midas and i met when we started studying swedish together about 4ish months after we both moved here. well, his wife moved too. they moved from the netherlands/holland (i am sorry, even though they’ve told me, i still can’t keep all of the netherlands/holland stuff straight.what’s what and where’s where). anyway, we were the only 2 western people in our class  – everyone was from the middle east, africa, or the east. so, we naturally gravitated to each other. even though i ended up forming some awesome friendships during that time with some very interesting women and heard amazing life stories…

but, yeah. me & midas. we quickly discovered that we were very much kindred spirits. both into spirituality, but have a somewhat hard time with organized religion. both philosophers, dreamers, seekers, wanderers, spontaneous. pretty soon midas got a job at a restaurant, and after a while, began working so much he decided not to study any more. i soon followed his lead. it was much easier & faster to learn swedish “out in the world”. we kept in contact a little bit here & there, but did not see each other much. at all. which is sad.

sometime, a year or so ago, i dropped by his restaurant and that began the blossoming for our deeper friendship. and also a friendship with his lovely & intelligent  wife. both of them were a great support for me last year when lina was in the hospital. and both of them inspire me with their carefree, honest spirits. midas and i, met off and on. i believe we inspire each other. it’s just one of those good kind of relationships which is good for your soul. i met with leonie some too. lots of times it would be when i dropped in for a drink. and, then i’d naturally end up running into leonie at the restaurant too, and we’d sit and chat. we did that whole, expat bond thing with each other. and soon, they had met lina.

so, when we had our little flea market before we moved out of our apartment, we had them over one evening. the four of us sat on the floor, sipped sparking wine, and discussed many different things – typical conversations with them, always a little edgy & deep, which i love. before they left, they purchased some things from us… books and 2 mugs. the mugs were easy to sell, but the beauty of it, was in what they said about them: that they’d think of us when they used them. and that’s exactly what made selling all our things so easy… we knew that our stuff would be spread out amongst people we love, who would appreciate and love them.

now, my books were a different story. i had gone through my books over & over again, making the “stack to keep” smaller & smaller every time. there just wasn’t space available to keep everything. so, with a heavy heart, i put many well-loved, very much marked-up books on the shelf to sell. midas looked through them, and decided to buy about 4-5 of them. the books are totally me kinds of book = they are totally midas kinds of books too. books, like “the alchemist”, “ishmael”, “foundations of the metaphysics of morals”…

this made my heart soar. knowing that midas had these very important books, was like keeping them in some way.

when they left that night, we planned to get together on tuesday (yesterday). we didn’t worry about making plans or any details then, we just knew it was important to set aside some time. so, we did. monday night, i texted midas and asked what they had thought about for our little gathering, if anything. i received a prompt, “we have a little plan.” that was it…

so, tuesday morning, i got a message that they would pick us up about 11 and to dress for outside. this was no surprise to me, they are outdoors kinda people, which i also love.


we climbed in the back seat of their car, between their 2 dogs in the back and our kidnappers in the front, and off we went. we drove about 10-15ish minutes, and found ourselves outside of town, in a wooded area with a few houses and a lake nearby. lina knew where we are. i had no idea. we stopped in front of a little yellow cottage and midas said that they had rented it out for lunch with us. and then he immediately let us know that this was their new summer cottage! they bought it just 2 days before!


lina & i were wonderstruck and excited for them. we knew they’d seen a place, but now it was all there’s! so, the plan was that we’d just chill there, relax outside, and midas would whip up a gourmet vegetarian lunch for us on their back porch. spend some quality time together. and this was the perfect place to do just that. this cottage is really simple, no running water, and so right for them. such a great place to just go and be and breathe.

leonie, lina, & i sat on the porch, chatted, laughed, and i perused this amazing, huge book full of icons… while midas chopped, sautéed, marinated, cut, and sliced away. it smelled like heaven as it sizzled. and then, it was time to eat! four different kinds of salad dishes, which i have vowed to make myself one day. it was totally magnificent. simple and real. just time together. great food. great friends. great discussions (like smoking pot, euthanasia, ethics, conservative christians…) – you know, typical dinner table stuff.



my dear lina. holding the big book up for me every time i wanted to take a picture of a page. xo



after a few hours, midas had to get to work, so our kidnappers loaded us back into the car and we headed home. it was impossible to say goodbye then, so we decided that just 2-3 days before we leave, lina & i will head to midas’ restaurant one more time. and leonie will meet us there, of course!

what a great lunch adventure! thank you from the bottom of our hearts, midas & leonie. love you both.


a close-up of one of the icons from midas’ book. something to meditate on a bit… go ahead and try it.

go hug a friend today & thank them for simply being in your life. share some peace & love.

six senses monday.

hello, monday. hello, friends. you know, when mondays are your day off, it doesn’t feel like such a bad day. on the other hand, when you are going to work at 5pm on a friday night and everyone else is getting off, ready to begin their weekend, then it doesn’t feel so good. that’s the trade off, i guess. but, today hasn’t been friday. it’s been monday. so, i’ve been off. and boy do i love that!

i’m not sure i accomplished much today, but we had a pretty good meeting with lina’s doctor. and then later on, my love registered for her classes in the fall! i made some contact with a person launching a new blog on asheville, and it looks like  i may be finding myself some freelance work as a contributor. eeeek! so cool. all in all, i guess there have been some pretty productive moments.

well, it’s been a while since my last six senses post, but i am ready to share with y’all what’s been happening in my world that has peaked my senses. you can share what’s peaked your senses by leaving a comment or on your own blog.

sheets knappingsborg brunch sunday me fish and chips guilty cat mr. rogers me and my love flowers at work sunshine snack wine

taste: fish & chips. one of my favorite meals. especially when eaten at a pub with a cold beer and shared with a good friend. orange juice and a bunch of yummy food at sunday brunch.

touch: the warm sun touching my skin one day last week… in the midst of all of the rainy, gray days. holding on to my love while she is resting.

hear: the cat approaches the sofa. readies her claws. and then…. begins scratching. she’s so busted. a bunch of swedish all around me since i went back to work this week.

see: FLOWERS budding in the ground!! i cannot begin to explain how that elates me. and  outside furniture at restaurants and cafes. yay!

smell: fresh, springy sheets on my bed. a cinnamon bun and coffee during a long thursday night meeting.

feel: sadness and fear last week after the boston/watertown bombings and violence. thankful for the calming words of mr. rogers… which also makes me feel nostalgic (mr. rogers is an amazing children’s television person i grew up with). peace and calm late at night on friday, with a glass of wine, and cozy on my bed- the weekend had finally begun.


a restaurant that feeds your soul.


i love spontaneity. and the best is when you have people around you who are also spontaneous. on wednesday, i put spontaneity to the test.

i had coffee in the afternoon with a friend that i’ve known for almost 3 years now. he’s from the netherlands, and we were in a swedish for immigrants class together. so, both of us were new to sweden. both of us were trying to understand how we were going to make a life here, but were also excited about the possibilities, and certain that things would work out for each of us. we were pretty much the only two “western” people in our swedish class and we’re basically the same age, so it was natural to be drawn to each other in conversation and such. though he is european and i’m american, we had way more in common with each other than with the others.

in addition to the obvious third-world similarities, we connected at a soul level as well. i found, in my new friend, someone with whom i could talk about philosophy, the meaning of life, spirituality, dreams, and goals. we are something of kindred spirits, i believe. and it felt amazing to have met someone that i considered my first friend.

while i was figuring out my place in swedish society, and having good luck with that thanks to my amazing wife, my friend was also having good luck. a man who’s been part of the restaurant business in the past, my dutch friend found himself working at a local italian restaurant. pretty soon he moved up to a management level and moved on in life. we kept in touch here & there, but not as often as i would have liked.

still, we have been able to squeeze in time for coffee, drinks. or perhaps i might just pop by the restaurant whenever there is time.

after our planned coffee meeting – an inspirational conversation, as always, i decided to ask my love if she’d like to invite one of our american friends in town to meet us at my dutch friend’s restaurant for drinks later on in the evening (did you follow all of that? hehe.). of course she wanted to! so, a quick text and a message on Facebook, and we spontaneously decided to meet at pappa grappa for drinks at 9 pm. not only were we meeting our american friend, but my dutch friend’s dutch wife (who i also count as a friend) was coming too. perfect!

as the city hall clock struck the ninth tone, my love & i opened the door to the italian restaurant where my friend is in management. his wife was waiting for us, and our american friend was waiting in the casual pizzeria area, adjacent to the cozy, dimly-lit trendy restaurant and bar. we took our seats in the bar area, on cushy burgundy sofas and ottomans. a chandelier hung over our head, and the background music was jazzy and smooth, like the place itself. it may feel upscale at pappa grappa, and it is sort of, but it’s relaxed. one knows that there is a high standard for food and service. in other words, you’re gonna be taken care of and you’re gonna feel like a vip while you’re there. still, it is a place for real people, any day or night. it’s a place for a good time, for good drinks, and a place meant to break bread with each other and engage in conversation. it’s a place meant to enjoy something good in life…. the simple things. food, wine, friends.

my friend is working hard to create a specific atmosphere at pappa grappa, and i think he is well on his way. his vision, as i understand it, is a place of elegant relaxation, where good food, good drinks, and relationships are important – for those who are patrons of the restaurant and for those who work there. and he is determined for it to have an international feeling, which is manifested through music, food, and art. he desires to grow the restaurant into a place dripping with culture and finesse. and he hopes that it is not only a place where people buy and consume food, but where people connect with each other, with the community, and with the world.

in other words, a place with soul. those are his words: “a place with soul.”

as someone who seeks peace and meaning in regular everyday life, i must admit that pappa grappa is a place that not only feeds my cravings, but also feeds my soul – through the atmosphere, the friendly and caring personnel, and the yummy, elegant, top-notch food & drinks.

if i sound as if i’m a gushing food critic, then i guess that’s how i sound. i’m not writing this post to be a critic, but i am writing to get the word out. and to support my friend. because anyone who seeks to have soul be the driving force behind what they do, deserves a little attention.

so, if you live in norrköping, head on over to pappa grappa for drinks, or dinner, or pizza. do it on a random wednesday night like i did, and find a reason to celebrate life, for no other reason except for the fact that you are alive and you want beautiful, soulful things around you.

and if you don’t live in norrköping, then go to a restaurant or cafe or bar in your city that touches your soul. sip on something and enjoy a few moments of the good life.

let your soul be nourished.


cheers, my friends! peace.

click here to visit papa grappa’s website or here to visit their Facebook page.

* all photos copyright of belovelive.

njut av november.

this month is looking good!

  • CD release party. woo hoo.

  • road trip to skåne (southern sweden) for a traditional family goose dinner. my love & i loooove skåne!

  • a pop over to denmark on the ferry. be still my heart.

  • an open mic night/music cafe at the church where i work & my love’s gonna sing. yippee!

  • gonna preach again. oh yeah.

  • weekend in stockholm: a major deal for my love, a concert in the old town, and a chance to hang out with amazing people. perrrrfect.

  • a night at the theater. a little culture’s always right.

  • thanksgiving dinner at our home. 3rd annual swedish-american

  • more candles, even darker & shorter days, and perhaps (?!) some snow.

  • and then, all the amazing-ness in between that’ll surprise us.

peace & turkey love. gobble gobble.

* “njut av november” = swedish for “enjoy november”!

sunday night stuff.

hey hey! it’s 9pm and completely dark outside. yes, fall is on its way. no more swedish summer sun at 11:30 at night. tonight we’re sitting on the bed, each staring at our computer screens, with a sunday night film glowing from the tv screen in the background. other than the light from 2 computer screens & a tv, the entire apartment is dark. i’m thinking about going to sleep pretty soon because i am completely, utterly exhausted. but in such an amazingly good way.

last night, i went to bed at some ungodly hour in the night/morning  and got up at 7am this morning. not enough sleep. at all. why? well, i was writing my sermon for today. i couldn’t have done it any earlier because a). i didn’t know i’d be preaching until thursday night, and b). i was already completely booked from thursday night until 10pm last night. so, at 10pm i sat down to begin write my sermon. nothing like last minute inspiration. hehe. and hey, i thrive on adrenaline and in chaos.

the sun rose & i headed downtown to the church where i work. i always love walking to work on sunday mornings. ok. it’s a love/hate relationship. (love the walk, hate having to get out of bed). anyway, i love the silent walk downtown. it’s just me, the buildings, the birdies, and the trees. no one else is out. it is so unbelievably peaceful. this morning i had my headphones in, playing bluegrass music into my ears, pepping me for the morning’s activities…

which i survived. yep. i did it. i delivered my second sermon in swedish today! and other than actually switching out a few swedish words for english ones bay accident, i think it went pretty well. i can’t believe that i freaking preach in swedish. that blows my mind. but, it feels so amazing to have a chance to preach again. i must admit, when i get up in front of an audience, when i stand in front of others in public, and i have a chance to offer words of hope & love, i feel like i am home. it feels so natural, so right… so me. ( so, take that UMC. you can make a rule saying that i can’t be ordained, but you can’t stop God from calling me to be who i am. and you can’t stop my life from being used, according to my gifts. yes, i am married to a woman & i am a minister. so what. thanks to the amazing church who has hired me in sweden, i can have my cake & eat it too. but it’s not really about me anyway, is it? nope. it’s about God making a way when there seems to be none. it’s about unconditional, free love being more important human-made rules. it’s about never giving up hope. it’s about following your dreams that are revealed when you are true to yourself. the spirit moves as it will. and life is more about loving & including, rather than excluding. when did jesus ever exclude, by the way?) sorry about the little tangent.

anyway, i received some pretty good feedback today, and i am truly humbled. as i walked this morning, i remember thinking how overwhelmed i am that i live here, that i work here, and  that i get to do the things i love. i thought about how just a few years ago, i was dreaming about moving here, and imagining what it would be like to work here. it all felt so impossible, and so far away. any yet, here i am now. amazing. the risks, fears, and uncertainties are most definitely worth it.

i spoke about freedom today. the freedom that we are given to choose to be ourselves or not; the gift of inspiration, of the spirit, to guide and be with us; and our calling as free people to work for the freedom of all people. i have said that i’ll post my sermon here, and i will… but it may take a day or two. i realized that it’s in swedish, so i must translate it first. hehe.

but, my brain is fried tonight. i am physically, mentally, and emotionally wiped out. so, i’m gonna crawl under the covers now and snuggle down under my covers, drifting off to dreamland. tomorrow a new week begins… a really exciting week! we’re headed to ireland on thursday. but, more about that later on. first i’ve got tons of errands and 3 work days ahead. plus a laundry afternoon. but, i also begin yoga classes again. yeeeeessssss.

before i say goodnight, i just want to remind you (and me) of one thing. we all hear that we should truly follow our dreams; but what we don’t hear is that we should do it now. dreams always feel like something way off there in our future world. but, what if we lived out our dreams daily? like beginning today. right now. we can’t even imagine the possibilities that lay ahead for us.

go on, keep dreamin’ and keep believin’. and if you feel that you are alone, that your dreams are impossible, find someone to pep you up. you can even email, chat, or talk with me. i’ll believe in your dreams with you.

goodnight world. wishing you sweet dreams, the freedom to be who you are, and peace in your soul.

today is my ex-pat birthday.

it’s the scary choices that end up being the most worthwhile.    ~ melissa joy kong

two years ago today,  i boarded a plane in north carolina with 2 suitcases, 2 bags, a dog crate, a cat carrier, 2 carry-on bags, my love, & our cat. it was my last day as a us resident (at least for a little while) and my first day as an ex-pat. i was an american hungry for adventure, yearning to leave the states behind, and most certainly excited about beginning a new life – together with my love – in sweden. that’s right, folks. two years ago today, i moved to europe!  in the morning i was on north carolina soil, and the next time i went to bed, i was a swedish resident. an american girl’s dream come true.

as i think back over the past 2 years, i can’t decide if things have changed drastically, or not. in all truthfulness, it’s probably a little of both.

the biggest difference is how i feel. i am so much more comfortable in my skin, so much more sure of who i am, so much more accepting & loving to myself, and so much more confident of my dreams.( being thrust out of your comfort zone will do that to ya). well, in other words, i feel as if figured out a little bit about living from my soul.

perhaps this isn’t just because i moved to another country, but also because of my age. i’ve said to many before that turning 30 was a great thing, which seems to even get better with each year. it’s as if in your 30s, you begin to know exactly who you are… it doesn’t mean you have everything figured out – not at all; but the uncertain, restlessness, and stress of the 20s just falls away. you become more comfortable in your skin. life became more simple for me in my 30s. and after this move, life became even more simple – in a more complicated way. hee hee. how i want to live became even more clear. what is important (my love, family, time, passion, travel, creativity, being true) became obvious. dreams began to truly take shape, and recently, they have begun to manifest themselves into reality (read about that here). i feel much more inspired, much more like i live in the moment, and much more… like myself.

again, i’m not sure that the country of sweden has given me the gift of knowing me, but the time of the past 2 years have given me that gift. what i mean is, it doesn’t matter where i am; but it does matter that i made a move that changed my life, my perspective, and challenged me to figure out who i am in a new country/society/culture. and of course, it has made a difference that i now can share life with my love… everyday.

of course, that’s not the only difference – how i feel on the inside. there are plenty of other changes that have happened in the past 2 years. let’s call them “challenges” or “what the hell have i done” moments that i have had to face.

  • living in a country that has different customs… and learning those customs.
  • missing your home country’s customs & holidays.
  • discovering creative ways to celebrate all the holidays (from home & from the new country). pretty much we have at least 1 holiday every month of the year.
  • learning a new language. crazy hard when you’re in your mid-late 30s, but i made it!
  • calling 2 places home. a blessing & a curse.
  • getting a job.
  • feeling out of place.
  • accepting that you’ll always feel a little out of place.
  • realizing that feeling out of place is an awesome gift (and an excuse to be a little weird).
  • embracing my american-ness
  • embracing my swedish-ness
  • learning to plan everything with a calendar – the swedish way
  • losing spontaneity
  • gaining a different kind of spontaneity
  • accepting my coffee addiction
  • walking everywhere in snowy, 5 degree (farinheight) weather
  • realizing that spring does not come until may
  • adjusting to the fact that in december there will only be about 5 hours of daylight.
  • learning the true meaning of the word “cozy/mysig”
  • making swedish friends (i still tend to be a magnet for other ex-pats. i think it’s some kind of ex-pat radar or something you give off when you live in another country).
  • learning about the royal family
  • suffering from “sunshine stress” – the stress one feels in sweden that when it is sunny, one MUST be outside.
  • watching tv with subtitles
  • did i mention walking everywhere?
  • not being able to access stores at any time of the day or night. goodbye convenience.
  • figuring out all the swedish systems: how to do banking, insurance, etc.
  • homesickness

i could go on, but that’s enough for now. oh yes, there have been challenges and new experiences; but the hardest has been the language of course. i work now, and i do everything in swedish, so i can function totally fine. i’m comfortable. but it has been a long journey, and i have much more to learn. the hardest thing is feeling that i can’t express my personality, make jokes, and just relax when talking/in social situations. i always have to think so much, even if it’s coming much more naturally now. things still don’t just flow. so, it’s still a challenge i face, but i’m pretty satisfied & amazed that i am working and living in swedish now (unless i’m at home – where we always speak english, or with other expats, of course).

yep. two years have come & gone. so fast. i still can’t believe i live here. i still can’t believe that, after so many years or dreaming, my dream became a reality. and now, what comes next? hmmm… i have no idea. but, my love & i are settled for the moment. of course, we always have the desire to move to the states, or even to another country. i could totally do that. but, there are no plans in the works right now. for now, we are here. and here feels good. we need to be here. things are rolling along, and it’s important for us to be here & now, to live in the present.

as for the future, anything is possible…

today, though, i am simply thankful. thankful for all of the crazy, wonderful people who have supported me and encouraged my wishful thinking. thankful that i can call 2 places home. true, i miss the states terribly; but i am home here in sweden. when i am able home  in the states, i miss my dear sweden. i love both places. deeply. and i am so grateful for the life that i live… the love that i have found, the family that i have (in both countries), and the opportunities i have to do that which makes my heart sing – to work, to create, to write, to laugh, to wander, to travel, to chat, to just be. it hasn’t been a perfectly easy ride these past two years. there have been plenty of days where i just wanted to pack up lina & zola and hop a plane to familiar territory. but, with all the challenges, with all the scary moments, with all of the uncomfortable-ness, have come amazing memories, beautiful moments, and experiences that have transformed me.

i am amazed. overwhelmed. blessed.

if there is any advice i have to give to anyone at this point in my life, here’s what i would say:

take risks. if you dream it, and you can’t let go of it, then it is from your soul. make that move. make that change. get out of your comfort zone.  if you hear a little voice whispering for you to “go”, then go. there is always a way. anything is truly possible, and life can change in an instant. it doesn’t have to be a move to another country. it can simply be a change in the routine of your daily life. if you’ve always wanted to play the guitar, do it. if you want to take a yoga class. find one. make it happen, friends. big or small. a dream is a dream, and it can come true. it may take 15 years (like mine did), but don’t lose hope. believe in yourself & your dreams.

and then, there’s one more thing. if you haven’t traveled, do it. if you have, keep doing it. nothing will change you life more than experiencing life in a different way, through different eyes. you don’t have to board a plane or leave your state, just open yourself to seeing  & being in places that are not where you usually are. i promise you will be changed.

you know, about 5 years ago, i imagined myself as an elderly woman, and wondered what i would be reminiscing about in my old age;  right then decided i that i would not be an elderly woman sitting in a rocking chair on her porch at the age of 88, sipping iced tea, chatting with my friend, and playing “what if”, wondering what might have happened if i’d only….

nope. i decided that i would live my days right now saying, “why not?”

and that’s exactly what i’m doing.

happy “2 year ex-pat living in sweden” birthday to me!

now, get out there & live life! peace.

when your heart aches, it’s time to refocus.

i want to be here more than anything right now.

and i want to be doing this with these people (and a few more).

but, it’s not possible for me to go home to north carolina this summer. lina & i discussed it today, and we are aching to go there. longing to heal this hurting that is deep in our hearts. and while our minds are dreaming of this place, we know that we will be staying here. so, it’s time to dig deep and focus on the joys that come with staying in sweden this summer.

reasons i love living in sweden:

1. you can find ice cream. anytime. anywhere. whenever you are craving it. because swedes love their ice cream. it just so happened i craved it this afternoon. and voila! craving satisfied.

2. when i look up, i see this.

3. when i look down the street i see this.

4. when i need to buy groceries or pick up a package in the mail, i go here to my historical building-turned-grocery store/post office (where i shop: photo a day june).

5. every time i arrive home, i see this date on the foundation of my building, reminding me that it was built 105 years ago.

so, though i am missing summer in north carolina, i am working hard to remember all the perks of living in sweden. i mean, come on. it’s europe. everything’s old. and gorgeous. i don’t have too much to complain about. but, on those days & moments when i find myself missing my family, i will look up, or out my window, or down the street and soak in all the beauty. it’s so important to try to live in the present moment, to not always be wishing you were somewhere else, but appreciating all that is around. i refuse to be that person who is stuck wishing for the past or waiting for the future. instead, i am going to refocus & create a beautiful summer exactly where i am.

well, i’m gonna try. and if anyone wants to come & visit, you’re more than welcome! i’ll play tour guide!

peace and summer love wherever you are.

my cup is overflowing.

i did it. i made it. i stood up, opened my mouth, and let the swedish flow. ok, perhaps it didn’t flow perfectly. perhaps i stumbled over some pronunciations and mixed up some grammar. but, i did it. i preached my first sermon in 4 years, which caused enough anxiety & excitement itself; but i did it all in swedish too.

i am freaking overwhelmed.

today was the equivalent of youth sunday in the church where i work. working with youth is always interesting; and helping to guide & motivate them to be the leaders of a sunday morning gathering can be stressful & scary. but, i must say, by the time i was home on friday after practicing & preparing with the youth, i was feeling quite calm (except for the fact that i still had to write my sermon!). then, after spending the entire day yesterday in front of the computer, i got that done too. i was a calm as i could be when i turned out the lights last night.

morning came quickly, and i was out the door earlier than usual for a sunday. all the youth arrived on time, we went through everyone’s responsibilities, and then it was time to begin. i was so impressed with the youth! they were relaxed, focused, and seemed to be into it. they welcomed the congregation, lead some prayers, read the text for the day, sang/played guitar, and did a little drama. seriously. teens! awesome, amazing teens (reminded me of the youth i had in north carolina. i miss y’all). all i really did today was preach and lead the pastor’s prayer.

it was an awesome morning, and an amazing experience. and i felt so at home – even with all the swedish. i could feel the words (it didn’t really matter what language they were) just spilling out of me. standing there, looking into the eyes of the people, speaking about the things that i believe in most: love, acceptance of all people,  life as a journey, the joy & responsibility that we have to share the stories of our lives with each other. it was an unbelievable moment, as i realized this journey that has led me here. how i never could have imagined it. all the heartbreak, the insecurity, the pain, the confusion. at the same time, the beauty, the joy, the adventure, the opportunities.

four years ago i gave my last sermon in a church in north carolina, not knowing at all what the future would bring. if i would ever stand and speak words of hope to people gathered again. after some years, i decided that perhaps my only outlet to write/speak was this blog. perhaps i only wanted to use a blog anyway, or talk with people individually (like a mentor or something), and not speak/preach so publicly again.

but, true to life’s surprises, i found myself doing today, just what i thought i might never do again. and it felt amazing. the anxiety of preparing for today almost drove me crazy. but with the support & love from people all over the world – from many different areas & times of my life – i survived. and i am left tonight basking in the glow of this overwhelmed, humbled feeling that, though it is never what we expect it to be, life is an unbelievable journey. and the fact that i have the joy of sharing it all with my love… well, that means that my cup is overflowing.

oh, i am so lucky. how is it possible that i am so blessed?

blessings of joy & peace to you too.

now more than ever.

i’m freaking out. and i guess it’s time. perhaps i deserve it. i mean, i’ve had all this time off. you know, the two weeks i spent in the states enjoying life. i guess i need to face reality and stop bitching. ok. i’m not really bitching, i’m just freaking out.

but, when did this happen? when did i go from having all the time in the world to having no time at all?

  • year one in sweden: too much time on my hands & no motivation to use that time to write. i couldn’t. i felt paralyzed in one way, as i tried to find my place here.
  • year two in sweden: work, internship, life moving at warp speed, and all the motivation to write but no time to do it.

oh, the irony. it’s just crazy. hey, isn’t there a balance somewhere? does it really have to be so extreme, or at least feel so extreme? why does it seem to be all or nothing?

well, it’s more good than bad with all of the craziness in life… it just makes my head feel like it might explode, and i find myself dreaming of (obsessing about) spending an entire day in my pjs – which ain’t gonna happen any time soon. nevertheless, it’s really good (reaaaally good!) to have found my place here, to feel like i belong, to build my own life (with my love) here; and today at work was really good. really productive. really fun. i was listening to some swedish (which of course i do all the time because, well, that’s life), and i realized that it was me talking. i was goin’ to town speaking swedish, not necessarily like everyone else, but it was flowing easily out of my mouth. feeling natural in some way. oh yeah. felt awesome. again, i say, it’s really good to be building my life here.

when i got home after the super, super cold 8 block walk & a trip to the grocery store for milk , i was ready to put on my cozy pants, pull on my favorite t-shirt, slip on my slippers, wrap up in my blanket, and spend the rest of the day with my love. i did exactly that & it has been great. we’ve been chatting some about some trips (YAY!!!) that we are planning… paris in the spring (hello. i’m dying here!) and a possible early summer trip with our friend to gotland, an amazing swedish island. old, cozy, beautiful, natural, fairy-tale-like, i hear. in looking at our calendars, it came to my attention that every weekend, and i mean every weekend is booked from now until may.

and that made me freak out. lina too, i think.

 me not freaking out.

how am i gonna make it? i need & crave down time. i’m a recluse with a hermit’s heart. i mean, i enjoy spending time with people, hanging out with friends, and doing all the awesome stuff we have planned, but i also really enjoy (need) time to just be. when is that going to happen? and then i remembered… my 30 minutes of quiet every day – used to read, meditate, write, take pictures, walk, be. no phone. no computer. no internet. just me, a cup of coffee (if the activity allows it), a book/journal, a camera (depending on the day), and some music (if i want it). the only way i will survive this crazy, fun, over-the-top-busy spring is if i prioritize my “me time”. it is so necessary.

now more than ever.

here’s wishing you an amazing week. and some time to chill squeezed in somewhere, somehow. just do it. i’m gonna.

peace & quiet.

a package!!!

here i am on a chilly thursday night. sitting in silence, but feeling rather productive.

i finally succeeded in focusing and getting some work done. and now i’m all ready for my meeting with the youth tomorrow night. yes, i know. it’s a day ahead. and i neeeever complete things a day ahead. always on time, but not in advance. however, today i got it done. go me.

soon, i’m gonna curl up with a good movie , a glass of wine, and wait for my love to come home. i’d really love to write about a crapload of current events rolling around in my head – occupy wall street (and beyond), the news out of libya today, LGBT stuff, faith ponderings… but, i’m not in the mood right now. or, rather, my brain is fried from planning my meeting for tomorrow night. you know, it’s good i’m doing something that i have lots of experience in, because adding in the “plan this in a whole other language” thing doubles or triples the time it takes me to accomplish things. i have to basically write everything out in swedish, just so i can get in the flow, so that tomorrow when i meet with the youth, i’m not reading my swedish to them, but talking and conversing like a normal person. it’s a tough process, but i’m sure it’s helping my swedish immensely. all that to say, there will be no long post tonight on any deep and meaningful subject…

just a fun post about the package that we got from the states today!

zola love, and i mean loooves, boxes.

fun stuff!! ok. a mixture of a bunch of things that i can’t here in sweden. or if i did, they would be expensive. 2 sets of orange halloween lights. 3 air freshners (i’m already using one). 5 white t-shirts. 1 scooby-doo halloween dvd. 1 snoopy dvd. and a card. (the dvd’s were unexpected gifts from my parents who refuse to grow up – and i love that about them!) yes, i am spoiled! thank you, mom & dad!!!

there’s nothin’ like an orange glow in your living room to make it cozy…

peace & happy almost weekend!