coming out… of hibernation.


spending a lot of time in my kitchen today. feeling a lot of things.

it has taken me 4 or 5 off and on hours to write this. and i’m all over the place. i apologize now for what follows… sorry.

the sun is shining outside and it’s relatively warm. but, i’m still recovering from some crappy stomach sickness that knocked me out while my love & i were gone, so i am inside. listening to a new playlist i made that is made up of all the old songs i listened to during the year that i died and came back to life. i need to be in touch with that girl again. that liz. so sure. so confident. so dreamy and freaking crazy. just closing her eyes and jumping. and knowing in her soul that the leap of faith was always the right decision. i miss that girl.

oh yes, i jumped when i moved to sweden. and it has been amazing. i’ve acclimated and adjusted. and now, i’m ready to jump again. but, right now, i’m not exactly sure who i am. who have i become? how has this journey, this time of living in sweden, affected me? how has it changed my dreams?  i know what i want, but i don’t know how to make it happen. one huge thing that sweden has given me is time. time to explore the writer that is within me. and that writer wants to be let loose! but, how? sweden has also given me a chance to travel and a chance to be cozy at home (thanks to the cozy, dark falls and winters). in some ways, it feels as if i have been hibernating while i’ve been in sweden. and i don’t mean that in a bad way… i mean it in the best possible way.

though, now i’m nearing the end of my self-proclaimed hibernation, or cocoon-ing, and it’s time for me to look back on these almost three years and reacquaint myself with my dreams and hopes, now that i know that i will be moving to asheville. it’s time to tap into my gyspy soul, and to make sure not to stay stuck in the roles that are most comfortable simply because they are comfortable. or because it’s too scary to try anything different. it’s time to to feel the desire to fly, and ignore those who would try to keep me grounded by circumstances in life.

i’ve been saying that moving back to the states feels like an adventure in itself. i suppose that moving back can be seen as this: “oh, how boring. she lived in europe for three years and is now going back to little ole north carolina.”  but, i don’t feel that way at all. if i’m honest, the thought has crossed my mind, but it moves right on as fast as as it came. no, from deep within, i know that this is another adventure. a new one. just as big as moving to sweden almost 3 years ago.

so, speaking of that gypsy soul. and thinking about how i feel today. i realize that a journey of self discovery is what was exactly what was in the cards for me right now.

i do not, capital N O T, want to be that person who dreams and wishes, and just sits there. i do, capital   D.O., want to be that person who thinks crazy things are possible and makes the seemingly impossible happen. hell, i’ve done it once, twice, three, or more times before… why should i stop now?


hibernating in my sick bed this week.

 the other day, i mentioned that i had learned to feel my emotions again in life after a long period of stuffing them down. well, today, the lesson i’ve learned in how to feel how i feel has gotten me feeling every sort of emotion possible (did you follow that?). perhaps it’s because i have been sick for the past few days. like really sick. and now i’m weak and run down. but it’s also everything else. spring, which is depressing instead of energizing me. my love and her fight for life. finishing up and staying on track at work. preparing for the move. feeling physically sick has made me realize that i don’t feel ok mentally, emotionally, or physically right now.

i want to be the carefree spirit i committed myself to being in the beginning of 2013. i want to be the gyspy soul that i feel that i am. but, i don’t feel capable of it right now. i don’t have the energy. and even as i say all of this, i am still working to live in the present moment. to breathe in the beauty of right now. and i am. i truly am. i  notice and bask in the warm sun’s rays spilling into my kitchen. i feel the joy of having my love sleep beside me at night. i adore the snuggles with my cat. i sip slowly on a glass of red. i smile brightly as i notice the green popping out on the trees. i close my eyes and breathe.  i am in the present moment. and yet, somehow, right now, that’s not enough to feed my free-spirited soul.

i know what is waiting for me. i know what i am longing for, what my love is longing for. i know the freedom, the soul-touching feelings we have in the states. and i want them now.

everything that i am writing about today is based on this one thing: i am in a holding period. stuck in between adventures. trying to live a present moment that isn’t the present moment i’d dreamed of, and yet still finding beauty and some peace. but, knowing what lies ahead… all the craziness and the promise of a new chapter in life. i’m nearing the end of my hibernation.

the bottom line is this:

i need to slow down and find a way to accept and enjoy and use these next 3 months here in sweden. i need to let myself wake up slowly. if i use this time to the best of my ability, then i will really search my soul, and give myself a chance to know what i want my next step to be. is it just to move back to asheville and enjoy the life there? or is it to crazily seek out a job that fills my soul, and not just pays the bills? or is it a balance of the two? and if so, where & what is that job? of course it’s not just about jobs either, but our whole life. where we will live, how we will live, how we will spend our time. it’s all so exciting and promising!

as i type these words, john lennon’s song “starting over” is playing through my speakers. and the words, the lyrics. oh my gosh. it was as if the little spark in my chest has just been set on fire. everything is so clear to me…

our life is so precious. together. we have grown. 
our love is so special. let’s take a chance. and fly away. together. 
it’ll be just like starting over. 
it’s time to spread our wings and fly. 
don’t let another day go by, my love. 
it’ll be just like starting over.

 yes! exactly what john lennon (one of my heroes) says… this move brings with it new life. a new, amazing life that my love & i will share. we will fly. and we will live from our souls.

but, for now, i will allow myself to slowly awake from my hibernation.  i will use my time to uncover the deeper places in my self that i found while living in sweden. yes,  for now, i will use the present moment to discover more about who i am because of this hibernation… and who i dream of being in the next chapter of life.

how’s that for taking some time for myself? day 2. check!

hope you are feeling well today, my friends. peace & love.

there has to be something we can do.

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i’m under my covers, sipping on coffee, safe in sweden, while chaos is unfolding across the atlantic in boston, massachusettes. i’ve got a local boston tv station streaming live and i’m checking twitter every few minutes and the news is unfolding in real time before my eyes & ears.

i tend to do this when big things happen. and it doesn’t have to only be in the states. i was glued to my computer when revolutions occurred in egypt and violence broke out in benghazi, syria, palestine, etc. the question is, do i get too stuck in these things?

24 hour news is an amazing and scary thing. twitter and reddit have changed how news is reported. but, i think i do know when i need to shut it all off and move on. still, i find that it is important, as a citizen of the world, to know what my brothers and sisters all over the world are facing and experiencing. i’m not into sensationalism and speculation, but rather, i feel that in order to be a better person where i am, in order to live a life of peace and spread that peace onward, it is good for me to be aware and updated on current events. and to not only know tidbits, but to try to get a better understanding of what is happening.

for now, my thoughts are with the people of boston. it must be scary and unsettling, knowing that there is so much violence popping up across the area. the current news is not only about what happened at the boston marathon on monday, but what is, at this moment, going on with chases, gunfires, and searches for suspects. people are being asked to stay inside their homes and lock their doors. really scary stuff.

but, i also can’t help but think about people who live in the midst of this kind of violence and fear every day of their lives. there are innocent people in many other countries all across the world who face random acts of violence daily.

all violence is horrible. enough is enough.

it seems too overwhelming, i know, to try to make a change or a difference. but, the only thing we can do, is choose how we will live our own lives, in our own towns, in our own countries. how do we rid this world of so much violence? i have no answers. i only know that we can choose what we prioritize in life…

are we going to be individualists, thinking of only what makes us the most powerful, successful, rich people we can personally be?

or are we going to live as a community, thinking about the greater good for everyone?

peace is not an easy path. in fact, it’s the harder road, which requires more self-discipline. but, i am determined to continue to believe that this world can be a place of peace. i will not give up hope.

john lennonhugs and comfort for all of you today. peace.


the sun is gonna shine.

there is one thing that you must know about me, and many of you do. i am a huge beatles fan. h.u.g.e. and, of course, john lennon is my fav (no offense to you other 3 beatles), for many reasons including his undying belief in peace, love, and creativity. still, the beatles as an entire group always touch my soul and make me feel something that i really can’t describe with words. i’m guessing that there are many people all over the world who understand what i’m saying.

i admit that i haven’t really kept up with the beatles’ solo careers (except of course i adore john lennon’s solo/duo career with yoko ono). but, every now and then something catches my attention. and that leads me to this post…

i ran across this on the beatles Facebook page this morning. it is beautiful. the music. the video. the two people (natalie portman & johnny depp are truly 2 of my favorite actors). the instruments. the lyrics. it is something to just soak in.

this is for you, my baby. my life, my everything. my valentine. i love you.

find a beatles song to listen to today that inspires you. and keep the faith that one day, the sun will shine again. and if you have been blessed with someone to share life with, cherish every little moment together. oh, and one last thing, love always wins.

peace. love. understanding. and rainbows.

wastin’ time.

of course i would totally agree with everything john lennon says, since he is one of my idols; but this quote is especially great. i have had my share of moments of feeling guilty for not doing one thing or another. i beat myself up for seeming to be so different from other people. sometimes i still feel like i’m on the “outside”, like there is no one else really like me. but, then, i remember that being me is exactly who i am supposed to be. and perhaps it’s a good thing that i’m not exactly like everybody else. and it’s ok that i seem to be a “time-waster” instead of a type-a, go-getter personality. that just doesn’t jive with me. i take life at  a much slower pace.

you may call me crazy, or lazy, or whatever; but i am much more comfortable, at ease, at peace, and inspired when i sit, reflect, read, chat with a few people, drink a glass of wine or coffee, sit in a park & people watch, stare out the window, listen to music, go to a museum or a concert, meet over a beer at a pub, hang out in bed reading & writing all morning… you get my drift. i am made this way. it’s who i am. for some people, i suppose it seems that i waste time. but, no one knows all that is going on inside me. i admit that i would love to take lina & zola, and go sit in the woods every weekend to recharge – write early in the mornings, take long, slow walks, build fires & sip wine, have a few visitors every now & then. i am a nature-lover. a hermit. a dreamer. but, i am me. and the reason that my time is not wasted is because i’m busy inside, working with my soul. when i waste time, i am in the midst of dreaming, imagining, connecting, creating. of course i would love to create something like my sister-in-law’s plates, bowls, and vases (she’s a potter); or be like lina, creating music with her voice. i don’t create something tangible to sell, or have the talent to entertain & touch people through music. honestly, sometimes i feel like i can’t really do anything well, except be alone. and then i remember what being alone produces in me… inspiration.

now, i am not saying that i wish or even could handle being alone all the time. i like being alone, or in a small group, but i need people too. i need the balance, and perhaps i need it a little more than usual. though i don’t even know if there is a “normal” amount of alone time. simply put, i must balance out my crazy days with some lazy days. and when i do, my life flows so smoothly.

all of this to say, we are all created differently; and while at times we may just want to fit in, more than anything, it is important to be true to ourselves. authenticity before popularity. so, i embrace john lennon’s words on not wasting time. i waste time, but that time has not been wasted. besides, just being is necessary in order to really do anything.

quote of the day:

“one person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” ~ Tim Burton

by the way, wasting an hour & 15 minutes last night at my yoga class was most definitely time well-spent! loved it. so, my dear friends, find your way to waste some time this weekend! enjoy the moments!

peace & rest.

a simple message.

it’s here. valentine’s day. sad face.

or… valentine’s day! happy face!

regardless of how you or i feel about this day (and i, for one, am one who has a love/hate relationship with this holiday), it is a day that comes around every year. what am i gonna do with it this year? is it a love year or a hate year? well, instead of writing some gushy love letter (i did that last week: here), or preaching a sermon on love (i did that already: here and here.) or ranting and raving about the commercialism of love (i haven’t done that yet), i am sending out a simple message…


love others. love yourself.

spread it. share it. give it. receive it.

 my love tattoo. representing the eternal love that i share with lina. 

and now.. a little music for the day. listen here.

Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.
Love, Love, Love.

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game.
It’s easy.

Nothing you can make that can’t be made.
No one you can save that can’t be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

Nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy.

All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.

~john lennon & paul mccartney

peace & love. this day and always.

counting down the hours.

looking back over this year, i realize that it has been truly, truly amazing! i have completed my first full year as a resident of sweden, traveled around the world some, learned a new language, experienced new traditions, enjoyed every single moment with my love, missed my family so much i felt like my heart would break, gotten a job, learned the true art of fika, and oh my gosh what an adventure it has been!

here, take a peek.


in january i finally finished reading this awesome book about the hippie, peace-lovin’, one of my idols beatle. it inspired me at the start of a new year to begin writing my story, and it of course inspired me to follow the road less traveled, to just be true to myself in every way. from the time i had moved to sweden (in august 2010) until january, i spent most of my time at home. reading, writing, having fika with friends. it was a weird time in my life, but very cozy. kind of a sabbatical. with the new year, though, life began to pick up speed, so it was good to begin it feeling inspired by one of my idols!


 in february i was in the middle of my swedish for immigrants class. check all of us immigrants out! we’re representing the states, the phillipines, poland, & iraq in this picture. these girls were amazing friends during the first half of this year, but we’ve lost touch since summer. i definitely have to figure out a way to reconnect in 2012!


 yep. it’s march and the snow is still hanging around. i think the first snow was in november, so i lived for the first time in my life, with snow on the ground for about 4 and a half months! i loooved it! though, i must admit, i started to wonder if spring would ever come…


at the end of april, the snow was gone and flowers slowly began to peek out. the days seemed to be a bit warmer, but the nights were still chilly. on the last day of april all of sweden celebrates the coming of light, warmth, and spring with a giant bonfire. i went to a celebration with my love’s parents, while my love worked the whole night. it was a really fun tradition of grilling out (the first one of the season), singing traditional spring songs (swedes have traditional songs for everything), and enjoying a cracking, warm, beautiful bonfire out in the woods. looking forward to next year!


 the days were now longer, the sun was shining almost every day, and we were longing to be outside. it was also the month of my love’s birthday, so time to celebrate her & everything that she means to me. she is my everything… my inspiration, my best friend, my joy, & my love. ♥


time to celebrate in june! sweden’s national day was the perfect celebration for the month where i graduated from my swedish course after only 5 months (yes. i am proud since it usually takes about 2 years). i made a day trip to stockholm with my swedish class, our youngest niece was born, and i began a paid internship at lina’s work place. whew! life got busy real quick.

summer trip to the states

 atlantic beach, nc with my family! the best!

 my love & i in our “hometown”, asheville. oh, how we love this eclectic, nature-loving, diverse, alive city in north carolina!

 nyc, baby!!!


 back in sweden in late july, and back to work. but not without some relaxing, fun times with friends. july is a great month to enjoy the “midnight sun”… the days are so long and sweden is so beautiful.


 we worked together at lina’s job, which was quite slow actually. from mid-july to mid-august all of sweden is on vacation. except us, this year. but we spent some quality time together at cozy outdoor cafes, with some youth that lina works with, with friends at a birthday reunion in stockholm, and celebrating/working during the huge outdoor august festival in the city. beautiful days, beautiful weather.


 my birthday month!!! well, fall was on it’s way in september & it was back to the grind for all of us… including me! I GOT A JOB!! yes, that’s right. a real job! working at a church, albeit only 10 hours a week (yeah right.), but a chance to get back to doing what i do best: working with theology & young people. at the same time, i kept doing my internship at lina’s work, so life was really busy. the crappiest thing was that all this working now meant that lina & i had completely different schedules, and not that much free time together. meh. for example, i celebrated my birthday evening alone (well, we had a wonderful fika the week before) since lina was working. it was the culture night in norrkoping, and that equals a night that hippie, artsy people are all over the place. it felt like asheville! i spent some hours wandering the streets, going into local independent stores, listening to music, drawing on a cathedral floor, hearing poetry, and visiting my favorite little music shop which smells like incense & has cool, funky music. oh yes, it was a good day to turn 37!

october: traveling again!

 lina’s parents celebrated their 60th birthdays by taking the family to greece for a week. seriously? a trip to warm, sunny greece in the middle of fall?! nothing could be better! and it was a fantastic, amazing time with all 6 adults & 4 kids!

 for halloween & the end of october, we were off to ireland to visit some friends for a long weekend! we spent 3 days in dublin doing all things irish, from visiting the guinness storehouse/brewery to eating in cafes to shopping in the best places to walking in parks to touring cathedrals to hanging out at pubs, eating amazing food, watching irish dancing, and visiting the coastal areas north of dublin. i wanna go back!!!! (and we will next september! our friends are getting married!)


 we celebrated our second thanksgiving in sweden in november. we invited family that had never experience thanksgiving before and ate traditional american thanksgiving food (yes. i cooked it… with help from lina!). then, after a big, long dinner, we cleaned up the dishes and got right to the decorating of our apartment for christmas. the holiday season had arrived!


yes. a truly amazing year. i am overwhelmed, humbled, excited, and in awe of the journey so far… who know’s what 2012 holds in store for me, my love, little zola, & our crazy, beautiful life together. whatever it brings, i’m ready!

welcome, 2012!!! i’m waiting!

happy new year’s eve, dear readers!  celebrate big – wherever you are & whoever you’re with! peace.

like a true hippie.

 ‎1.5 million served. 30,000 wounded. 4,500 lost lives – american lives & iraqi lives.  thousands of iraqis displaced, refugees in other countries now. many of whom i have met here in in sweden. and finally, after tons of money, years of violence, and a country turned upside-down… almost 9 years later, the war in iraq is over. the question is, what do we do now? will we continue to turn to war in order to solve our problems or spread our beliefs/philosophies (we americans said that we wanted iraq to be democratic. did we ask them? did we consider their history & their culture?) or will we dig down deep, swallow our pride, think of others, and seek the way of peace instead? it’s up to us. only we can choose.

war is over. if we want it to be.

in december 1971 john lennon released a song, inspired by another war. the viet nam war. a time when many people gathered together to protest violence & to spread a message of peace instead. yes. i am a true hippie. i really do believe in peace. i love john lennon, mother theresa, martin luther king, jr., bono, and ghandi. i like rainbows & music & flowers. i think that people can live in harmony with one another. i hope for acceptance, diversity, & respect. i admire the weird, eclectic people in the world who not afraid to be unique & different. i like to dance in a drum circle. i hug trees. i shop fair trade when i can. i am thankful & in awe of the beautiful world, which i believe we are called to take care of.  and i will protest & share a message of peace anytime & anywhere i can. yep. i believe that it is possible… a world of love.

please listen (click on the song title) & think about how to spread love, not hate. not only at christmas, but every day of the year: happy christmas (war is over)

peace. and i mean it. for real.

# 5. new york city!

what i can say about this crazy city that’s known as the crossroads of the world? it’s fantastic & amazing!! i’ve been there several times, but i’ve probably only spent a total of 3 days there. and every time i was there, it was for some other reason… an interview, leading a youth mission trip. so, this was the first time i was there with no responsibilities except to ensure that my love and i enjoyed every minute. and that we did! after 2 weeks at the beach, a trip to asheville, and then a few days back at the beach we headed up to NYC in my parents’ rv. (by the way, they are amazing for driving us up & down the eastern seaboard!). it was a confusing time of emotions for me… leaving the beach area & my family, knowing it would be a while until i set foot on NC soil again, and heading to the Big Apple for some fun. i couldn’t quite figure out my emotions on the ride up. nevertheless, the inevitable came and we said goodbye to my parents… hate that. but we were immediately swept away in a cab and driven directly to our hotel room in the middle (and i mean freaking middle) of Times Square! it was an awesome location! we spent the 2 days & 2 nights in times square, on broadway, shopping on 5th avenue, exploring central park, and soaking up all the culture, craziness, & people all around us. i can’t wait until we head back for a few more days (in the unknown future) so we can visit a few different areas which we are dying to see (greenwich village, etc.)!

but, for now, here are some snapshots of the bright lights & big city!

just one short block away from our hotel room lies this madness… love it!

we are heeeeeerrrreeee!!!!

all the people. all the noise. all the lights. it’s electrifying!

our cozy little NYC home for 2.5 days. i recommend it because of it’s location!

good morning, NYC!

after our starbucks fix, we went to see harry potter in 3D (at 10:15 in the morning. felt weird.) – on the day that it opened in the States!

a little rock climbing in central park. who knew? well, i didn’t.

ok. there is one thing i was dying to do… see the Dakota, the apartment building where john lennon lived (and was killed, as well). we walked and walked to get to the upper west side, and couldn’t find the building anywhere. i was certain of the address, but the only thing that was there was this building under renovation. seriously, what would be the chances that the Dakota was being renovated while we were there? well, after asking around, i found out that indeed, this was the correct place. and it was indeed under renovation. so, there you go. the Dakota. in all it’s scaffolding-covered glory. unbelieveable. but, once i thought about it, it was fine. i mean, i was walking all over john lennon’s NYC neighborhood. freaking amazing. 

upper west side homes. gorgeous.

woo hoo! and on this coming sunday, marriage equality will become a reality in the state of new york. YES! 

just a few hours after this picture, we were on our plane headed for sweden. thank you, NYC, for giving us a great time!!!

tomorrow is the last post from our summer 2011 USA trip… so be sure check it out!


give peace a chance.


i’m watching a documentary on john lennon and NYC. i’m so into john lennon. he may have been seen as crazy, wild, & over-the-top to some; but he was straighforward, honest, and human. and determined to deliver the message of peace. sometimes i wonder if i was born too late. i would’ve been right in the middle of the hippie, artsy, anti-war movements of the 70s.

oh, man, i love this stuff.