the summer solstice: magic + light + energy = time to follow your bliss

it’s nine in the evening as i write this, and the solstice is upon us.


monday’s sunset

today, in the northern hemisphere, we are celebrating the longest day of the year. the day that is the culmination of all of the light-gathering that has been occurring since the winter solstice back  in december. every day since then, we have been marching forward to this very moment. this moment when light and warmth and heat are the most powerful + abundant.

we celebrate being alive. being aware. and where we have come from since our last solstice.


tuesday’s sunset

what did you imagine for your life back in december? whether you were celebrating the solstice back then or not, it was the end of 2014, and with that ending, i am certain that we all said a few prayers or had a few dreams and wishes for the new year that was upon us. what were yours? do you remember?

if you were reading my blog back then, then you might have even joined me in picking a word for 2015 – a word to light your way, to inspire you + to guide you. what was your word? have you thought about it? have you used it? is it still relevant?

 if you didn’t pick a word, then what would your word be now – for the last 6 months of 2015 that lie ahead of us? what do you want or need to focus on?


wednesday’s sunset

as part of my summer solstice celebration today, i have gone back to my journal and my blog posts at the end of 2014. i have reread the things that i wrote, and brought up the old feelings and hopes that i had locked deep inside me as i wondered what 2015 would bring me as i chose my word for 2015: empowered.

here’s some of what i wrote last december about choosing the word empowered.

“for 2015 i am focusing on the power that is within me to push me to follow through with many things that i need + want in my life. the word feels just perfect to me. ultimately it is simply a kick in the ass. a movement from being to doing. and yet, all of my action comes from a deeply grounded place within me. it feels like a balanced word. a balance from the power that i can draw from the well of my soul, that thrusts me forward. it’s a word that reminds me that there are things to do and a life to live and it’s time to make shit happen. no holding back. i am fearless. powerful. ready. disciplined. that right… i’m empowered.”

in many ways, i have been embracing + living out my word. but, in many ways, i also have much, much more to do.

however, when i slow down just enough to really think about it… though i may not have burst on the scene of 2015 with guns blazing, like i thought i would. and, even if it has taken me some time to “find myself” again, now that i am back in sweden. i realize that it needed to take me a while to settle in.

but, here’s the critical part: in all of those processes over the past 6 months, i have found myself now at a crossroads, a jumping off point. it’s as if i can just now see that the first 6 months were the groundwork i needed to do in order to launch into my active cycle of empowerment for the second part of the year. i’ve been building the power within, and now it’s time for it all to burst out and push me forward.


thursday’s sunset

it’s time to fly, baby!

and you know what? it really is time for us to fly. that’s what the summer solstice is all about. what we’ve been holding close to our hearts for the past six months is aching to be released into the here and now. the energy has been building, and today, when the sun is high + the day is long + the light is oh so bright, today, is the culmination and gathering of all of that energy.


friday’s sunset: midsummer’s eve in sweden (not take at my apartment. we are at a party)

the word solstice means the standing of the sun and it is also time for us to stop, be still, listen to our inner voice, remember past promises to ourselves and make preparations for the road ahead. on the solstice we have the luxury of being still and gathering all of that energy. at the winter solstice, we cast our dreams out into the universe, inspired by the magic of the winter darkness. since then everything has been on its journey outward towards manifestation, the journey towards light. with the summer solstice the process of everything turning inward begins once more. now is when our intentions are set to propel us towards our dreams.

today, during the summer solstice, we are at our brightest, most filled with magic and light and energy. as i read somewhere else, “the soil of our soul is ripe for manifesting”. now is the time, friends to live with our true purpose. to embrace fully our own true path.

we are filled with energy, excitement, expectation, and positivity. if we don’t quite feel that way today, the feeling will come. everything in the universe is conspiring with us to help us follow our bliss. right now, as if the light + power of midsummer were not enough, the moon is becoming is increasing in size, towards its next full moon.


saturday’s sunset

the bottom line, friends, it’s time for some freaking awesome action.

have you had a change on your mind lately? has your soul been whispering to you of your dreams? this is it. this is the time to begin to act on it all. have courage. believe. trust. and leap into the great, unbelievable unknown.

we are all bursting at the seams in one way or another… it’s all of that energy that’s been building up since the winter solstice. it is ready to be released. you are ready. i am ready. today is the day that we start marching forward into making our dreams into a reality. we really can start to live our bliss. it’s time to break free from all of our fears and struggles and embrace that freedom that is calling our name. nothing is impossible. anything is possible. the life that we have been created to live is right there in front of us…

summer-solstice-sunset-sweden-2sunday’s sunset: the summer solstice!

so, accept + celebrate the journey that you are on. take some time today to reflect now where you have been since the winter’s solstice. and set your intentions for where you want to go.

by all means get outside if you can. bask in the sunlight, enjoy the long day. let that energy rush through you, preparing you for the next part of your journey.

i, personally, just went outside to take the above photo, and sat on a bench for about 10 minutes, just breathing in the air. a stranger walked by me and went into my building, greeting me with an infection, joyful “hello!” – not a super common thing, for swedes to just randomly stalk to strangers. but, with the sunset + his hello + all of this energy, i just felt as if i was overwhelmed with joy + excitement in the simplicity of the beauty of the moment.

go and celebrate this solstice, my friends, knowing that who you are + where you are, are perfectly aligned, with the universe. everything is set. we’ve been journeying to this moment since december (and since our whole lives). the light has filled us and we are bursting with anticipation. it’s time to claim the life that we want to live. to claim our own unique purpose in life.

and to shine like the sun.

a blessed solstice to you all!

onwards + upwards! xo

all of the sunset photos are taken by me this week as we journeyed toward the summer solstice today. i wanted to record the late sunsets that we enjoy here in sweden, where the sun does not set until about 11pm. the light has most definitely affected me and energized me. magic + love! woo hoo!

A Prayer to the Sun

The sun is high above us
shining down upon the land and sea,
making things grow and bloom.
Great and powerful sun,
we honor you this day
and thank you for your gifts.
Ra, Helios, Sol Invictus, Aten, Svarog,
you are known by many names.
You are the light over the crops,
the heat that warms the earth,
the hope that springs eternal,
the bringer of life.
We welcome you, and we honor you this day,
celebrating your light,
as we begin our journey once more
into the darkness.

prayer from here.


meditation mondays: as faithful as the light

did you feel it? did you see it? did you notice that the sun rose just a tad bit earlier today? the dark half of the year is over for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, and the season of light is upon us. isn’t it just amazing how year after year after year we dread and endure the dark + cold. and then, year after year after year, nature does her thing and brings the light back, making the days ever so slightly longer as each one passes.

whether you celebrate nature or christmas or hanukkah or kwanzaa or some other religion or nothing at all, this is a powerful time of the year. we cannot deny what we see, what happens to our days, how the earth is faithful to her patterns. for me, personally, the celebration of christmas, is a beautiful metaphor for the same things that we see in nature. light comes, new life begins and grows, and then dies. darkness takes over, and just when all hope is lost, we remember that the light will return again. always. it is a faithful cycle – this christian story and the story of nature herself. ultimately it is all a story of hope. it is the story of what the world is supposed to be, and how, in the end, love always wins.


i woke early this morning, in the darkness, and decided to watch the sun rise. i had a cup of coffee and the living room all to myself, as everyone else still slept soundly. i just love these long, dark december mornings alone. and even though i was inside and it was completely cloudy outside, making it not the most spectacular sunrise i’ve ever seen, the light still arrived. and it was beautiful.

as i watched and waited, i listened to my song for the day from my december photo challenge: oh come all ye faithful. {you can listen to the song –> here} as i listened, the word “faithful” kept tugging at me, as if it was a message to me. mixed with the message of gathering to adore the newborn christ child, there was something deeper i felt. a call to my soul.

every year i choose a word to guide me through out the year. this year, the word has been paradise, somewhere along the way, it became the word wild. i’ve been spending the past week working on discovering my word for 2015 – and i came up with empowered. it felt so big, and whole, and complete. balanced, i suppose. empowered and inspired, and empowered to act. i know that i need a balance of being + doing in 2015. i need a kick in the ass, and i feel it will be a very practical, nose-to-the-grindstone kind of year. but, that feels very focused and good to me. of course, it will all be supported by my mediation practices. so, yeah, empowered feels quite nice… powerful + inspired.

but, today, this word faithful seemed to spark something in me. and i wondered, is that a better word for me?


as i watched the sun + the light return faithfully to the earth, i began to feel that faithfulness is exactly what i need in 2015. the sun, the moon, the stars, all of nature are faithful to their calling to bring forth their light. the christ child is born + remains faithful to his calling to share a message of love and hope for all people – regardless. perhaps, focusing on being faithful – faithful to my authentic self + to my calling to be the light  – is exactly what i need…

i’m going to think about it some more. and just let this holiday week, with its celebration of light + love come as it will. i’ll let the word faithful roll around in my head and perhaps take hold of my soul. and, then i will decide.

for now, though, the light has returned to faithfully inspire and warm and remind us that we, too, are children of the light. it’s time to bask in its glory.

light + love to you all. xx


the magic of the longest night + a family ’round the table

i’ve been preparing for the winter solstice for days, even weeks, anticipating it with excitement, thinking + pondering + feeling + reading all of the signs in my life. listening to my soul. observing nature. slowing down + letting the dark mornings i’ve spent alone before the sun rises wrap around me like a warm blanket. today, however, the solstice is finally upon us northern hemisphere dwellers. the night has finally come.

and it is the longest night of the year. which, by itself, sounds like a drawn out tortuous day of darkness + boredom. in reality, however, it is a day of beauty and celebration. a day of warmth and hope and energy and light. how interesting is that? the longest, darkest night of the year brings us light + hope. but, it’s true, i believe. though the daylight hours are short, and the night seems to go on forever, with the darkness engulfing us, it is only because it is the longest night that we make the turn toward light. beginning tomorrow, the light returns to this part of the earth. from here on out, until the summer solstice, the days are longer and the sun shines a minute or two more each and every day. this day, that seems so hopeless, is actually filled with possibility. a day for dreaming dreams and setting intentions. a day for leaving behind all of the things of the previous year, harnessing the energy that the light brings, and celebrating the newness that comes with a new year.

of course, in order to endure this dark time of year, it is necessary to create as much coziness as possible. it’s the perfect time to light candles and string up twinkle lights. to warm ourselves with toasty drinks of mulled wine + cider. to decorate our homes with greenery, lest we forget that underneath all of the cold + snow + dark, life still exists. and even though we are inside during most of this time of the year, if we gather together, we can feel the glow of love, the energy of life, moving between us. and, if we dare to stand or sit outside in the middle of the darkness for just a minute, if we find the courage to embrace the darkness, then we learn how much the dark has to teach us, and we understand the beauty of the night.

i have celebrated this winter solstice very simply. i began the day by taking part in our little family advent candle lighting ritual. an little moment meant to acknowledge that we are still journeying toward christmas, that we are still seeking love and light.


and then, after doing some errands (and christmas shopping on my own!), lina and i prepared a dinner for our parents. yes, the joy of this season, one that i did not realize would be quite as moving as it is, is that we are celebrating this holiday with both of our parents. it is so amazing. we picked up loan’s parents at the airport last night, and spent our first day together today – just resting and relaxing, so they could get over some jet lag. but, we decided to invite my parents over for dinner.

the six of us gathered around our dining table, eating food + drinking wine/beer, reacquainting ourselves with each other, laughing, joking, and sharing the simple pleasures of a family gathering. i had no idea how much this would affect me, how emotional i would be to be able to celebrate and share this time with each other.


family table solstice christmas

after dinner, i snuck away for a few minutes by myself on the balcony. this was going to be the heart of my solitary solstice celebration. i took a candle out, wrapped myself in a big blanket, and grabbed my journal + a pen. i must have sat outside in the near-freezing temperature for about 30 minutes. the air was cold, but i was warm. i sat and thought. i wrote, and i gazed at the light of the candle, flickering in the darkness. i fell the hope of a new season, a new year, new opportunities. i jotted down something that i knew i needed to leave behind now. i gave up and left some old patterns of thinking and ways of being. and i harnessed the energy inside me that will carry me throughout this next phase in my life.



now, the apartment is quiet. i’m back inside, warm and toasty. the tree is lit and a christmas movie plays in the background. everyone else is in bed. there is a wonderful sense of rest + calm in my home. and i know, that when the sun rises tomorrow, the light will have returned. yes, it is very, very dark now – in the middle of the nigh – but, i feel at peace. i feel present and alive and ready. but, i am not in a hurry. i’ll let the darkness be as it is right now – and i’ll simply be aware + embrace it.

tomorrow, the light returns again.


light + love xx

manifesting your dreams: my summer solstice celebration

as you may have figured out, if you have been reading my blog for a while, i love certain times of the year that lend themselves to reflection and renewal: times like the new calendar year, anniversaries, birthdays, certain religious/spiritual holidays (lent) and changes of the season.

with the changes of the seasons, there is often a celebration of the solstice – especially during the winter & summer solstice. there is so much symbolism within these seasons and the cycles of life that they represent. in the winter, we are surrounded by darkness, but it is a cold and a darkness that down not overcome us – as the holiday evergreen trees remind us. and, in the summer, as the days become lighter and brighter, and we soak up the rays of the sun on the longest day of the year, we celebrate life once again – and use the light to reenergize us and motivate us to keep on keeping on.

so, since we are celebrating the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere, and since we’re all filled with the joy and energy of the sun today, i figured it’d be a great time, a halfway mark, to revisit my goals for 2014 and gather all of the energy and inspiration i can from this beautiful, life-filled season that i need to push myself forward to keep working on making my dreams come true in the second half of 2014.


my word for 2014 is paradise: i decided that throughout this year, I wanted to focus on  learning how to create my own paradise – to live the life that i feel called to live. to follow my heart, my soul, and my dreams – and to make things happen.

what follows below is a list of the words that i identified and i dreamed up at the beginning of 2014 words that, i believed, would help me create my paradise – the life that i wish to lead. so, let’s see how i’m doing so far. have i been creating my own paradise? is paradise still even a relevant word for me for 2014?


  • what i’ve done: on random days, i have found myself just heading up some mountain road nearby; not for some extended period of nature activities, but for little drives and stops close to where i live. it’s so easy to access the high mountains here, and just going for a 20 minute drive with a moment to stop and breathe and look out, renews my soul a bit. i’ve also visited some parks to walk or just spend some time, and walked around in the urban places of asheville as well. i suppose it’s been about fitting in little increments of time in nature within my daily life – still, i crave more.
  • what i want to do: camping. enough said. so, for the last half of 2014, i will find some time to go camping and spend some extended time in nature – off the grid. period.



  • what i’ve done: i participated in a mediation series, which i did at home on my gorgeous meditation pillow (a favorite gift from my love last year). i’ve also worn my jape mala beads, which actually have served as a reminder – every time i look down at them or feel them – to breathe, focus, and be present in the moment. i’ve also let go of a lot of guilt i have had about not being connected to any christian church at the moment – that’s just not where i am right now, and my love and i have talked about that a lot. she’s been such a great support as i continue to seek freedom and connection in my spiritual life. i have found a lot of freedom in making personal time important and rediscovering spiritual rituals and disciplines that i have always loved. as for community, my fika group that meets every wednesday, has been an endless sours of inspiration, challenging me, offering me different opinions, and giving me a chance to use my spiritual gifts.
  • what i want to do: yoga. like on a regular basis. a class. i will create that time and make it a priority. the end. (or the beginning… hehe).



  • what i have done: well, i did this with my love. we created the perfect balcony setting. it is a magical place – morning, noon, and night. but, especially at night. with candles flickering, cozy lights hung around, friends that gather to sit and chat, comfy seating, some green plants. it’s just been the perfect spot. in fact, i’m enjoying its magic right now as i type this.
  • what i want to do: more of the same. more lights. more candles. more native american influences. more buddhas. more fireflies. amen.

spring balcony magic


  • what i’ve done: i’ve read a lot. simply cozied up somewhere, and read. and i’ve taken photos – a lot of photos – of random, ordinary things. i’ve also experimented with making my photos more minimalist. we changed our bedroom around, stripped it down and made it very simple – the best place to have a lie in, or a cozy evening watching netflix with twinkling lights over our head. i’ve listened and loved the hear people jump in the pool – the *splash* sounds like life. and no tv. i’ve cut way back on turning on the tube just to have sound. i’ve let silence flow into my life – and it has been so sweet.
  • what i want to do: i’m canceling my cable subscription and going all netflix. no more tv in this home. there’s too much other amazing stuff to experience in life. also, i want to cook more – but, that goes with the next word…



  • what i’ve done: i’ve worked out… some. not much, and definitely not enough. i have also cut out most drinks (minus coffee, beer, and wine – as i am sure you can tell) from my life that are not water or juice. yes, i still have the occasional coca cola, but, if you new me before, you’d know that i practically had an iv of coca cola in my arm. i don’t even miss it much now. woo hoo!
  • what i want to do: cook more and eat better – much. much more fresh food. i want to make the farmer’s market a weekly destination to stock up on local fruits and veggies, and eat what’s in season, in that season. of course, i want to work out and move around more – i need to. plus, that will boost my energy level even more. so, exercise and yoga. boooyah.

tacos food


  • what i’ve done: we’ve had tons of visitors in asheville during the first half of the year, and it has been amazing. i’ve wandered in these mountains, showing off the best that the asheville area has to offer, visiting old favorite places and a few new. i’ve also been to new york city for a week – which was incredible! and all i did there was wander. it was like an urban heaven.
  • what i want to do: i’ve got more travel planned – much more! the beach with my family next week – an old, familiar, nostalgic trip i love. then, sweden in a week!! for a whole month! later on the year, we may be headed back to nyc to do some photos/videoing for some of our friends who are getting married – on my birthday! and, maybe new orleans sometime in october. oh yeah.

financial district nyc


  • what i’ve done: i have made significant progress on getting things together to write my fika book – i have a basic manuscript, which needs lots of editing! but, i’m on my way. i relaunched my fika blog (the fika girl) and it feels so right. as far as it goes with my love and i, what can i say? i fall in love more and more every single day. she is amazing – and simply sharing everyday moments with her just takes my breath away.
  • what i want to do: publish that fika book! i will get at least an e-book out by the end of the year. i will! and i want to be well on my way with the print version. i also want to keep balancing my passion for my love and our crazy life always making sure that she knows that the is the most important thing in my life. she makes everything possible, and all of life more beautiful.

journal moleskin

so far in 2014, i have been creating an atmosphere, visioning and manifesting a life that is beautiful and calm and meaningful – one that i truly love. a life where i have learned to soak up the moments.

now, that i have created this sacred space in my everyday, ordinary life, it’s time to work. the inspiration is all there. the beauty and love and magic are all there. it’s time to put it all to use. in other words, it’s time to make shit happen.

here’s to celebrating the energy of the sun today, to the moments of closing our eyes and letting that energy fill us, so that it sustains us throughout the rest of the year – a year filled with love and happiness – a year that includes reaching for the stars and making dreams come true. a year of creating our paradise.

happy solstice! peace & love. xx

the magic of the winter solstice.

happy winter, northern hemisphere family!


“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  ~ Edith Wharton

i woke up really early this morning. like about 5 am. of course, it was dark, and would stay dark for almost 3 more hours. i have been thinking of the winter solstice ever since december began… and i found it on my mind again this morning. and as i lay there, exhausted and cozy, i decided that i would spend the entire day today celebrating the  winter solstice with rituals and cozy moments.

i may sound a bit pagan to you right now, and if i do, then that’s fine, because there is nothing wrong with celebrating nature and the cycle of seasons, in my mind. in fact, given that i believe in a divine being, creative creator of all that is and was and will be, then nature is naturally (ha!) a part of the divine creation. religions, faith, spirituality, myths, and pagan traditions/rituals all seek to explain that divine being and our place in this world. seasons are a very concrete way, in my opinion, to demonstrate and embody the divine spark found in every living thing.

anyway, i lay in bed early this morning, wondering what little traditions and ways of celebrating the winter solstice i could create today. soon, i fell back asleep. but, i awoke again, still before the sun was up, and decided my first act would be to greet the day by watching the sun rise.

so, i made some chai tea, lit a candle, wrapped up in a blanket, and curled up in a chair on my balcony. it was chilly and very windy, but not uncomfortable. in fact, it was quite magical and mystical. all of my neighbros’ windows were dark. there were no people stirring or moving about. only a few cars passed on the road nearby. it was as if i was the only one awake. just me and nature.

IMG_6882as i sat there, the miracle that occurs every morning occurred. and i soaked in every magical, breathtaking moment. 

IMG_6883 IMG_6884 IMG_6888 IMG_6897 IMG_6904

today, the winter solstice, is the perfect day for slowing down and reflecting. the perfect day for celebrating the return of light back to the top half of the world. and this day is the reminder that the light, does indeed return, just as it does every year. it is the light that brings hope;  the same light that i also believe we find within each of us.

well, i spent about an hour and a half, alone, on my balcony. watching the sky brighten and turn colors, feeling the wind on my face, and hearing the chiming of wind chimes, as if they were announcing the arrival of light over the next few days.


for me, celebrating the coming of light is literal and metaphorical. today and for the next six months, it is literal. the days begin to get brighter as the earth continues its rotation around the sun. light literally returns. and as these next few days pass, we also move ever closer to the celebration of christmas, the celebration of the light that comes to earth in a person. for me, this is the celebration of that light that is found in everyone of us… a light that makes us who we are, that connects us to each other, and calls us to live lives of peace, justice, and love. christian, jew, muslin, pagan, hindu, buddhist… whatever. that light, that divinity, is what makes us spiritual, amazing people.


after the sun had risen and i came in, i decided to continue my celebration all day. so, i lit the christmas tree and the stars we have in our windows. i turned on a cozy playlist of christmas music, and settled down with my journal. on tap for the rest of my day, for the rest of my celebration, is a little of this and that: snuggling with the cat. reflecting on the past year and creating a photo journey of my 2013. meditating on my intentions and hopes for 2014. more christmas music. wine and glögg. and pj’s all day.


celebrations of the winter solstice are thousands and thousands of years old. and people from all parts of the world have celebrated the fact that nature’s cycle continues. it is a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always chaining and renewing.

so, if you have a chance, today or tomorrow, spend a few moments giving thanks for the light that brings hope. and take part in whatever little ritual, tradition, or moment you wish to slow down and mark the passing of this part of the cycle of life. this time of year, where, when all seems lost and that death & darkness have a firm grip on us, the sun returns. the light comes to us. all is not lost. life continues and hope abounds.

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.” ~ Joseph Campbell 

“I will love the light for it shows me the way.  Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

peace and light… to the world. xx

wednesday wisdom. 7 ways to be grateful.

i came across an article in the huffington post about 7 things that thankful people do, of the 7 habits of grateful people. i thought it was really interesting and it really rang true to me, so i decided to share the tips/ideas with you on this thanksgiving eve.

there is something to be said for living a life with an attitude of gratitude. i believe that the biggest benefit of it is how being grateful not only puts things into perspective in our lives = makes us less whiney; but it also helps us live in the present moment. i believe that the attitude of gratitude and being thankful is the same as learning how to give positive energy off into the world. we’re all responsible to what we send “out there”, and what we do send out, will be most definitely what we receive back.

i’ve known people who are always negative, always in that “poor me” mode and always complaining about one thing or another, or everything. these attitudes suck me dry. and while i may care about the people, i need and want and choose to surround myself with positivity because i want that positive energy to rub off onto me so that i can then rub some of my positivity off on others.

it’s like a light, you know. tomorrow is also the beginning of hannukah, the jewish season celebrating light (which also happens within the christian church during this season = the “light” came into the world). actually, if you are aware of it, pagans also celebrate light this season, as light returns to the world through the cycle of nature once the winter solstice (the shortest & darkest day of the year) has passed in the northern hemisphere. so, light literally returns as the days get longer after december 21st.

but, it’s that light that i want to spread. whether you think of it as a divine and sacred spark inside all of us, or our connection with nature, that light, that energy, that positiveness is what i want to share with the world. not grumpiness, or gloominess, or darkness or negativity.

so, thanksgiving and hannukah are exactly what we need right now. we need a gratitude check – a chance to give thanks for all that is in our lives. and i am so not talking about the material stuff, though we can give thanks for that too, if we want. begin thankful is being aware. it is being alive in this moment, embracing it and all that goes along with it.

so, let’s see how we can bring more gratefulness back into our lives, and let’s see what kind of impact we can make when all we do is spread light and love and joy. and here are 7 ways we can begin to live in gratitude and spread a little light.

  1. journal: writing it all down reinforces all of our positive thoughts and helps us set goal and dream big dreams, thus leading to inner peace and contentedness.
  2. don’t avoid the negative: the key to leading a thankful life is embracing setbacks as part of our entire life journey.
  3. spend time with loved ones: community – family & friends are key in our lives. we are not alone, and we should not let others be alone.
  4. mindfully use social media: spread joy, not hate
  5. know the value of the little things: stop & smell the roses, take time, slow down.
  6. volunteer: there is nothing like helping others
  7. get moving: getting our blood pumping will give us way more energy, help us feel less stressed, and teach us to love life a little more (it’s those endorphins).


“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence… O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

oh, how grateful i am for you. peace and love.

celebrating the birthday girl!

“The year you were born marks only your entry into the world. Other years .. they are the ones worth celebrating.
” ― Jarod Kintz405933_10151350305036862_1276282280_n

today is my love’s birthday!! there are, of course, not enough words to adequately describe how i feel about my wife… the joy that she brings me. the deep, ever-growing love and dedication i have to her and to building & living our life together. i have always known that there is a special, bright light that shines from within lina; but, not until this past year, and perhaps not even until these past few months, have i understood just how bright and amazing and life-giving that light is. she is my hero. my inspiration. my soulmate. my partner. my best friend. and the love of my life. to be able to hold her hand, look into her eyes, laugh with her, snuggle with her, and just be in her presence fills my soul like nothing else. a few times in the past year i have literally been afraid that i might lose her, that his world might lose her. but, this amazing woman, this dreamer, this creative, loving soul, this talented and beautiful woman, held on; and the light shining from within is brightening up my life more than ever. new adventures, new moments, and new challenges await us on the horizon. and, together, with this love that we share, we journey on!

today i celebrate the day that this light, my love, was brought into the world.

happy birthday, baby! i love you!

me and you and the moon.

moon“the moon is a loyal companion. it never leaves. it’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. every day it’s a different version of itself. sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. the moon understands what it means to be human. uncertain. alone. cratered by imperfections.” ― Tahereh MafiShatter Me

goodnight, my lovelies. peace.

celebrating renewal!

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

“the secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possible can.” ~ mike dooley

“i have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” ~ j.b. priestly

“easter is the demonstration of god that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.” ~charles m. crowe

“there is a fragrance in the air, a certain passage of a song, an old photograph falling out from the pages of a book, the sound of somebody’s voice in the hall that makes your heart leap and fills your eyes with tears. who can say when or how it will be that something easters up out of the dimness to remind us of a time before we were born and after we will die?” ~ frederick beuchner

“things are always better in the morning.” ~ harper lee

“i couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. it was a giant reset button. you could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.”
~ Avery Sawyer.

“reshaping life! people who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. they look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. if you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”
― boris pasternak

“i believe that when you stop renewing and are no longer open to change and the possibilities that continually unfold, you stop being alive and are just getting through the years. transformation doesn’t happen unless you’re willing: it’s your choice.” ~ oprah winfrey

“perhaps the earth can teach us. as when everything seems dead, and later proves to be alive.” ~ pablo neruda

come out of the darkness. celebrate the light. a new day is upon us! with the morning, life is renewed once again. we have a new beginning.  a new chance to follow our dreams, to live life, to be who exactly who we are. the question is… what are our dreams? who are we? and what are we going to do with our life today?! one thing is for sure, we have one more opportunity to celebrate life!

happy easter, everyone! peace, light, & love.


this morning my love & i sipped coffee and talked about emptiness. about feeling empty inside. lost. unrest.

we talked about what makes a person good.

we talked about learning to love ourselves and others.

and we talked about the places & people that fill up the emptiness that is inside. we realized that there is no one magical thing that fills up the emptiness within, but, instead it’s a bunch of little things that fill our soul bit by bit. and perhaps the goal of life is to fill our souls constantly…perhaps to live life to the fullest means to do just that. we seek to know who we are, what touches us, and what fills us. and when we allow ourselves to seek those people and things, then we are living from our soul. and the emptiness is not so overwhelming.

of course, perhaps we are never completely filled with everlasting fullness and peace. life is more of a balancing act. there are days that we wake up and feel empty and we don’t know why. then there are other days that we feel so full that we are overflowing. and there are days that we feel everything in between. but, to achieve that sense of inner peace, and to fill up those empty holes of hopelessness as much as possible, is an ongoing journey. it is the journey of life.

we are meant to be full, to live life to the fullest, to feel peace that comes from deep within, to laugh, love, dance, enjoy. getting to know ourselves, finding those things that fill and touch our souls, and living life surrounded by those people, places, things, and activities that fill our soul… these all give us a sense of being. a sense of peace & love. and a life that is worth living.

in the christian world, today is a dark, empty, hopeless day. jesus is dead and in the tomb. his followers are crushed. confused. disappointed. and completely without hope. i am reminded of all of the others in my life who have already died and been laid to rest. and i feel how much i miss them all. i am also thinking of all of the others in the world who live life every day feeling crushed. confused. disappointed. and hopeless. i am aware of how we all just want to run and hide because of all of the emptiness we feel. how we all just want to feel that life is worth living.

the journey is almost over, though. the journey through the darkness. it’s time to remember that even though we feel empty and hopeless, there is always light and hope. there is new life, a new chance, new opportunities, and new inspiration just around the corner. the darkness and emptiness does not last. death will be defeated. pain and suffering will end. and, in the end, love will win. we just have to keep holding on… keep filling our souls with the things that give us life.

so, today, if you feel empty somewhere inside, be aware of it. feel the emptiness & hopelessness. and then, seek out something or someone that fills your soul. let it fill you with peace and hope. and then fall madly in love with your life again.

i’m gonna do just that. i’m spending the day with my love & her family. the sun is shining. i’m anticipating much laughter and craziness. and then, tonight, i’m gonna tuck myself into my cozy bed, with my love by my side, and take a deep breath and remind myself…

life is good. i am blessed. and love is the purpose of it all.


And if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You’ll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends

~mumford and sons

hoping that your saturday fills your soul with peace.