what’s waiting for you?

it’s been a good day. it started off a little if-y, though. spent the morning in a long meeting surrounded by a lot of negative energy actually. why must people always see the problems and stuck there? why must people discuss something over & over, going in circle after circle – arguing and not moving forward? ugh.

but that was just the first hour. then we had fika, that life-saving break that breathes new inspiration into all people. and today it did just that. well, at least for me.

over a steaming cup of hot chocolate, i met an intern from germany & we hit it off. as we were chatting with each other, i started having one of those crazy conversations in my head that some of you know that i have when i am doing some public speaking or just talking… i analyze, plan, and think things in my head as i am speaking about something else. well, i was doing just that. as i was chit-chatting with the german chick, i was thinking about how unbelievably incredible it was that we were chatting in swedish. 2 newly-swedish-speaking ex-pats, from different countries, with different languages (of course she speaks english too), speaking a third language to communicate. so. freaking. cool.

and then i had a moment. one of those moments where i am blown away that i live in sweden. i left my home country, everything i knew, moved to live with my love, have learned a new language, and have been working for almost a year – making connections & building up my own life here. of course, not without the help & support of so many people, mainly my love. anyway, it was an awesome moment. one that i never dreamed, planned, or thought i would find myself in the middle of.

life is crazy. amazing. difficult. and breath-taking. especially when we go deeper, get out of our comfort zones, and risk everything. we never know what’s waiting for us! but i guarantee every single one of you that, if we listen to our souls, it will be more amazing than we ever could have imagined.

courage & peace i send to you.

crazy weekend nights.


ok. maybe my weekend nights are not crazy in your eyes, but they are my nights just the same. and i like them. i’m not ashamed. judge me if you want… well, perhaps we just have different definitions of crazy. hehe. i’m kidding. they were definitely not wild & crazy nights, but they have been crazy in their own special way in my little part of the world.

friday’s craziness involved working with about 6 teenagers… we played some games together, laughed uncontrollably, and talked some about lent & this journey we’re on for the next 40ish days. it was a really great night full of tons of joking & fun! no, there was mass of teenagers breaking down the doors, (due to the fact that it was winter break for them), but sometimes it’s good to have a smaller group. when it’s a smaller group, i can really spend some quality time with them – and that i did. on my way home, i stopped on the street to say hey to my love while she was at work with her teenagers (my internship teens). i walked with some of them for a little bit & then headed to our neighborhood pizzeria to grab a late night snack to munch on when i got home (it was about 10:30pm when i got home). for some reason i was wide awake, so i stayed up until my love came home (2:00am). it was really cozy… hanging out under my covers with my computer & my cat. oh, and my snack was awesomely yummy.

the sunset as i walked to work friday night. gorgeous.

 self-explanatory. hehe.

saturday’s craziness was all about a little pub visit (after working some in the afternoon) to our favorite spot just down the street from us. i love spending some quality time with my love… just chatting, dreaming, and getting in touch with each other. it’s so important to make time to just be together & catch up. we ended the night at home by watching the swedish song contest that everyone watches on saturday nights. we gotta choose the artist who’s gonna represent sweden in the eurovision song contest (for all my american friends, think… american idol, but with a representative from every state). this is a big deal here.

the pub.

sunday night’s craziness has been dominated by some interior decorating! lina had a little inspiration this afternoon as we wandered through downtown, so we made a few purchases & voila! we hung new art over our bed! check out lina’s blog (here) to see a cool post on the decorating process.

i love it! (kudos to my love for coming up with the great idea!)

that’s about it for the weekend’s “craziness”. gonna rest for the remaining moments of my weekend before a busy week begins again. buuuutttt… something amazingly fantastic happens at the end of this week… one of my dearest friends/former youth/”little sister” from the states is coming to visit us for a week!!! it’s a big moment for our little family, she’s our first visitor from the other side of the pond!

just to give ya a little background, j & i traveled together to sweden in 2007, which just happens to be when i met lina (i was a the leader for the youth “mission” trip she was on). more on our visitor (check out her blog here) & perhaps more on how lina & i met, later on… ♥

so, if i thought this weekend was crazy… well, next weekend will be super crazy. for real. can’t wait!

how was your weekend? i’m all ears… peace out, my peeps.

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.

just another 24 hours.

hey! i feel like i’ve been all over the place during the past 24-48 hours. i worked at the church with the youth, cleaned the apartment, was part of an historic meeting where 2 church congregations became one, watched some of my favorite tv, worked again, had some kind of crappy stomach thing, worked at the youth organization (internship), ate a traditional swedish pastry, walked in the snow, slept some (not enough), and sat on my computer. i feel as if i have bounced from one thing to the next. as i said… all over the place.

i’m looking at a day “off” (= work at home & do laundry) tomorrow, so i can stay in my pj’s as long as i want. well, until my love & i go to the movies – right, lina? it’s not so much to do a big valentine’s day celebration, but because we really wanna see the movie (the iron lady) and this is the first & only chance we have for a while. anyway, the point is… tomorrow i hope to get my head on straight & slow down for a few hours.

in the meantime, here are a few pics…

just before bedtime… yes. we check all of our social media stuff before going to sleep. crappy obsession.

watched some episodes of “new girl”… our new fav.

a picture of the historic meeting at the church. in this moment, the baptist & methodist congregations became one. it was amazing. made me think that THIS is what the church is supposed to be about… people coming together, to meet in their similarities, to welcome all people (of all kinds), and to focus on how to live together, instead of the differences that separate us. plus, these 2 congregations hired me – a woman married to a woman to be their youth/children’s minister. so, when one whole denomination (the global united methodist church) will turn me away based on who i love & not consider my education & experience, these 2 churches, which are now 1, hired me last september… based on my education & experiences, not on who i love. they hired me because, in this church, which is a conglomeration of the best parts of both denominations, all people are welcome. no matter what they look like, no matter what their opinions are, no matter who they love, where they are from, how much money they have, etc. this church focuses on love. this church is growing because it is merging two traditions (eventually three) together, thus becoming what i believe that the church should be: a place that is open for all people, in all places, at all times, with all opinions. there is so much more that unites us, rather than divides us. and i am proud to say that i work in a church that puts the love of all people first.

happy little ole me. cozy in my boots & sweater after walking in the snow.

monday morning at work. i was so exhausted this morning, so i drank coffee for hours. but it was a very productive day, thanks to the caffeine overdose.

went by the neighborhood bakery.

bought some semlor. pastry heaven. and an indulgence between epiphany & lent in sweden. the last day to eat them is fat tuesday, mardi gras. i’ll explain later, in a few weeks. hehe.

had a cozy, yummy fika at home with my love. candles, semlor, coffee. delish!

i’m taking part in a photo challenge on instagram (an awesome smart phone app). today’s challenge was “blue”. so, here are my turquoise blue kitchen curtains.

i heart them.

after i got back from work at the church tonight, i joined my love on our sofa & we put our faces into our computers. she was busy being creative… designing & stuff. i was all over the place. but, this is lina’s new blog design. go on over & check it out. i think it’s cool. i think she’s cool. and freaking beautiful.

ok, i’m off to bed soon. and then, tomorrow, i’m gonna write a crapload of swedish. i have 3 articles to write for the church’s newsletter that comes out 4 times a year. i am honored to have been asked to write the front page article, the pastor’s article. i’m feeling good about it, but not exactly sure what i’m gonna say yet. and i’ve gotta do it all in swedish. super hard. nevertheless, really good practice & a fun (?) challenge. plus, after such a long time away, and unsure that i’d ever be “allowed” back in a church, i get to be a minister again, use my education, feed my passion, and share love through writing. and that, my friends, feels humbling & amazing.

perhaps i’ll also squeeze in the obligatory valentine’s day post at some point tomorrow. or not. we’ll see.

i hope you all out there are doing well, my friends. i can feel some anxiety, pain, & winter depression/blahs… just bad energy, low energy, coming from all around; and i hope that whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, if you are feeling low & just not yourself, you find a tiny bit of peace, some positive energy, & feel a little bit of love. maybe right now we all need a little lovin’. maybe we can try to spread some of that love to each other or to any person we may meet… tomorrow is v. day, ya know. a perfect excuse to focus on loving others.

goodnight, dear readers. peace.

100% chaos.

i’m not complaining. just so you know.

but, it’s been a while since i worked 100%, full-time. 2012 has brought me the amazing opportunity to work part-time (50%) at my internship (which i already did in 2011) and part-time (50%) at the church. so, i’m back in the full-time, 40 hours per week working world. feels amazing! but, it’s also leaving my head spinning a little bit.

it was weird for the past year & a half, not really working. it felt really good & really crappy at the same time. good to have a break, kind of a sabbatic,l & a chance to be a little bit of a hermit (which is good for recharging the soul). but, bad in the sense that, not working can leave one feeling a little worthless.

true, i would love to sit on a beach or in a pub or just travel the world and be on permanent vacation. at the same time, i think something inside of me dies when i don’t have the stress, chaos, and busy-ness that a job creates in life. that’s right. chaos inspires me. i thrive when i am going full-speed ahead. even though i crave quiet, alone time with myself. however, i actually seem to find it more when i am engaged in meaningful work. it’s a dance between chaos & serenity. now let me be clear, even going full-speed ahead for me tends to be rather calm. i am not a work-a-holic. i may be busy on the outside, but inside i’m usually calm & at peace. of course things are running around in my head, but i’m talking about my soul – deep inside. there is a peace inside me when i’m working. perhaps it comes from the hope that what i’m doing is making a difference somewhere.

anyway, this new year has recharged me and has thrust me full-speed ahead into life again. being blessed to have 2 places of work to go to (when so many are struggling  to find work right now) fills me with inspiration. check back with me in a few days or weeks and ask me if i’m still feeling as inspired or at peace… hehe.

with that said, time is clicking away and i must go & get ready for work! hope you have a great wednesday!!

peace & serenity in the midst of chaos.

my weekend. or something like that.

after my last little post of frustration, things settled down (= i gave up on trying to retype or salvage my original post) & it turned out to be quite a great weekend. and it’s been an unusually good mix of super busy-ness mixed with some much needed peace & quiet. i must confess, though, that all i can seem to think about is having a break during christmas… a few days in a row completely off. and then, in the middle of january, a 2 week trip to the states to visit family & friends!! YES! anyway, back to my weekend…

the weekend for me is not exactly the same day or days as it is for most of you. i work every friday & this weekend i worked all day saturday too. so, my weekend began yesterday evening & it comes to a close tomorrow morning… i always squeeze in every second of the weekend as i can, down to the last minute before i have to take on responsibility again.

i began this “weekend” (friday night) by working at my internship. we were out in the city… working with teenagers who are taking a 6 month leadership course. it was a really good night, actually. it’s always good to see teenagers who want to connect with people, give back to their community, or work on making themselves better people. i was able to really chat with a few of them; and it so amazing to hear their stories in life, talk about their dreams & hopes, & just laugh with them. the city was quiet. at least what we saw. but, then again, it’s december. super dark. and pretty cold. so, why wouldn’t you be at home watching a movie?

then after getting home late & waking way too early for a saturday (6:30. kill me.)… it was off to the church for some work. the youth group was in charge of a saturday cafe offered to the community in the church’s fellowship hall/cafe. i was hoping that about 3 or 4 youth would show up to help, that we would have enough food, & that i wouldn’t look like an idiot trying to make my way around & kitchen blurting out whatever swedish words came to mind in any given situation. turns out 8 youth came, we had mountains of sandwiches (that i made!), and tons of delicious goodies to serve to the (mostly elderly) crowd that came between 10 & 1. i actually did not look like an idiot, but i had a rather good time getting to know a few more of the adults from the church, practicing my swedish by having a spontaneous public speech for the crowd gathered (thanks to one man asking me to all of the sudden share something with the group. yes. my heart stopped for a second.), and learning more about important swedish customs & culture. what i mean by that is that the longer that i live here, the more i realize i have GOT to learn to cook & bake. it is expected. hence, the fear of looking like an idiot while working in the kitchen at the church yesterday. BUT, i made a chocolate cake, crap loads of typical swedish sandwiches, and got compliments on both. woo hoo!

my lonely, early saturday morning walk to the church. i love this building & all the lights/candles in the windows. so typical.

 i made these!! bread. butter. some caviar spread concoction. boiled eggs. tomato. lemon. dill. swedes love this. i say, “yuck”. and i can say it… i tasted it.

 people enjoying the cafe. it was quite cozy & cute. 2 elderly ladies sang & entertained the crowd with traditional swedish christmas songs. i am constantly amazed by swedes & their resiliency/energy/motivation. it was freaking cold out, & rainy, & messy. yet, all these elderly people were out, enjoying some good food, laughing, singing, living life. inspiring, i know. i would’ve been lazy & had more coffee at home.

 my typical swedish chocolate cake. it was the first time i made it… and it was a hit!

 walking home i had to pass through walls of busy christmas shoppers. feelin’ the holiday spirit? why, yes i am!

after cleaning the church, i met up with my love & we headed to her parents’ house for a quiet (hehe), cozy evening with 2 nieces, lina’s brother & his girlfriend, & her parents. we just sat & enjoyed each others company & ate craploads of food = saturday night traditions in sweden (called lördagsmys. translation: cozy saturday). we came home, discussing for like the 1 millionth time how happy we are that we live in the middle of the downtown area, & went to bed early… we were soooo tired (lina worked all day too. for once, our schedules matched up!).


a warm fire in the fireplace at lina’s parents’.

 riding the tram home.

 home sweet home. the four windows in a row (from the right) on the 4th floor are ours.

i rolled over & woke up after 9 this morning. thank you, sleep gods. stumbled out of bed, drug my feet into the kitchen, sleepily made a pot of coffee, & slithered back into bed under the covers to wait for it to brew. then, i spent the next 2ish hours right there in the same spot. oh yeah, a little bit of heaven. that’s right.  i love spending time in my bed when i have nothing else planned. but, eventually our feet hit the floor & we had some breakfast, cleaned the apartment, & did some grocery shopping for those must have items… milk, bread, chips, yogurt, cheese. wow. that was quiet a list of dairy products. oh, and stamps for christmas cards! (yes. we buy our stamps at the grocery store, as there are no post offices in sweden. really. no post offices. i’m serious. weird, huh?) no wine or beer, needed. it was already chilling in the fridge. and we have plenty of toilet paper right now… we’re trying to be more responsible & prepared. hehe. well, we made dinner & finally settled in for an unbelievable cozy evening on the sofa. just the 3 of us…

 good sunday morning, world.

 christmas cards written, sealed, stamped,  ready to send!

 sweden’s coziest living room. ♥

so, how was your weekend? hope you’ve had a good balance of fun &  rest. can you believe how quickly time is going?! it’s already the second sunday in advent.  3 weeks till christmas!

wishing you all love & peace.

what a wednesday.

ok. finally a teeny, tiny bit of time to write.

wednesdays are my long days. i go to both of my jobs. church and then the youth organization where i have a paid internship. wednesdays start early & end late, with a lot in between. yesterday, i must confess, i wasn’t looking forward to much of it. or, rather i just didn’t want to do anything but stay home & be cozy. but, i put a smile on my face, headed out the door with a positive attitude (well, i was thinking it. not feeling it), and what do you know?! it turned out to be a fantastic day involving many different people and experiences, from co-workers at the church, to retiree’s at a soup lunch, to amazing teens, to a fellow english-speaking woman, to finally some quiet moments with my love.

no time to write about it now, though, as i thought. just got a call to come to my internship now, which is ok. wonder what’s gonna happen today?!

but, i’ll leave you with a few images from yesterday….

an amazing sunrise.

my ride around town!

from the church where we (my internship organization) had a meeting & then a soup lunch. cool, experiences!!

have a great thursday! it’s almost the weekend! peace out.

wednesday’s balancing act.

i’ve only worked there for about 1 month, but my co-workers at the church celebrated my birthday with me with a wednesday morning fika! the secretary of the church had a birthday last friday & mine is coming up, so we decided to have a cooperative birthday fika wednesday morning. in sweden, the birthday tradition is to invite people to your own birthday fika and prepare everything for them; so she brought lots of delicious, fresh bread & all the fixin’s for sandwiches and i brought the cake. sweden is over-the-top amazing with their pastries, baked-goods, and cakes – as you can see. if only you could have tasted! we set the table and had about 12 people there to enjoy a cozy morning fika in the church’s cafe. what a great way to start the day!

after lunch & more work at the church , i headed to my swedish “class”. it’s not really a class. it feels more like a free, private tutor. go me! i am continuing my swedish language education through an online course, and i meet my teacher every 2-3 weeks to go over what i have done and take a few little tests. it’s really informal & relaxed, and we move at my own pace – so it can go as quickly or as slowly as i want. i’d love to just fly through it all, but realistically, i must balance my work at the church, my “internship”, which is not officially an internship right now, my swedish class, and my family life. nevertheless, the class feels fantastic and i am glad to be studying & pushing myself even harder with my swedish!

on my way to the school where i met my teacher yesterday, i came across a few beautiful fall-ish scenes. even though i was walking in a drizzly rain, with gray skies all around, and a chill in the air, i enjoyed it. i mean, it’s almost officially fall (tomorrow!), and besides, there’s nothing like the warm, vibrant colors of the leaves to serve as an antidote for the dark, dreary skies.

my school.

after school, i headed to my internship (lina’s job) for the weekly wednesday night meetings. let me just say that sitting with 15-20 young people, watching them grow as leaders, seeing their strength and individual personalities, laughing with them, and talking with them leaves me feeling so inspired. and there are tons of questions and thoughts rolling around in my head these days, and i feel pulled in lots of different directions, but, seriously… how lucky am i? coming home to my love and my sweet kitty every night puts everything in perspective. i may be busy trying to balance my life, but i am so lucky, so blessed.


monday night’s pub.

 after a good day at my internship, my love & i met a friend at a pub  for dinner and some beer. a great way to begin a busy week. yeah.


august festival in town!

it’s the middle of august and that means it’s time for a big, 4 day festival that takes over the whole city. woo hoo!! street fairs, fireworks, games, food, music, beer, amusement park rides, and tons of people! the festival began on wednesday, but it’s friday so now things really get into the swing of things! last night we took a walk through the city and watched the fireworks over the river along with every other man, woman, & child in norrköping! it was insane!

i have enjoyed the festival so far in little bits & pieces, and we’ll see how it goes today… my love & i are working (since we work with teenagers/young adults, and  this is a big weekend to work with them). so beginning in about 15 minutes, we will be out in the middle of everything & on the job! it’s raining right now (ugh.), and is supposed to continue the rest of the day. so it seems like it’s gonna be an interesting night. wish us luck!!

i’ve gotta a lot to write about, but it’s all just gonna have to wait until sunday! have a fantastic weekend!

peace out.