preparing-homebrewing

ten on ten: may 2015

i’m gonna cheat a tiny little bit. most of my photos are from yesterday, the 10th, but i am also gonna sneak in a photo or two from saturday. so, let’s call it a little ten on ten weekend, ok?

there was a bit of a theme this weekend, and if you saw my post yesterday, then you know that the theme was beer. oh, how i love me some beer.

but, let me be clear about this. i am no drunk. (yeah. i am just gonna be blunt about it). i don’t drink to get drunk. ever. and i don’t really even ever get drunk. i enjoy beer for many reasons, but it is never to escape or hide. i love beer, especially craft beer, because of the art of it. the process, the care, the beauty, the organic nature of it, the creativity, and the simple social part of enjoying something that was created out of passion with others.

so, this weekend, we enjoyed some beer – and then we made some beer! that’s right, my love and i brewed our first batch of beer. american pale ale. right now, it’s fermenting in a dark closet and our fingers are crossed tight. i guess we will see in a few weeks. exciting!

anyway, here some my 10 (ish) beer-themed photos from the weekend. enjoy!

lunch-churchhill-arms me-beer family-beer-saturday-boathouse morning-cozy preparing-homebrewing temperature-homebrewing homebrewing-me

waiting-boiling- homebrewing-wort-boil

home sofa tv-relax-me

here’s to hoping that you had a great weekend! and, that your week is productive, beautiful, and filled with adventures of all kinds!

and… never, ever forget to do what you love.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

 

cheers-valborg

valborg: an inside look at the swedish celebration of spring

happy may day, friends! we survived valborg (see the post the other day to find out what valborg is) and had a great day! the weather people forecasted a crappy day of on + off rain and chilly temps. but. it was gorgeous! super windy, but beautiful. seeing the sun shine + blue skies on valborg is exactly what i asked for.

we started pretty early by packing all of booze in backpacks and riding our bike to lina’s brother’s place for the traditional champagne + strawberries breakfast.

morning-bike-ride

and there they are! now valborg has officially begun!
champagne-strawberries-valborg

cheers! let the festivities start!lina-and-me-valborg-2015

breakfast = pizza, chips, candy, sandwiches, veggies, beer, champagne, wine. yes. this was at 9am. love it!valborg-breakfast

just one of many, many skåls (cheers!) of the day
cheers-valborg

we moved out to the balcony. enjoying conversations, silly times, laughter, and just hanging out. even though we’d been drinking (and eating) for about 4 hours, i found myself having some deep conversations more than once. that’s how i roll. hehe.balcony-party-valborg

sibling-in-law love!jonas-me-borther-in-law

sometime mid-afternoon we left the apartment + headed to a park where we could hear a traditional, famous men’s chorus sing in traditional, well-known spring songs. swedes are seriously into their songs/hymns that talk about spring, flower, blue skies, the forests, sunshine, warm weather. it’s major business here.concert-park-valborg

blue sky + sunshine as we sat in the park with the cathedral steeples towering over us.cathedral

picnicking! picnic-valborg

wine-to-go. so smart + easy to carry aroundwine-picnic,-park-valborg-me-lina

have i mentioned the amazing weather?!blue-skies-valborg

after a while, we decided to leave the park + wander onward. a pizza place for a little food. and then, to another one’s apartment for more hanging out time together.golden-hour-valborg-uppsala-friends

lina and i excused ourselves from the party about 8:30 + headed to the castle to hear another choir sing more songs about spring. we were no where near the only people there. uppsala was still filled with people in the parks + on the streets enjoying the coming of spring.moon-castle-valborg

everyone’s singing along. everyone except me. i gotta learn the lyrics!moon-over-castle-valborg

after 9, i twas still light out. but, the sun was setting. we slowly headed home, soaking up the atmosphere + the energy that was still all over the city.valborg-suset

what a beautiful, fun, fantastic day. hooray for valborg! hooray for spring!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

uppsala-river

on the last day of april it’s time to celebrate

there are so many fun traditions swirling around this time of year… we are halfway through spring and headed straight towards summer. and, here in sweden, that is serious business.

the last of april (sista april) is a day that takes all of that excitement about spring and life and warmth and growth and light, and calls for bbqs, bonfires, music, champagne, and outdoor fun, including letting animals out to pasture again. it is a day, especially in uppsala (where i live), where the celebration begins early in the morning on the last day of april and continues on into the first day of may, a national holiday in sweden.

but, why the last of april? where did this tradition come from?

ultimately, in the northern hemisphere, this is the time of year when mother earth opens up and brings new life all around. that’s the basis of this entire celebration. a pagan, hedonistic, ancient day of celebrating the desire to leave winter completely behind, including turning away evil spirits, and welcoming the warmth + light + new life of the spring and summer months.

valborg-bonfire

 the other name for the last of april is valborg, which comes from the name of saint walpurga, a woman who left england to become a missionary nun in germany in the 700s. may 1st is her saints day. christians took the former pagan festival of the celebration of spring, and turned it into a celebration of st. walpurga.

however, valborg in sweden has very little to do with religion, and everything to do with the arrival of spring. and, this is not a private, family celebration like christmas or easter, mind you. no, this is a very, very public event. whole towns and cities gather together outside to celebrate as a community.

and the biggest community celebration is found in uppsala. lucky me! 

yes, the largest and most traditional valborg celebration is found right here where i live. the celebration begins early in the morning with a breakfast of champagne + strawberries, and ends late at night. in between, all day long, there are tons of traditions and thousands of people. it is estimated that about 10,000 extra visitors will make their way to uppsala on the last day of april to take part in this gigantic celebration of spring. that’s insane! basically, it’s gonna be wall to wall people all over the city, especially in parks. on blankets. having bbqs and drinking massive amounts of alcohol. the city has even ordered 62,400 bottles of water – encouraging everyone to drink a bottle of water in-between drinks. serious business, huh?

this year also marks the 40th anniversary of a rafting competition in the river that runs through the middle of the city. the rafts have to be handmade, therefore they are rickety, funny, and quite easily torn apart, i imagine. i’ve never seen the rafting race, so i hope to make it down there this year!

there are free concerts, with choirs singing very traditional spring songs, a speech by the university’s president from the balcony of the library (where thousands of people gather), and a champagne run. later in the evening, outside of the city there are big bonfires and more songs.

so, the whole day is just one, big, crazy celebration. 

i am most definitely looking forward to celebrating my 2nd valborg in uppsala, my 4th in sweden. the last time i was in uppsala, i was deathly ill with some sort of stomach virus, so i missed out on most everything. i stayed curled up in the fetal position with a bucket beside my bed in the guest room at lina’s brother’s apartment. from my little cot, i listened to everyone in the living room, partying and having fun. poor me, right?

valborg-drinks

but, this year, i’m all ready!

we’ve got our champagne and wine chilling, our grill + picnic blanket all ready, and we can’t wait to celebrate the magical, life-giving, beautiful spring + summer in sweden. now, let’s just keep our fingers crossed (and hold our thumbs) for good weather tomorrow!

have a great (and safe) last day of april! and, join in the celebrations wherever you are – celebrate spring or autumn. either way, the seasons are moving forward, and the amazing cycle of life continues. how freaking awesome is it that we get to be a part of that?

i’ll check back in over the weekend + share some photos. after recovering from the celebrations, of course. wink. wink.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

cherry-tree-feature

sweden in the spring

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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
cherry-trees-people
hope you are enjoying the changing of the seasons in your little corner of the world!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

feathers-features-image

meditation mondays: it feels like everything can begin now

I had this feeling of letting go.

On Saturday, I sat on the floor, meditating, and I felt that it was time to let go of Asheville. Not that Asheville is not still the place where my heart feels full, because it is. But, to let go of the ways that I am trying to hold onto my life there. It is time to let go of all of the moments that I spend here, in Sweden, imagining what is going on there, in Asheville. That time has passed. That old life is over and a new life, a new way of living is beginning.

As I meditated, my mind was filled with revelations that I was following the Easter weekend pattern in my own life. I ended my life in Asheville. I have mourned the loss and live in the uncertainty of limbo + confusion, and suddenly, without knowing what was happening, realized that a new opportunity, a new life was truly waiting for me to grab it and begin.

And with that realization of Good Friday’s loss, Holy Saturday’s confusion + solemness, and Easter Sunday’s good news of a crazy, amazing new life. I felt a shift inside of me. A ending of the wandering and a preparedness to move on. I felt like everything can begin now.

What happened during my meditation was acceptance. Acceptance that the most powerful moment is the present moment – especially when we are aware + paying attention to it. And that acceptance has helped me move from mourning to life. A completely unknown life, but a way of knowing that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

full moon

And right now actually is all about the unknown. It’s about leaping in to a way of living that cannot even be imagined yet. It cannot be planned, and must be allowed to simply unfold. And all of that stuff from the past? All of the old ways of being + living + relating + thinking + believing… it’s time to leave all of that behind as well.

Going back to Easter… think about those disciples who suddenly realized that Jesus was not actually dead. That he was living, though he was leaving, and he was giving them – the men + the women – a mission. All was not lost as the followers had believed + felt. As the had dwelling in the past, dazed + confused, they now understood that they had a chance at a whole new life, with a whole new purpose. Something that they could have never, ever dreamed would happen. They had no idea what this new, amazing future looked like, but that didn’t matter. They knew, in that moment when they encountered Jesus, that something was different. So, now, it was time to get a move on! Newly inspired + energized – the past was behind them, and from now on, it was time to look ahead.

It is the same for us… it is the same for me, now, as I consider leaving my past behind + accepting the unknown future that lies ahead of me. It is time to live in the present moment, anticipating a bright, new shiny opportunities + possibilities. Now, that does not mean throwing away all that has happened in the past. No, not at all. It means, pulling it all together in our souls, holding it there, cherishing it all, knowing that all of the past makes us who we are right in the moment. But, it’s time to step forward. Keeping the old ways part of our history and our story. And with the comfort of the memories and feelings and thoughts and lessons and loves, look ahead with courage + empowerment. What lies ahead is not something that is within our comfort zone, but a life that is bigger + better than we could ever imagine. Deeper. Higher.

Of course, all of this can feel amazing + scary at the same time. Like… “Wow! What an opportunity! I feel totally blessed, as if I am overflowing with inspiration and energy.” It can also feel like, “What the hell have I done? When will things begin to make sense? Why aren’t things changing? This is not at ALL what I had in mind!”.

But, this is how it goes with change + transformation + growth.

IMG_3137

Remember what I said at the beginning of the blog post? How I described how I was feeling? it’s a cycle, my friends. And it occurs over and over again in our lives. It’s how life flows. And if we are aware + grounded, then we do not freak out as we flow along with life.

So, we have Good Friday’s all of the time. Days/years/times in life when we know that we have lost everything. When the way that intended it turned out completely wrong. When it feels like our plans, or even our selves, have died. Like it’s all over. Everything changed.

And then, like Holy Saturday, we mourn. We feel lost. We don’t know what comes next. It’s dark and lonely. And, after a while, we accept what has happened and realize that we have to keep on keeping on.

But, just when we are there, right when we realize that life is rolling on without us and we’d better get back in the game, a sliver of light pierces our darkness. Something inspires us. Spring returns. Life begins again. The view after the climb is breathtaking. And we can see clearly now all that we did not understand before. We have grown. We have changed. And we step out, filled to the brim with inspiration + love + peace, so much so that they all begin spilling out of us and onto everyone we meet. Easter Sunday arrives.

And then, the whole thing happens all over again.

“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

onwards + upwards! xx

tree-buds-blue-sky

blue skies + worshipping the sun

you know, spring in sweden is a little bit all over the place. rain, snow, and sometimes sunshine. – i am sure many of you experience the same where you live.  it’s not usually that warm, but when that beautiful sunshine shows her face, then her rays make even 5 degrees C/45 degrees F feel warm + nice. i’ve said this before, but the sun in sweden is something very special.

when the sun shines in the spring, it’s time to get outside and soak it up. the dark days are over, the cold has left us behind, the light has begun it’s return, the days are getting so much longer, and i (along with every other swede) become a sun worshipper. i literally stand and face the sun. i close my eyes… meditating, soaking in, breathing deeply, living in that very moment.

so, the other morning, after days and days of clouds, rain, and snow, when it was so beautiful, i decided to take a long walk for my meditation time. i explored the neighborhood behind ours, passing apartment buildings, houses, and cozy, little yards + gardens. the sun was warm, the breeze was cool, people were  out + about, and i simply gave thanks for the joy of walking and discovering and being.

i thought i’d share with you a little snippet of the amazing blue swedish skies that i have seen a little of this week. the blue skies make me feel so alive. i hope these photos do the same for you in a tiny, little way. enjoy!

sunshine-roof-window neighborhood easter-tree-square blue-skies square-tree-feathers sunshine-walk tree-buds

happy easter weekend, everyone. here in sweden, everyone has a little holiday from friday until monday. we are taking the train down to norrköping to visit lina’s family for a few days. but, we will be back home again on sunday, to enjoy the last little bit of the holiday here. so, it’s all about relaxing + enjoying for the next 4 days. wishing you a fabulous few days! and, if the sun shines wherever you are, turn your head up to her, close you eyes, and give a little thanks for the warmth + life that she brings. love + light to you all!

onwards + upwards! xoxo