school supplies + coffee + nesting at home + breweries

hi blogging friends! well, it’s happening. summer is winding down in the northern hemisphere, and autumn is not far behind. and yesterday marked the beginning of regular, everyday life again for me (and many others in different places). college students, including my love, headed back for another semester of fun, stress, and inspiration. younger students began sucking every last drop of summer fun out of the last 2 days of vacation up here in the mountain cities and towns. my swedish friends and families have now begun the unofficial season of autumn = the long, beautiful summer holidays are over and autumn’s shorter, rainier, chillier days have begun to creep up.

lina at unca

and me… well, i am settling into the beautiful asheville life that i created with lina in the past year. yes, for me, the beginning of these regular, everyday life days are a welcome change. a chance to begin again – but not by completely starting over, by building on all that we have already built here in asheville. i feel totally ready to refocus and use the energy and vibes that i’ve soaked up this summer to push me forward in my writing, photography, and the next step on my journey in life. i feel grounded and ready to fly all at the same time.

studio at home

mostly, it just feels good to be me. to be where i am and to be focused on each day as it comes, following the dreams and hopes that my soul feels.

but, i also feel something a bit different right now. i feel determined. practical. ready to get down to business. in a word, disciplined. in no way do i feel that i’ve lost any spontaneity, i just feel like working my ass off for the things that i love. and i feel like making my life much more streamlined, with a defined purpose to each and every day. not rigid and controlled, but inspired. know what i mean?


here’s a prime example: i decided to embark on another mediation series that began on august 11. a series on happiness – which seemed cool timing since i just read the book “the geography of bliss” during the summer. to be honest with you all, as much as i enjoy meditating and quiet time alone, i am really really bad at sticking to it. i mean, in a disciplined way. i spend time alone every day, but i just don’t see a meditation series through to the end.

until now… i hope. you see, so far, i have done 9 days of focused meditation in a row. it may be a new record. and, while i have not set a specific time to meditate or made some sort of routine, i have made it a priority. like truly. no computer, phone, or other technological stuff until i have done it. and i have no specific time for all of this – i just know that it is my priority for how to begin my days right now.

fika meetup

asheville brewing company beer

all of this tells me that i am focused right now. that everyday life is not boring, but is exactly what i (we) decide to make it. we only have this one life, and there is no reason to waste time when we have dreams and goals and a purpose. so, it’s time to soak up every single day – whether filled with “regular” moments or “adventurous” moments. if we are living our life for our next vacation or our next big trip or our next wild adventure, we miss the wild, carefree beauty that is also found in the every day. and we end up living our life for whatever comes next, instead of what is. we miss the present moment.

studio at home create

and so, again, i welcome these last few days of summer… when we all settle back into some sort of routine. when the little things that happen in our everyday lives become the building blocks to making our dreams come true. you know, the amazing moments are fabulous and inspiring, but it is the little steps taken day-in and day-out that make us who we are, that make our life what it is.

zola the cat

beer at the laundromat bar and soap

it’s all about the journey – the everyday journey – that’s what makes the memories that become our life.

peace and love xx

hmm… what should i do today?

IMG_3171 - Version 2

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman

live life and come alive, my friends. peace.

namaste, my friends.

today i am open to the presence of miracles.

DSC_0268today’s message from the universe (which arrived in my email this morning):

It’s perfectly normal, Liz, that when waiting for a really big dream to come true it seems like it’s taking forever, you wonder if you’re doing something wrong, and you feel like you should just be happy with less.

But I promise you, no matter how long it takes, once it happens it’ll seem as if time flew, you’ll wonder how you ever doubted yourself, and you’ll feel like you should have aimed a little higher.

Aim a little higher, Liz –
The Universe

namaste. peace.

why i am living in a flea market.

happening today in our apartment:




it’s gonna be a crazy, epic weekend. but, it feels so amazing to be rid of so much stuff (think simplicity!) & to know that it’s going to friends & family feels even better. whatever is left over after the weekend we are donating. if you’re in norrköping, come on by! wish us luck!!

happy friday! peace & love.

when you start writing about one thing & it turns into something completely different. in other words, lack of sleep.


wednesday night and i’m beat. i just wanna crawl under the covers and sleep and sleep and sleep. without waking up once. without getting up with the cat to play and snuggle – as she wants to do every night. i just want to go to sleep. right now. but, i can’t. i have to stay up as late as possible so that i up my chances of staying asleep the whole night. that would be a.w.e.s.o.m.e. my love is having the same problems. it ain’t workin’ out too good over here these days.

but, it’ll get better. and i have a good feeling about tonight. there’s only so many days in a row that i can go without freaking the freak out. it’s like having jet lag without getting the joy of visiting anywhere. i feel like i’m having a continuous out-of body experience.

but, real jet lag is coming soon enough.

in 2 and a half weeks my love and i are jet-setting across the world to CHINA! how crazy is that?! it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we figured we’d better take it now while we can. so, we’ll be spending 14 days in beijing, hong kong, zhuhai, and surrounding areas. i can’t wait! but i’d be lying if i didn’t say that i wasn’t freaking the freak out about this trip too. until now, i’ve stayed safe in my travel, wandering only as far as eastern europe (which i dare say was a brave adventure in and of itself). but, now. to an utterly, completely different culture. wowzers!

the thing is, lina & i always have tons of stories to tell due to the fact that everything we do, everywhere we go, lends itself to becoming one big adventure after another = things don’t always work out. stress levels rise. and mini-catastrophes occur. such as, riding and sleeping in our car with a mouse for a few days in the florida keys. nooooot good at the time. but, hilarious now. and visiting berlin on the coldest day of the year. cozy now, awfully uncomfortable then. or looking for a campground in the ghetto in memphis, tennessee. we didn’t sleep there. instead we opted for a 5 star hotel. hehe. how about sleeping in 90F/40C weather in a sleeping bag and tent in oklahoma. ok. there was no sleep. and then there’s the time we got caught in a police chase and helped about 3-4 police cars catch a suspect at a gas station in miami. we burned our eyeballs from hot wind and drank dollar margaritas on the streets of las vegas. and of course we got pulled over by a cop in the middle of the painted desert in new mexico. why, you ask? because we stopped on a bridge to take a picture. was anyone else around within sight, you wonder? nope. not at all. but, suddenly a park cop appeared in my rear view mirror and flagged me down. oops. oh, the list goes on & on.

and then there’s the whole passport thing.

you see, i am a freak (“freak” is my word of the night. don’t know why.) about my passport when i am in another country than my own. and, i live in another country than my own, so there’s always a little part of me freaking out. and i always know where my passport is safely stored. of course, i don’t need it here in sweden. not at all, since i have rights here. but, still. it’s a safety feeling thing. and when i travel, i do a passport check multiple times a day. i just have to see it and touch it.

well, in order to go to china, we had to apply for visas and send in our passports to the chinese embassy in sweden. easy enough. well, lots of paperwork for me since i have an american passport & am applying in sweden. anyway, we did the forms, gathered the paperwork, got a self-adressed envelope, and mailed it all to stockholm. i hated having to send my passport away. i felt naked. or insecure. or something.

a week later, we received a piece of paper in the mail that we could go pick up our passports at the postal place (in sweden we get mail at the grocery store – another story). we were so excited! we took our ids, and received our self-addressed envelope. i was holding them in my hands again… finally. i ripped open the package and pulled out a red passport (european union color). so far so good. it felt thick, so i thought mine was stuffed inside it somehow. and then, i had a little panic moment. mine wasn’t there, perhaps. i looked inside the red-colored passport and discovered that not only was mine not there, and not in the package, the red passport was not even lina’s! for a second i couldn’t process what was happening. i didn’t believe it. and then it sank in as lina understood at the same time what was happening. we did not have our passports at all, but some man’s!! so, where the hell were ours?!

of course it was after work hours, so i had to wait until the next day to call the embassy. they had no idea they had screwed up and they basically freaked out when they realized that they had to admit that they had no idea either where ours were. o.m.g. freaking out here. well, after about 8 hours and about 10 phone calls later, everything was made right and we had our passports back in our hands. turns out, the guy who’s passport we had, had ours. so the chinese embassy paid a taxi driver to come to our apartment, pick up his passport, drive 2 hours, deliver it to him, pick up ours from him,drive the 2 hours back, and deliver ours to us. let me just say that it was a rocky 24 hours. big time. and to say we were relieved is most definitely an understatement.

so, you see, we haven’t left swedish soil and already… adventure & craziness. i admit i’m a little frightened about what lies ahead, but i also know that we will make it fine and have amazing stories to tell later on. so, bring on the chinese adventures!

it’s getting later, but still a bit early to call it a night. and i’m not a night person, so writing some on my memoir is not a good idea. but, writing all of this down, thinking about past memories and dreaming of new memories to come has served it’s purpose to help me pass the time. perhaps i’m just overtired and emotionally drained right now.

lina’s granddad passed away yesterday, so we have been completely busy with grieving and planning and being with family. and i have 4 very intense days of work ahead of me. and not much inspiration. in other words, i’m drained. and it’s a weird time of the year. not winter. not spring. not light. not dark. cold. damp. snow fell last night and we have a whole new blanket of white everywhere. and yet, it’s as if you can hear the earth begin to breathe again; you know that just beneath the surface of the ground lie little sprouts just waiting for the perfect moment to break free and stand up.

i know that this is all part of the journey we call life. this crazy, wonderful, roller coaster ride of life… full of amazing moments you never want to end, and moments where you feel like you will break into pieces. life, death. light, dark. a little of everything all mixed into one. but, it’s my life. and it’s my craziness. and i’m gonna make the most of it. besides, my life is most definitely not boring. or normal.

and i like it that way just fine.

goodnight, dear readers. thanks for being here & listening to these crazy rambles tonight. i feel better. and i’m ready to sleep now. my eyes are heavy and droopy.

so, did you have any adventures today? what did you do? how do you feel? i’d love to hear how you are. peace and love.

just one thing before i say goodnight.

i started reading a book this morning. i just picked it up, randomly, from the bottom of the book pile beside my bed, and began devouring the words. i was immediately touched and inspired. it’s one of those books that seems to give breath to thoughts that i have had, but hadn’t ever formed into words. in other words, i was drawn in. as i sat in bed tonight, trying hard not to fall asleep, i remembered the book & a few sentences that i read this morning that were especially amazing – more about that in a minute.

it’s been a long day. feels like forever since this morning, and i haven’t thought about the book since i put it down, right before i hopped in the shower in order to make it to a meeting on time. the meeting came & went. it was productive & necessary & good. i came home, made lunch, and then ended up working from home a little bit. i followed my love to the post office, which was about a 15 minute walk in the snow & wind. cold, but fun. we laughed, played, and chased each other, acting like kids, leaving me feeling like a young girl in love, as we enjoyed the winter air & the snow swirling around us. i worked some more at home, and then we headed to the church. i, for another meeting. lina, for choir practice.

during the meeting, i had plenty of questions directed to me regarding our upcoming move to the states in july. all in all, everyone was saying they thought it was so great that my love was following her dreams, and how much fun it would be for us to move, though they also all expressed sadness about us leaving. i was meeting with the older adults group, who wanted to hear (in addition to the scoop on our move) about my work with the teenagers & what we need this year in the form of money. they are a huge. huge, huge supporter of my work, putting on fairs, markets, having lotteries, yard sales, and other events to raise money for us. i found myself facing an impromptu, spontaneous speech (in swedish) for about 15-20 minutes at least. whew. then, they invited me for dinner with them. soup & sandwiches. as i slurped up my soup & chatted away with the sweet ladies sitting around me, i had a moment. one of those where i feel like i am about to burst with overwhelming feelings of “how is it possible that i live here in sweden, speak swedish, get to meet these people, have become part of the swedish society?” sometimes i just have to pinch myself. i was filled with happiness and humbleness.

i came home, satisfied and extremely tried, climbed into bed with my little family, and turned on the tv to just veg out. though i couldn’t stop thinking about people. all the people in this world, including you, who are so amazing. who make a difference. who work hard. who love others. i was overcome with gratefulness for  people. it’s as simple as that. and then i suddenly remembered the book from this morning. and a few sentences that especially touched me. so i decided that, in honor of all good people in the world, i wanted to share this inspiring, lovely quote with you. i wanted to send you a message of hope & peace. i wanted to take a moment to share a little beauty with you. i wanted to remind you (and myself), inspired by my day, that even in the most ordinary people, places, things, & moments, something mysterious & beautiful & sacred exists.

i snapped this on my walk with my love today. so beautiful.

i snapped this on my walk with my love today. so beautiful.

whoever you are, you are human.wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it. ~ barbara brown taylor

thoughts of peace & gratefulness that you are you.

on today’s agenda.



celebration is my theme for today. woo hoo!! got my sermon all done last night. based it on jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. wrote about learning to celebrate in every moment, because there is always, always something worth celebrating. it’s always the right time for a party. it’s alway the right time to take something ordinary & make it something extraordinary – like jesus making water into wine. and now, i’m gonna work really hard to practice what i preach. hehe. because, i mean, seriously, things may not be perfect; but perhaps i would celebrate more if i looked at what i had, instead of what i don’t have (and i’m not talking material things). life is too short to go around feeling sorry for ourselves. little slivers of beauty & joy exist even in the darkest places & moments. celebrating does not mean being dreamy, unrealistic, and naive. not. at. all. it means embracing all that is wrong, difficult, scary, and horrible in the world & in our lives, and still finding a reason to dance & laugh & sing.

so, instead of wasting my life away, i’m gonna celebrate all that there is to celebrate. and what better time than now. if not now, then when?!

there y’all have gotten the gist of what i’m talking about today at work. wanna join me in celebrating later on?!

happy sunday! throw a party! (even if it’s for yourself…. you’re worth it!). peace & laughter.

these two.

my beautiful & amazing love & our little cutie kitty-girl, zola.

my amazing love & our little cutie kitty, zola.

just taking a moment to be thankful for my family.what are you thankful for today?

peace, love, & understanding.

tuesday made me smile.

morning coffee with my love.

morning coffee with my love.

seeing how much it had snowed overnight.

look how much it had snowed overnight!

my cozy little work corner today.

my cozy little work corner today.

snow + tree = beautiful, heavy branches looking like they're covered with white blankets.

snow + tree = beautiful, heavy branches looking like they’re covered with white blankets.

a warm scarf & good music playing through my funky headphones as i walked home.

a warm scarf & good music playing through my funky headphones as i walked home.

my love's smile when i brought her flowers.

my love’s smile when i brought her flowers.

did something make you smile today? what was it?

wishing you a peaceful and smile-filled tomorrow.