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.

june’s last pic.


spent a cozy saturday night with my love & our friend… eating pizza, sipping sparkling wine, telling stories. just lovely.

who’s ready for july?! peace out.

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.

minimal movement.

this is pretty much all the #movement (photo challenge word today) i had today. seriously. remember how i said that swedes celebrate important holidays on the eve before the actual day (christmas eve, easter saturday, midsummer’s eve)? well on the actual day there’s not that much going on. it’s kinda like new year’s day. everyone is recovering from new year’s eve. you get my drift. well, i was not hung over or anything, but i was still tired. so just like most people, i haven’t done much moving around at all today. just my little moving hair photo shoot.

ok. i did walk downstairs & outside to our little backyard for an hour or so today… just to say i’d been outside.

and then i took a very short, 2 minute walk to our neighborhood pizzeria for the usual. everyone else had the same idea. also typical for the day after the holiday eve celebrations: pizza and lordagsmys (cozy saturday = movies, candy, chips, popcorn).

and now, some saturday night movies. not the most exciting day, but quite relaxing. and hey, summer has begun now. it’s time to take things a little bit easier, right?

how was your saturday? one more weekend day to go. yes!


fav pics of fav places.

the challenge was to find a favorite picture. but, i, of course could not find A favorite picture… but several. and i stuck with a theme. some of my favorite instagram pictures that i have taken of favorite places. here we go…

a sunset of where i come from in north carolina. atlantic beach.

one of the best cities anywhere. asheville.

 my family & my parents’ home at atlantic beach.

 i heart nyc.

my love having morning coffee at one of my fav places (again where i am from).

the big apple.

 my love & i in funky, hippie, artsy asheville.

i left my heart in all three of these places: atlantic beach, asheville, and nyc.  fav places. fav photos. can’t wait to have a chance to snap some new pics on my next trip home. i am suffering from some serious homesickness these days. but, it’ll make my next trip even that much sweeter.

peace, love, & life.

yellow & blue. all day long.

about 10 days ago it was the anniversary of my graduation from high school. guess how many years it’s been? twenty!! yes, 2.0. 20!!! i cannot believe that i am old enough o be celebrating 20 hers since i graduation from high school. i was 17 and the whole world was in front of me. well, as an american what wanted to get a job, going to college/university was what was ahead for me. that’s the drill for most americans, those who have gotten scholarships or can afford to pay, that is. anyway, the fact is, if you want a job in the states that will give you health insurance and enough money to live (but not be rich, although that can happen too, i’ve heard), then you’d better get yourself directly to a university, some place of high education in order to get a degree. in something. anything.

let’s not even get into the discussion of all those teenagers who don’t do well in school, who can’t afford to go to a university but instead have to get a low-paying job anywhere that will hire them without skills or education, or who aren’t ready to choose (at the age of 18) what they want to do for the rest of their lives…

the typical path to follow is college. directly after high school graduation. ok. you get the summer off, but then. back to school. for 4 or more years. if you’re lucky.

today i watched lina’s amazingly talented & smart cousin’s “graduation” from “high school”. quotation marks are necessary because it’s not graduation like you might think it, american friends. nope. it’s way more of a celebration. and it’s not exactly high school, but it is. it’s the best way to describe it so you understand. in any case, it was a bunch of 18-ish year olds finishing their courses of study before moving on their next adventure in life… like a folk school. think community college, but how they should be. without the negative connotation. here they are seen as great educational places. just another option & a place to study some higher education, but for a shorter period of time usually & with the aim of learning some specific skills… from social work to restaurants to photography to child care. you name it.  or a university. or a year to travel. or a chance to be an au pair/nanny. or a job (because some have studied something specific in high school that leads directly to a job – like medical technician or child care).

my point is, there are plenty of legitimate, well-respected options from which to choose.

my wife’s cousin is a musician and has been accepted into a really great music school, so that’s his direction so far. anyway. today we watched him run out with his class (and by class i do not mean 350 students who have all been in the same grade. i mean a class of about 25 who have studied together for 3 years), sang some songs, and looked for their families to collect hug after hug of congratulations.

i’ve got tons of pictures from today on my nikon, but i won’t have time to deal with them until monday sometime. so, you’ll see a lot more then. for now, here’s the picture of the day: yellow flowers (yellow is the word today) we bought to hang around the neck of lina’s cousin. it’s a crazy flower necklace kinda thing. in yellow & blue. sweden’s official colors. everybody gets them.

i’ve also got a few more fun peeks into the last day of school for everyone. but, more pics coming in a few days, i promise!

for now, i’m off to dreamland. hope you have a great friday night and a fabulous weekend. i’ll let you know what i’m up to this week shortly tomorrow morning before i am out of touch for 2 days…

goodnight. and peace.

passing time on a thursday.

morning fika at a cozy, old cafe.

 a little midday shopping.

 a few stolen moments thinking of my love.

 a late afternoon walk in the sunshine.

 an evening planning meeting at work. (planning for a week-long family summer camp)

peace & love. all the time.

from a low angle.

“if you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

to click this pic i found myself crawling on the ground, laying in the grass. as i lay there, setting up the shot, i felt the dampness on my legs, smelled the dirt & the grass, and felt the sun warming my back. how great it is to get a different perspective sometimes. how wonderful it is to be reminded that things can look differently, feel differently, and in fact are different when we approach them from another angle. it’s amazing how much we miss if we always look at things the same way, believe the same things we’ve always believed. hmm… wonder if i can apply that to my life?

sometimes all we need is a little perspective.