to get in the groove of snapping photos every day, figuring out ways to create an image of whatever word i was faced with that day, and getting my creative juices flowing. but, this month, i dare say that the photo challenge saved my sanity. i had something every day forcing me to find something beautiful, creative, and lovely in it. and, you know what? i always did.

you know, it’s amazing. no matter what i am going through – and i say “i”, because i can only speak for myself – i find that, if i put my mind to it, if i let myself think & breathe for just a moment, then i will find something beautiful every day. something to be thankful for. something to soak in. something to touch my soul. something to remind me of the hope that is always there. something to point me in the direction i want to go. something to connect me with my love.

as may comes to a close, i just have a few things to say to you all. life is difficult and so scary that it feels as if you will be lost in a dark hole, never to be found. but, i guarantee that there is something beautiful to be found with the rising of the sun each day (because the sun does rise. every day). and, if you are as lucky as me to have someone to share it with, then hold onto that love. don’t take it for granted, and love like there is no tomorrow. trust yourself to be stronger than you ever imagined. you can & will survive more than you ever thought possible. and, on your way, in the midst of the darkness, slow down just enough to feel all the pain, sadness, & fear… and then, remember that you are not alone. remember that there is a tiny crack providing one sliver of light. and never, ever stop being you.

dear month of may, you have been a challenge (that’s an understatement). but, as i live & breathe in these last few minutes of you, i feel strength & hope because i have survived you. tomorrow is a new day. a new month. a new hope. and even though all the difficulty has not disappeared, maybe it’s become a little less daunting. in any case, i welcome you, june. bring with you sunshine, light, life, hope, and a new beginning. i beg of you. however, no matter what comes my way, i will face it, and i will find myself on the other side, waiting for july to come rushing in, in a mere 30 days. in the meantime, i will continue to click away with my camera… capturing those beautiful moments that pop up randomly and unexpectedly in life. i will continue to allow myself to seek beauty & snap photos… no matter what june brings.

what an amazing gift it is to find art every day, even in the dark.

my photo a day may pictures. something beautiful every day.

yep. count me in. here we go again! you are gonna join me, aren’t you? if not to take pictures, then to come back & check out mine, right?

may beauty follow you everywhere you go. peace.

day 21: where i stand.

ok. i went a little crazy on this one. and yes, i’m addicted to the little collage thing-ys this week. so sue me. i can’t help it… it just how my creative juices are flowing. well i went crazy taking pictures of the places where i was standing simply because i was standing (in line!) so many places. felt like i was constantly standing & waiting today.

waiting. one of the hardest things to do. super hard to wait in a line, when your brain is thinking of the 10 million other things you’ve gotta do, or of the 10 bajillion other things you’d much rather be doing than waiting in line. but, waiting in lines is a fact of life. i usually do serious people watching when i’m standing around. i make up stories of what they’re doing, where’s they’re from, and what their lives are like. sometimes i go a little crazy with my imagination. it’s pretty easy to do when you’re visiting the immigration offices. so, how do you keep yourself busy in lines?

then there’s waiting for answers or for problems to be solved. waiting for things to get better. waiting for what might/might not happen. here’s when my imagination gets the best of me. in an attempt to control things, i make up scenarios of what may or may not happen, and i drive myself crazy while i’m waiting.

nope. i’m not a fan of waiting. but, wait, i must. and somehow,  i will figure out how to pass the time… perhaps look around & live in the moment. hmmm… have i said that before?

waiting to get the day starting. and waiting in lines all over the city today.

 where i stood just before i satisfied my inner little american girl with a mcdonalds lunch in the sun.

good luck standing & waiting. sending you patient vibes & peace.

day 4: fun! let’s lighten the mood.

after some days of some pretty heavy stuff, i thought i’d share this post… a combo of my instagram photo challenge pics from april and a little tip on how you can get in on the fun. i’m in desperate need of something light & fun right now. so, here are some things that made me very happy throughout the month of april.

thanks to the creative blogger at fatmumslim, i have now figured out how to make a collage of photos from my instagram pictures. and it’s super easy. so, if you have instagram & wanna join in the creative fun, here’s a little how to.

  1. visit printsgram
  2. log into your instagram account (upper right corner of the page)
  3. choose which poster layout you would like = how many pics you want in the collage
  4. name your collage
  5. drag your photos into the poster/collage. they are across the bottom of the page, so it’s easy to see & choose which ones you want.
  6. after you’ve finished that, click create
  7. download your pdf collage to your computer. or right click & save to your desktop. or if you have a mac, just drag the photo to your desktop (this ensures that the pic isn’t so huge. downloading the pdf makes the pic bigger).
  8. post your collage where you want. you may want/need to resize or “save for web” in photoshop for the best quality.
  9. if you want your collage printed, just follow the instructions to order. otherwise, creating the collage is free! and easy!

hope you enjoy. happy friday, dear readers.

sending you thoughts of happiness and peace.

# 6. home.

well, here it is. the last group of pictures from our amazing, wonderful, went-by-way-too-quickly trip to the states! we crammed a lot in, in a pretty short time period, and loved every minute of it! i must admit that it has been hard to come back & leave the states just when we were really getting back into the groove of things. there is a sense of freedom there (and not the patriotic, the USA-is-better-than-everyone-else, poor-people-who-live-in-the-rest-of-the-world freedom that most americans think of when they hear the word “freedom”) that i feel that is unlike anywhere else. it’s an internal freedom, a carefree-ness. perhaps it comes from the fact that the USA is so big and so unbelievably diverse. you can be whoever you want there. and there’s that feeling of adventure, along with a relaxed way of living (except for those who choose to live in the midst of a crazy, corporate life, amassing things that they never have time to enjoy), the possibility of spontaneity in every day life. i can’t describe it well. i’s just a feeling, and i got a taste of it for 3 weeks this summer. and it was wonderful!

not that there aren’t many, many things i appreciate about living in sweden. first, the fact that i can live here & my marriage is recognized. (something which is not possible for lina in the states… yet.). and then, there’s the social system. i’ve just been added to the population as one who has rights to get help, assistance, a job (and help finding it), money for studying swedish (and i studied for free), cheaper doctor’s visits… i could go on. plus, i get to walk everywhere, or take public transportation, which allows me to do my part to help the environment. and the amount of environmental awareness in this country as a whole is phenomenal! so a country where they care about each other/take care of each other, take care of the environment, ensure equality for all people (even immigrants), have mandated month long vacation time for everyone, drink coffee & sit with each other on a daily basis, have beautiful old buildings & interesting, new architecture in their cities, and have a breathtaking landscape is an amazing country to live in! i do love it here…

and i do love it in the states. the thing is, i am overwhelmed by the fact that i have two amazing, different, and beautiful places which i call home. i realize that many do not have even one place to call home. so, i am aware that i must never take that for granted. i am blessed. and i am so thankful for both of my physical homes. however, there would be no true home without my love by my side. so, these last few photos are of us… soaking in and enjoying our moments in the states. wherever i am with my love… that is my home. ♥

 my love & me. at home… all over the world.

thanks for reading & following. peace, brothers & sisters.