a day of rest

hi friends. have you been recovering from your holiday fun? or are you still going strong in the middle of it? i, for one, have spent today resting + just being. catching up on some down time. when you have guests, everything always seems a bit busier, for you + for the guests. and, lina parents, lina, and i all decided last night that today would be a “stay at home and do nothing” kind of day. in fact, some of us never even got out of our pjs. we literally met each other at the dining table at various times throughout the day for meals + for an afternoon fika. other than that, we were in our separate rooms, doing our own things for the most part. and, i think it’s good when people are able to be alone, and yet together. when there’s no stress to entertain one another + everyone can just do whatever they feel like doing.


during the day, i accomplished setting + planning + booking our spot for our big new year’s eve celebration. tidying a bit in the kitchen. fixing some things on my website. playing with some of my christmas gifts – an iPhone lens attachment (!!!) + my moleskin notebook. and a quick meet up with my brother for a beer or two at highland brewing, just to chat and hang out… cause that’s what we love to do. it was fabulous brother-sister time. something that we won’t have the chance to do very often… very soon. so,i cherished that hour and a half with my brother today.


tonight, after got home from the beer, we ordered pizza online to be delivered to the apartment and blew away lina’s parents, who have never experienced that before. that was super fun. hehe. and now, where am i? well, i am still in my bed (minus the meal times and the beer with my bro). writing and blogging and just being. it feels quite perfect. i’d love to stream something on netflix right now, but i am afraid i just might fall asleep. hehe.

so, how do you like to spend your down time? and what have you done today?

light + love xoxo

full of archipelago love.

oh, how i’ve missed y’all!

but, the time away was absolutely perfect. sweden delivered perfect summer weather the entire week that we were in the archipelago. we were surrounded by friends & family, which made everything that much more fun. there were moments of solitude and silence, crazy moments of high energy and laughter. singing, dancing, walking in the woods, rowing on the sea, soaking up the sun, scratching mosquito bites, smothering our skin with sunscreen, reading in our cozy room… and i even got some work done! all in all, i must say, that this was the perfect way to spend our last full week in sweden. i could not have asked for a better week!

here come a bunch of photos… sending a little archipelago love to you:

skeppsgården i mitt hjärta (skeppsgården in my heart).




path camp

teenagers dock

summer archipelago

sunset archipelago

oar archipelago

lina rowing

31 day photo journey. days 15-22.




unexpected: found some inspiration in a completely unexpected way.




nature: mother nature, please, let spring come soon.


landmark: the city hall standing tall over the city.

personal growth




accomplished: i made it through the week! and now, i’m ready for a weekend of relaxation & fun. started it off with this cutie curled up beside me.

just a quick little photo post for y’all! only one more week to go!!

peace out.

tea time is best.

if you’ve visited my blog before then you know that i love coffee, tea, candles, quiet times, meditation/reflection, writing and opportunities to just be. i guess you could say that i am a pretty introverted, laid-back person.

tonight i’m being true to myself and having a cup of tea (that my german friend brought back for us from her trip home to germany. she lives in sweden.) while i write this post. i’m sitting in the living room, but no candles are lit because i don’t want to admit that the summer sun is fading away and darkness is returning to sweden. in the fall and winter, candles save me with their warm glow. but, right now, as the sun is setting,  i’m enjoying the last few moments of natural light of the day reflecting on the meeting i had this evening.

just in case you don’t know, i work in a church; and tonight i had a planning meeting with the other minister about our church service for  this coming sunday. m (the minister) and i had not seen each other in 4 weeks, thanks to the long vacations in sweden. (love you, sweden). it was so great to see each other, and we immediately got down to business. and the flow started as soon as we began talking.

while we were planning, i looked ahead in the swedish lectionary book (a plan of themes for sundays) we were using to see what the theme for the day was on september 16. on that day, i will be preaching, having the talk, you know. there are many ministers who preach and spend their time standing in front of people telling them how bad they are, what they should or should not do, and exactly what they should believe. i am not one of them. my sermons are like blog posts, my preaching is like taking one of my blog posts and delivering in person to a crowd of people. it is my hope that my preaching is inspiring, challenging, and uplifting.

anyway, a few weeks ago, i wrote a blog post on rest (read it here), inspired by a daily meditational book that i use in the mornings (the theme for july & august is rest). i got a comment that said that my post sounded like a sermon and that the comment-er would like to hear me speak more about it. i thought about planning that for the 16th of september, but then i decided to go in another direction (following another theme based on another lectionary ). i felt like i would be forcing a sermon if i preached on rest… like i was choosing what i wanted to talk about, instead of letting the spirit inspire me. preaching on rest would be too easy and i might put in too much of my own bias, instead of studying & pulling out what the universe, what God, might be saying to me through the lectionary text.

well, tonight, as i peeked ahead to the theme for september 16, in the book we were using, i saw that it said “ett är nödvändigt” – one thing is necessary; and then the following bible passages to read with that theme were all about resting, pulling away, taking time for yourself, learning to just be and live in the moment. being. that is the one thing that is necessary.


i was totally amazed. how could this be? i had considered preaching on resting & being, but decided that it would be “cheating” since it was something i was choosing. but, tonight, right there in front of me, in the swedish book, were the words, ” i will give you rest” in the book i was working from. a sign? most definitely.

i know this is right. i can feel it. i wondered about it after i received the comment, but i brushed it aside. but, now, the universe has spoken. it is indeed time for me to write a sermon on finding rest, on living in the moment, on trusting God, on simply being.

so, my theme for the 16 of september has changed.

wishing peace & inspiration to you all.



time is flying by.

yep. it’s been a big week in the eriksson-mcguire household. luckily i have the photo a day challenge to make sure i have a memory from each day. hehe. enough chit-chat.

drumroll, please….

relaxing at home on a sunday afternoon. finding some time to rest is so important.

this is not day 24. i didn’t skip day 23, i just got a head of myself & screwed up some numbers for a few days. hehe. here’s my monday- morning-at-the-breakfast-table reflection in the mirror.

and this is not day 25, but day 24. i passed a random person on my way to the market who seems to be as attached to his phone as i am to mine.

now, here we go. the real day 25. my materialistic heart beats for all my apple products.

the sun streaming in my bedroom windows thursday morning. it turned out to be a true summer day.

on the road and out & about in norrköping friday afternoon. i think my city is beautiful.

some new cups that i’m totally in love with. the first is one that lina & i have been wanting for a while, thinking they only existed in the states. but, we found some here! mason jars as drinking glasses. a funky & different style for sweden. the second cup is a mug that i got from lina’s parents as a congratulations for being a permanent resident of sweden this week. so cool & unique. perfect for coffee, of course.

well, friends, there are only 3 days left in july. and then, we get into the dog days of summer of august: for some of you, the heat builds. for those of us up north, we wait to see how it will be. but, for all of us it is a bit of a transition month. school starts again. work begins again. and the days creep toward the changing of the season. but before i get ahead of myself, august still brings us some lazy days, some more time to enjoy the sunshine & the warmth. and of course, the august photo challenge.

if you want to follow me on instagram and see my pics on a daily basis, i’m lizslens. otherwise, check back here in a few days to see the last 3 pics of july and to get the august challenges. perhaps you’ll want to join in?!

happy saturday! enjoy some olympic moments, if that’s your thing. me, i’m gonna have a little cookout, check out some olympics, and then cozy up with my love tonight with a movie in bed.

peace around the world.

how one word made all the difference in my little world.

well, i’m close to finishing 2 of my 4 weeks of vacation this summer. i haven’t been anywhere, but that feels ok. in fact, it feels necessary and important. of course there is the pressure to go somewhere. but it’s self-induced. the pressure to be like everyone else, scurrying off here or there on some vacation to some place in sweden or to another exotic country. well, that’s just not in the cards this summer for me. and ya know what? i’m totally ok with it. i’ve got other things on my mind…

like this one word that i’ve had floating around in my head for the past week: rest. i read something sunday about jesus taking his disciples with him one day on boat, seeking a solitary place so they could have some rest. a retreat. vacation. time to just be. of course, the crowd followed them because jesus was like a 1st century rock star. and while i can imagine that jesus was desperately seeking some alone time, listening to his soul telling him that it was time to recharge his batteries, he did not turn the crowd away. he gladly welcomed the crowd and all of their needs and desires. even though he’d planned to rest. something i would not have done. i would have sneakily found a way to “lose the crowd”, retreating into my apartment and refusing to make plans with anyone. or, if i couldn’t lose them, i’d spend all my time complaining that i’d rather just be alone. but that’s why he’s jesus. and i’m me.

but that got me to wondering… why? why am i so selfish with my alone time? and i immediately knew the answer to my own question: perhaps it’s because i’m not spending time alone on a regular basis, and better yet, when i have alone time, i’m not maximizing it.

jesus went away to be alone quite often, pulling away to go deep within himself. perhaps since he did it quite often, his soul was fed, and he was able to continue to serve others because he never let himself get drained. he never gave and gave and gave, without allowing himself time to reflect and just be. and so, his soul overflowed.

perhaps i’m so stingy with my alone time because when i have it, i do not necessarily use it productively: i do not fill it with things that fill my soul… journaling, doing yoga, meditating, dancing, photography, long walks, true quality time with my love & friends. to be brutally honest, more often that not, i get stuck on the internet, or with a movie. i’m not filling my soul properly, and so i’m not really ready to share myself because i always feel squeezed dry. i’m lazy with my soul time. i realize now that i can have all the alone time in the world, and it won’t matter unless i seek to be inspired rather than entertained.

i have forgotten what it means to be alone; and yet, i am this person, this nomad, longing for moments of solitude.

there are a group of people in life that intrigue me. they inspire me. they are people who practice a contemplative life. throughout history they have been called desert mothers & fathers. and while most people think that the desert monks and ammas (desert mothers) were only around during one certain time period in life, i beg to differ. i also believe that there are plenty living in our midst today. i have known a few women whom i call my “amma” (a word that means mother in many languages). these women have been contemplative, modern-day mystics guiding me, inspiring me, and journeying with me in life. people like elaine, linda, dania.

and then there are the mystics and desert mothers/fathers of history. people like julian of norwich, gregory of nyssa, john the baptist, athanasius, catherine of siena, thomas merton. all of these people (including the ones that have been in my life) live life a little differently that everyone else. they live life from deep within their soul… spending much time alone, relishing quietness & stillness, praying, meditating, thinking, writing, educating, counseling. however, none of these people lived, or live, a secluded life. they are members of their community, balancing their desire and dedication to nurturing their inner lives, as well as living out their love in the midst of the community in which they reside.

just like jesus did.

i realize that i am writing from a christian perspective, but that is part of my foundation/background. just because i am speaking from this perspective does not mean that i do not include great teachers, theologians, and spiritual guides from other religions, too, in my circle of inspirational mystics. people like buddha, rumi, ghandi, demeter & persephone, isis…

now back to my word: rest

the jewish community has a word that i love… shabbos. it is the word for shabbat or sabbath. most of us know what a sabbath is. the sabbath, or shabbat, is the day of rest for jews and christians. many people think of it as a day of prayer because jews & christians visit synagogues and churches on those days. but, the yiddish (jewish word) shabbos teaches me that it’s deeper than just one day of rest or prayer…

it is ceasing to create & withdrawing into our own essence. in other words, just being. exactly who we are. living from our soul for one day. doing those things which fill our soul, make our soul dance. it is breathing freely, knowing that just being alive is what life is all about, soaking in the moments, living one day with wild abandon, returning to the essence of who we are.

finding this word, shabbos, has meant a great deal to me this week as i spend my vacation days seeking rest & rejuvenation and trying to find a way to redefine how i rest, how i reconnect with this community of contemplative beings, to which i feel drawn.

when i was studying for my master’s degree, to become a minister (pastor), my friends & i had a joke. ok. they had a joke about me, and i played along because, in a sense, they were right. they teased me that because i was the contemplative one, the one always seeking some quiet place during the day, talking a lot about being rather than doing… that my life was all about me. that looking inward, drawing into myself, spending time in silence, finding signs of the Divine everywhere… was focusing too much on me. instead perhaps i should have been waking up and giving away every single second of my life to everyone else. at least once a day someone jokingly said, “…because it is all about you, liz”. i can’t say anything about other people, but i can say that, during this time, i had deep inner peace – even in the midst of turmoil.

those of us who crave some solitude, who love to read, reflect, ponder, write, draw, create, and generally have a calm, quiet, sometimes loner of a life, do that because we are drawing within ourselves. not to be egotistical, but to connect with ourselves, to connect with our souls, to connect with the divine spark, the image of God that we believe is in each one of us. and we believe that this world would be a better place if we all just took a little time to just be.

going inward does not make one more egocentric, it makes one more grounded. and being more grounded means that one can be filled, and then one can overflow, and begin share to one’s self with the world, to make a difference. doing things for the sake of doing things, or out of sheer “duty” is exhausting and not fun. seeking to be alone and then using that time for mindless internet surfing or sitting on the couch is also, in the end, exhausting and not fun.

but to truly be alone, to truly have a day of sabbath, to truly go within one’s self, and to truly follow one’s bliss will not only make a difference in your own life, but will most likely affect, change, and inspire those around you.

so, i’ve got a little more that 2 weeks left of my vacation. how do you think i’m gonna spend my time? it sure ain’t gonna be in front of a tv or randomly surfing the net. it will be filled with things that fill my soul and some intense quiet time on a daily basis.

basically, i’m just gonna be. and live life.

now i know why this word, rest, has been on my mind for a while…it’s about time that i reclaim my contemplative roots.


a little work. a little play.

i just re-read the post i wrote before i left for my week of camp, and noticed that i was expecting to find solitude and rest. well, my week in the archipelago didn’t turn out exactly as i expected… things rarely do in life.

we plan, prepare, worry, hope, dream, and expect things to be one way, only to find that what actually happens is completely different from what we imagined… and usually for the better. eventually. well, things may not be as we expected, they may not even be as we wanted; but if we keep on, if we keep going, keep trusting, keep fighting and hanging on, believing in ourselves & our dreams, then one day we will look back and understand how the pieces fit together. we hopefully will understand how life has given us so much more than we ever imagined, even though the journey may have been tough and grueling, with unexpected twists & turns.

the unknown is a curse and a gift. the desire to control & know exactly what comes next takes up time that we could be using to enjoy life, cursing our experience of the present moment. it’s something i’m working hard on… learning to let things be, to focus on the here and now. the unknown is also a gift because of the surprise joys and moments that come our way without even realizing it. for me, the unknown is a fun adventure and something to fear at the same time. but, i think i do a pretty good job of keeping those two feelings in balance. well, i try. hehe.

i had planned to have lots of quiet, soul time during my week in the archipelago. but, with about 70 people there coupled with the fact that i was working while i was there, i did not exactly find the quietness in the way i was expecting it to be.

however, i did find rest for my soul. and i found it smack in the midst of community. as i look back, i realize (and i realized while i was there too) that, though there were no silent moments alone (ok. there were a few very, very short ones.), i didn’t need them . in the midst of community, in the midst of all of the people & activities, i felt my soul filled. i felt as if i was overflowing with peace. and i found myself not even craving much time alone. the connection with the people (and the beauty of the surroundings) touched me. and what was one of the most amazing things, was that it was such a mix of ages. all ages were present and all ages interacted with & accepted one another. a true example of how community is meant to be – living & sharing. together.

i know i sounds like i’m writing that everything was perfect, but it wasn’t. i mean, come on, we were 70 people together. there were challenges, conflict, drama, disappointment in all different ways. however, the strength of the community made it a safe and positive place where we could make it through any individual challenges we had.

so, the week was a big mix of work & play for me. responsibilities, but in a very relaxed and wonderful way. anyway, here are some pictures of the community spirit one can find when spending a week at this family camp. enjoy!

the nightly campfire. cozy, huh? a part of the day everyone looks forward to.

m & i sitting in the old, wooden chapel… working & planning some group times. i just have to say, the other minister i work with, m, is so great. we work together beautifully. we just click, and it feels as if we are coming from the same place in our soul, but with different perspectives & experiences, which just makes our work together that more rich and full. what an amazing blessing it was to share the ministerial duties and work together. after almost 4 years of not working side-by-side with another minister (pastor), i can’t believe the joy i have found in working in this way again. i can’t believe that i have the opportunity again… what a long, unexpected journey, what a fight it has been. and yet, how easy  & natural it has been at the same time. it’s as if everything has just opened up like a blooming flower…

there is this activity that swedes do called a “tipspromenad”, roughly translated/explained: “walking quiz” – a competition with multiple choice trivia questions placed in a certain area, where the competitors must take a pen & paper, walk a path, and try to pick  the right answer from the 3 choices. usually there are about 12 -13 questions and it takes a while to do the quiz since you are walking from question to question. here at camp, the questions are placed along a path through the woods. a great chance to take a walk every day. though, i’m not that successful with the quiz, since the questions many times have to do with swedish history, culture, or society – stuff i’m not that proficient in. :) there are also children’s questions, and i generally have more success with those. hehe. i’ll speak about the swedes love of simple competition later… wink. wink.

one day, yes, one day, there was gorgeous warm sunshine. but that was just one day. i enjoyed it, though.

and so did everyone else who was there that day. this is how i understand a typical swedish summer day to be. the dream swedish summer day. on the rocks & in the water… in the archipelago. so sad for lina & 2 of her cousins who came later on that evening.

games. games. and more games.

there is an american in the midst of all the swedes… me! and so, one evening, those planning the campfire times planned a night to have s’mores – a campfire tradition in the states. as an american, i believe that if you don’t eat s’mores, you haven’t been camping. hehe. so, i introduced my little tradition to the swedes: roasted marshmallows by the fire, placed them on some chocolate in-between 2 crackers. and there ya go, s’mores! (named s’mores because you want “some more” = s’more!) they were a hit & this american girl was satisfied!

daily gathering in the wooden chapel in the mornings… m & i’s responsibility. singing, praying, chatting, discussing, dreaming of how we can be people who make a difference in our lives.

swedes play “simon says”!!

ok. swedish competition. this is a crazy thing. swedes love games. all of them, all ages. at least the swedes i was with. and throughout the week we had an ongoing competition where almost everyone there was on a team (4 teams total). we all competed in different activities, always wanting to win, but also always cheering on everyone. it was competition, but not intense or mean at any time. it was playing & competing simply because it was fun. hmm… americans, are we ever like that? now, all ages took part in this. this was amazing to me. all ages patiently waited & cheered & enjoyed the time together… it was a simple and wonderful thing to be a part of (even though i am not competitive/game-playin person at all). for the sake of community, i found myself taking part some… and (shhh… don’t tell) enjoying it.

more campfire fun on a beautiful night.

the afternoon market. one afternoon during the week, everyone was invited to be a part of a market. you could choose make your our booth or just go around and see what other people came up with. let me say again, everyone was involved in this, and it was done so simply and yet was so much fun. it is like going back in time… just enjoying the simply things in life and having fun without all the fancy bells and whistles we think we need. i love that swedish society knows how to break away and get back to basics.

here were some of the booths/activities: 2 ten year old girls turned a table on its side and blew up water balloons to toss at points written & takes onto the table. i won 3rd price with this one & got a pice of candy! a mother who works in health care took your blood pressure and then her husband offered you fresh, sparkling water as refreshment. another kids set up sticks in a line to try to throw rings around. one man concocted a game where you pull 3 balls out of a box, hoping to get three of the same color. 2 teenage girls had a game where you toss a wet dishrag at one of them, getting her soaking wet. some sold coffee & handmade candy. and so on…

simple. fun. and we mingled about for an hour or so. amazing.

hanging out (playing) on the dock at 11pm. the black dots you see… they’re mosquitoes. sweden has killer mosquitoes. yuck.

our last gathering together on friday morning.

quality family time with my love: yes, we’re bundled up… swedish summer. hehe

i am a loner sometimes. ok. a lot of the time. i enjoy people, but i also enjoy time to myself, usually finding cozy quiet times with my love & i most fulfilling. however, this week at camp renewed my love for community, for communal living. feels like i got a glimpse of the true meaning of “it takes a village”.

yeah. there is something to be said for simplicity, beauty, and sharing life with others.