and so summer begins!

june

i think it’s been a few years since i’ve been as excited about summer as i am this summer. the past 2 summers have been crazy, strange, different, and somewhat difficult – well, not so much last summer. the summer of 2012 was very hard, with lina in the hospital practically the whole time; and last summer (2013) was crazy & amazing. but, it was really intense with more hospital stuff, moving out of our swedish apartment, and then our move back to the states to begin a whole new life. big stuff, ya know.

this summer began with all of our swedish visitors coming and going, and a week-long trip to new york city in-between – a pretty awesome start to the warm, sunny months, i’d say. and now, we have had a tiny bit of down time. a chance to just be at home and enjoy the quirky beauty that is asheville. and, oh, have we soaked it up.

you know, usually i do (create) a monthly photo challenge. in fact, i have been creating and participating in photo challenges for 2 years now. however, june rolled around and i thought and thought about creating something for this month. but, something inside of me was nudging me to just be. to just enjoy this month and the next – without the pressure or challenge (which are good things!) of taking a photo every day, and without having to come up with a theme to create a new list. now that it’s two weeks into june, in the midst of just enjoying the days & the moments as they pass, i am finding that, while it was weird in the beginning to not be inspired by a daily focus/prompt, it feels good to be free from a photo challenge. i think i needed a break.

all that to say, i have been more present in the moment, more aware of what is going on, and more focused on people, than on photos. of course i’ve snapped tons of photos anyway – that’s just how i roll, since i love photography. but, it’s been without planning. and without thinking. and that feels freeing. and right.

so far this june i have read a lot, written a lot of articles for the paper, worked on my fika book, enjoyed a lot of coffee and beer, dined outside every single chance i get, and – most importantly – spent tons of time with my love and our friends. from making new friends, and opening our lives & home to some lovely, lovely ladies… to celebrating with pure excitement and joy that our amazing friend paige has now moved to asheville, making it her official home, i have felt so blessed and grateful for the life that i lead.

the rest of my summer seems to only bring more excitement and fun – tomorrow, i’ve got a little road trip planned to see first aid kit in concert, some more articles to write for the paper next week, my reynolds family annual beach week in one week, and then a month-long trip to sweden for all of july. then, there’s still august!

so, no, there will not be any photo challenges for me throughout the summer. instead, i will take photos of whatever inspires me, whatever moment i want to capture and remember, whatever little moment that i want to hold dear in my heart, hoping that when i look back at the photo later on, i will look back with fondness and stir the old feelings that i once had.

now, let me share with you some of those moments from the first 12 days of june – moments that warm my soul and make me smile.
reading smores frappe

black mountain fika group me little saturday

lina and me wedge swedish flag me and lina

it was sweden’s national day on june 6th – so we flew our little swedish flag & wore sweden’s colors!

summer food

my love farm burger asheville french broad river friends

photo by lina lina and paige
photo by linathe by water katherine and me friends by the river french broad paige and me
photo by linafika double d's lina and me

i wish you all of the happiness, relaxation, joy, & adventures that you want and need. you deserve it!

peace & love. xx

 

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.

6 down. 6 to go.

how is it possible that today is the last day of june?! where has this year gone? we are halfway through 2012 already. it’s crazy.

well, because it’s the last day of the first half of the year i thought i’d do a little looking back (you know how i am about reflecting & reminiscing. i love it.). there  have been some really great things (a visit from a friend in the states, my job becoming a permanent position, plenty of cozy moments with my love), but it has also been quite a difficult 6 months as well. the past 2 months have given me a chance to reflect a lot, and i have realized that i have been in survival mode in some ways… enjoying & clinging to the amazing moments, of which there have been plenty. but, also fighting and surviving through some really difficult things. things that require much more fighting.

but, in some ways, i think that my survival mode has been what’s kept me sane. that, and my understanding that even though things are tough, there is something beautiful to be found in every day. still, i think that my instincts to be strong & fight get me into some kind of groove where i don’t realize how bad things may be. i am an eternal optimist. and a true believer in the idea that all things teach us something, all moments, all struggles can transform us if we allow it. and it’s good that i’m like that. but, if i’m honest, and now that i can look back, i have gained much more perspective. i can see all the amazing moments and all of the moments that i felt scared & defeated. it’s a little like 2012 has been oil & vinager. good & bad. amazing & heart-breaking.

i know i haven’t written much about the heartbreak & fear on my blog, but it is very personal. perhaps one day i will tell that story. for now, though, i am still in the middle of living it. still fighting, still adjusting to changes in my life, still clinging on to hope , still fighting, and still learning. it’s still too soon to write about it publicly.

but, as i embark on the beginning of the second half of the year tomorrow, i am poised and ready to keep fighting and to keep soaking up the moments of life. i enter the second half of the year certain of how strong i am, more in love with my wife than ever, humbled by the life that i live, and inspired to grab life by the horns and follow our dreams more than ever.

i thought i’d end with my favorite picture from the instagram photo a day challenge this month. i took it when i had some wonderful moments with my love. just being together. soaking up the sun (which has not been around that much this june) and simply enjoying a little stolen moment of peace & love… even in the midst of chaos.

so, today i say goodbye to the first half of 2012. i lay it to rest and close this chapter of the year. i am ready to embark on the second half of the year, with hope, strength, and more love than i could ever imagine for the woman i share my life with. and of course, i am ready to begin my instagram photo a day challenge for july. however, i’m only gonna post my pictures once a week this month. time to switch it up again.

i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again. this photo challenge has inspired me so much. boosted my photography stills. encouraged my creative side. and most definitely given me a chance to slow down each day and see beauty even in the most ordinary and dreary moments. yes, i’m beginning my 5th month of this challenge. perhaps i’m actually going to stick with it through the whole rest of the year?!

join me if you’d like! it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it. just snap a pic & post it somewhere to share with others on Facebook, instagram, your blog, twitter, pinterest. you’ll be amazed how you will begin to see things differently. here’s the list for july thanks to chantelle at fatmumslim!

happy second half of 2012, my dear readers!!

wishing you 6 months filled with love, beauty, happiness, strength, & peace.