clouds-in-the-sky

look up on this earth day

it’s earth day, lovelies. and i could do post after post about how much i love nature. this tree-hugging, water-loving nature girl, however, has decided to focus her earth day celebration on the beauty of the sky.

first thing every single morning and last thing every single night, i gaze out my window + up at the sky. i can’t help but do it. i look up to see the clouds, the sun, the stars. i look up to remind myself how tiny i am and how great this world is. i look up to think about all of those who are far away from me, and remember that we are all standing under the same sky. i look up and wonder what it’s like way up there past our sky. i dream of the stars, of floating on clouds, of flying free. i look up just to breathe.

so, in order to honor this life-giving, awe-inspiring piece of nature on earth day, i have gathered 5 quotes. quotes that i’ve never heard before, but that are so inspiring and beautiful. take a moment, read these words, and then look up.

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“In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.”
― Ishmael BeahA Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life

“I let my head fall back, and I gazed into the Eternal Blue Sky. It was morning. Some of the sky was yellow, some the softest blue. One small cloud scuttled along. Strange how everything below can be such death and chaos and pain while above the sky is peace, sweet blue gentleness. I heard a shaman say once, the Ancestors want our souls to be like the blue sky.”
― Shannon HaleBook of a Thousand Days

“The sky is not my limit…I am.”
― T.F. Hodge

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.”                                ― Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses

wherever you are, my friends, take one little moment and look up. gaze. ponder. breathe. wonder. blink. dream. observe. slow down, just enough to take in all that you see up there. and give thanks for the beautiful earth that holds us and cradles us and gives us life.
isn’t it time that we give a little back? happy earth day, fellow flower children!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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sweden in the spring

hello lovelies! happy tuesday to you, wherever you are. unfortunately, as the beautiful swedish sun is shining, i find myself laying under a blanket on the sofa at home this afternoon feeling puny + yucky. it’s cozy, but not at all the day of writing and working at a café in the sunshine that i had planned.

oh well. a lot has been on my mind lately. about the present moment, and the direction i wish to go in, and what “my thing” is. looking for jobs, and searching any-and everywhere has been making me feel a little all over the place. and completely clogged up. however,  i feel as if i have had some amazing moments + times of reflection lately that seem to be tying a lot of things together. however, i am not rushing into anything. i feel like it’s time to be very grounded, very deliberate, and very focused in how i create the life that i feel called to.

so, perhaps my not feeling tip top is just nature’s way of giving me a day to let a bunch of stuff sink in.

in the meantime, spring is arriving in sweden. colors are beginning to creep back into our nordic world, the air is warming, and life is returning. lina and i have done our best to soak up the sunshine and the beauty over the past couple of days. we even made a quick trip to stockholm just to see the cherry trees in blossom. of course i’ve taken lots of photos and it’s time for me to share them with you!

so, here’s a little burst of spring for you… swedish style! enjoy!

kungstradgarden-stockholm-cherry-trees cherry-blossom pink-tree sky-cherry-tree home-window-spring uppsala-spring-river green-buds-tree
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hope you are enjoying the changing of the seasons in your little corner of the world!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

baltic-cruise-sea

meditation mondays: the girl + the sea

“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.” ― Rolf Edberg

what is it about the sea? that mysterious, powerful, peaceful, ferocious, wild sea? is it because it is a perfect balance of untamed freedom + calming stillness? what is it about the sea that makes me feel so alive and connected and in complete speechless awe? why do i always stand by the sea and feel so huge + so tiny, so important + so insignificant, so connected + so alone all at the the same time?

it simply must be that mystical, magical, ancient connection that we have to it. that sense of living life truly as it is meant to be: a journey through ups + downs, rough times + peaceful times. and it’s constant presence. the feeling that the sea has been around since the beginning. there’s history and spirit and power and life in her waters. and what a privilege it is so simply gaze across her to the horizon far away. what comfort + adventure she provides all at the same time.

yes, i cannot live without being able to feel her waters. or sail on her waves. and breathe her fresh, salty air. i don not live right beside her, but when i can, i visit her shores or ride her waves and i remember who i am. i give thanks for her life-giving qualities. for her range of emotions. and for the balance that she brings to my life + the entire planet.

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my family grew up by the sea. my ancestors were the first to land + live in the US, after crossing her mighty atlantic waters in 1620. more ancestors lived on her coastline, loving her beauty + warning coming sailors of her rough + dangerous north carolina shore in the mid 1800s. i myself have returned to her again + again with my family throughout my entire so that i might be inspired to continue the life of adventure + journey that my ancestors began.

the sea is in my soul. a symbol of sailors + seamen sits permanently on my left ring finger reminding me to sail on. to journey on. to adventure on. to let my life + my family’s life become a life inspired + sustained + balanced + anchored by the sea.

i have many places in nature that inspire me + make me feel connected… where do you find inspiration in nature? what places are powerful to you? share with me!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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death + life + a powerful moon

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Tonight, on this mournful, soulful Good Friday, a full moon rises + a lunar eclipse graces the night sky. And with it comes another cosmic time of great power + opportunity for change. However strong and amazing the change may be, we may also feel in the dark – if you’re like me, than you feel the shift, you know there’s a huge change, but you have no idea what changes are coming. Much like the disciples of Jesus on the night of his death. 

  

The good news is that the only thing we need to do is to intend with our heart and our spirit to allow for the most positive change possible and be willing to go through the discomfort of the ups and downs of the unexpected events that are surely right around the corner. Scary + unsettling? Oh yeah. There is so much in life, and in death, that we don’t understand. 

But, if we simply slow down enough to allow ourselves a chance to breathe + soak in the energy, if we find a way trust in the power of the cycle of the universe, and are crazy enough to believe that all things work for good, that love ultimately wins, then we will be amazed at the transformation that we experience. And we will come to know first hand that even the darkest night ends with the light of the sun. 

This is an exciting and scary and incredible day, but it is one that opens to a new experience of living life at a higher + deeper level. Just imagine the heartbreak and confusion of the followers of Jesus. The one person that they put all of their hopes in, their hero, the one who had come to make a difference and make miracles happen had just been killed in the most horrible + embarrassing of ways. They must have been beyond grief, past confusion, and somewhere on the way to giving up on any hope. It was the darkest of darks. One of those “nothing will make this better” kinds of moments. And yet, they gathered together to help each other through. What else could they do? And somewhere, I believe, in that gathering + clinging to each other, they help in a sliver of hope. They did not give up completely.

So, don’t you give up either. Surround yourself with friends and community this weekend, and celebrate spring and all things new. And, by all means, check out the glorious moon tonight. Be ready for change, dream big, set your intentions, stay faithful, and rejoice. Life begins anew!

Onwards + upwards! xoxo

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40 | april 2015: a playlist for free spirits

it’s playlist time, folks!! another month has come + gone, and i don’t know about you, but i am ready to welcome april with open arms.

i just have to say, i am so humbled + excited that many of you have started exploring the playlists that i have created as part of my turning 40 playlist project. each month, as i create the lists, i feel so energized + inspired. i think of a theme, or usually it seems to be something obvious somehow, and then i just let the songs come to me. sometimes i search around, sometimes i’m inspired by something i hear out + about, but one thing is for sure, i truly, truly look forward to putting the list together. then, when it is complete, i’m like a child on christmas eve, waiting to reveal it to you all – and to begin listening to it myself.

what i am really trying  to say is THANK YOU! thanks for listening + following + inspiring me. next month, i am looking to do a collaborative list, though i don’t know the theme yet. so, be on the lookout for me asking for your help and advice. i think it’ll be fun to create a list together.

in the meantime, let’s focus on april’s playlist! i knew that i wanted it to be nature-centered. so, it is very earthy + celebratory. it’s all about nature, outdoors, being free, and feeling alive. we have weathered the winter, those of us in the northern atmosphere, and life is slowly returning to earth. i personally, have been stuck in my head and wrapped up with myself a lot, and i know that it is time to just live life a bit. to get back to basics and channel my inner flower child. so, i’ve mixed in some upbeat, fun songs and some peaceful, thoughtful songs. all of them make me want to get outside, take my shoes off, lay/run in the grass.

yes, this month is all about channeling our inner bohemian self, our inner nature-lover. it calls to mind cool, magical nights under fairy lights + stars, warm, sunny afternoons reading under a tree, long walks in the late setting sun, rainy sunday afternoons and bursts of color painting us a beautiful world. i’m thinking that freeing my inner bohemian nature is exactly what i need in april. join me!

click below for the playlist:

link: 40 | april 2015: a playlist for free spirits

Wherever Is Your Heart – Brandi Carlile
See It For Yourself – Sugar & The Hi Lows
Come Away – Handsome and Gretyl
Open Your Eyes – Handsome and Gretyl
She’s Like the Swallow – Cara Dillon
Fuel The Fire – Sarah Jarosz
King of the World – First Aid Kit
In Our Talons – Bowerbirds
Overcome With Light – Bowerbirds
Vines – Lost In The Trees
The Foothills – Sara Watkins
Apple Blossoms – Blessed Feathers
Wild & You – My Bubba
Rise – Eddie Vedder
Ducks On The Pond – Rising Appalachia
Sun It Rises – Fleet Foxes
Don’t Let It Get You Down – Johnnyswim
You and Me – Sara Watkins
Land of Opportunity – A Great Big World
Pull Down The Moon – Cattle & Cane
Bloom – Bonus Track – The Paper Kites
Ring Them Bells – Sarah Jarosz
Mountain Sound – Of Monsters And Men
Wide World – Blessed Feathers
Wide Eyed Immigrant – The Greencards
The Morning Bird – Carolina Story
Flower – Amos Lee
into the wild – Lewis Watson
Follow You Anywhere – Monica Heldal
Woodland – The Paper Kites
Here Today – Aloe Blacc
Windows Are Rolled Down – Amos Lee
Map Of The World – Monsters Of Folk
Don’t Let the Sun Steal You Away – Bear’s Den
Live And Die – The Avett Brothers
Core of Nature – Midlake
Rivers And Roads – The Head And The Heart
Silver Moon – Roo Panes
Leaf Off / The Cave – Jose Gonzalez
Down To The River – The Duhks

la vie boheme! xoxo

pink-tulips

harnessing the energy of spring

have you being feeling a little bit “off” lately? or have you been feeling some crazy energy swirling all around you – causing you to be inspired, overwhelmed, confused, or out of balance – or a combination of all of these things? well, i think there may be a reason for that.

you see, today is the first day of spring for those of us in the northern hemisphere. and it’s a new moon. and there’s a total eclipse of the sun. that said, there’s gotta be some funky stuff going on in the air because there is some crazy stuff happening way up there in space. the universe is filled with a bunch of energy.

and all of that funny stuff is leading us to a place where we can bring forth amazing change, moments, growth, and transformation in our lives. if we just say yes.

now, i am no astrologer or energy healer or anything like that. i am just a theologian, a lover of thinking about life from a theological/spiritual perspective. and i’m the sort of theologian who believes that all things are connected by some beautiful, gentle, loving, inspiring, divine force. call it whatever you wish. come at it from whatever religion you wish. that’s not what is important to me. what is important, is this beautiful connection that spans time and space, all of humanity, all of nature, and the whole universe , in fact.

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and on days like this, days when there is a significant thing happening within nature + in the cosmic sky above, if you will, i need to sit and ponder a bit.i need to tap into my wild self. i need to slow down + take part in whatever is happening. because whatever is happening in nature and in the world, whatever is happening to you, is also happening to me. and there is so much to learn about those unanswerable questions of life by simple being aware + observing + reading the signs. there is so much internal work that can be done, if we simply slow down enough to listen. on days like today, our souls can connect deeply with nature + inspire in deep, meaningful ways.

(not to mention i am simply a solstices and the equinoxes celebrating junkie. as you can tell –> here).

today we celebrate the arrival of spring. light + warmth return to my part of the world. new life is all around. grass begins to turn green. baby animals are born. flowers begin to peek from the ground. trees begin to bud. all signs of life, and hope. a reminder that, even when the darkness is overwhelming, there is always light. and the light always returns, again + again. ultimately, life and love always win.

it is a beautiful, incredible cycle of life… and isn’t it just mind-blowing how the universe keeps itself in balance? it just flows and continues.  just as we celebrate spring, we know that fall + winter will return again. just as we celebrate our own life, we know that death eventually follows. but right now, in this very moment, life is beginning again. the energy is palpable. it’s like standing on the top of a mountain, breathless, in complete awe. we are so very present in that very moment.

and so, what else is there to do than to live right now? in the present moment. for that’s all we have. that is what is important and beautiful and inspiring. and amazingly, the present moment is renewed again and again. just like the passing seasons of the year. creativity and renewal and new beginnings are part of the awe-inspiring cycle of life. why wouldn’t we want to align ourselves and go with the flow and ride the magical cycle of life in harmony with nature, instead of trying to fight it? why wouldn’t we want to soak up the sacred, glorious present moment that is right now?

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speaking of the present moment, today, on this first day of spring, everything is balanced. there are equal parts of light and dark in the day. and, from today on, the days will continue to become longer + brighter as we make our way to the summer solstice in june (midsummer, in sweden). but, just today, for this moment, we are balanced. and for me, that gives me a sense of total harmony. complete rest and calm and peace.

tulips

so, today, in the midst of mother nature’s day of balance i will look up to the sky (even if it is cloudy and possibly snowy in sweden) and i will breathe in the changing of the seasons. i will pause to feel the shift. and, with the new moon that covers the sun, and i will use these moments, that are teetering ever-so-gently in perfect balance, to set my intentions for the days of light that follow. it is time to begin something. to let go of the old, dark, cold winter times of our lives and to leap forward with joy + lightness to whatever comes next. today is the day that we can dream about what that might be. we may have no detailed ideas of what lies ahead, it is most likely completely unknown; but we can ponder, plan, and set our intentions for what we want to accomplish and how we want to live.

besides, what better time than spring to begin to focus on the newness that waits for us?

onwards + upwards, friends! xoxo