pink-tulips

harnessing the energy of spring

have you being feeling a little bit “off” lately? or have you been feeling some crazy energy swirling all around you – causing you to be inspired, overwhelmed, confused, or out of balance – or a combination of all of these things? well, i think there may be a reason for that.

you see, today is the first day of spring for those of us in the northern hemisphere. and it’s a new moon. and there’s a total eclipse of the sun. that said, there’s gotta be some funky stuff going on in the air because there is some crazy stuff happening way up there in space. the universe is filled with a bunch of energy.

and all of that funny stuff is leading us to a place where we can bring forth amazing change, moments, growth, and transformation in our lives. if we just say yes.

now, i am no astrologer or energy healer or anything like that. i am just a theologian, a lover of thinking about life from a theological/spiritual perspective. and i’m the sort of theologian who believes that all things are connected by some beautiful, gentle, loving, inspiring, divine force. call it whatever you wish. come at it from whatever religion you wish. that’s not what is important to me. what is important, is this beautiful connection that spans time and space, all of humanity, all of nature, and the whole universe , in fact.

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and on days like this, days when there is a significant thing happening within nature + in the cosmic sky above, if you will, i need to sit and ponder a bit.i need to tap into my wild self. i need to slow down + take part in whatever is happening. because whatever is happening in nature and in the world, whatever is happening to you, is also happening to me. and there is so much to learn about those unanswerable questions of life by simple being aware + observing + reading the signs. there is so much internal work that can be done, if we simply slow down enough to listen. on days like today, our souls can connect deeply with nature + inspire in deep, meaningful ways.

(not to mention i am simply a solstices and the equinoxes celebrating junkie. as you can tell –> here).

today we celebrate the arrival of spring. light + warmth return to my part of the world. new life is all around. grass begins to turn green. baby animals are born. flowers begin to peek from the ground. trees begin to bud. all signs of life, and hope. a reminder that, even when the darkness is overwhelming, there is always light. and the light always returns, again + again. ultimately, life and love always win.

it is a beautiful, incredible cycle of life… and isn’t it just mind-blowing how the universe keeps itself in balance? it just flows and continues.  just as we celebrate spring, we know that fall + winter will return again. just as we celebrate our own life, we know that death eventually follows. but right now, in this very moment, life is beginning again. the energy is palpable. it’s like standing on the top of a mountain, breathless, in complete awe. we are so very present in that very moment.

and so, what else is there to do than to live right now? in the present moment. for that’s all we have. that is what is important and beautiful and inspiring. and amazingly, the present moment is renewed again and again. just like the passing seasons of the year. creativity and renewal and new beginnings are part of the awe-inspiring cycle of life. why wouldn’t we want to align ourselves and go with the flow and ride the magical cycle of life in harmony with nature, instead of trying to fight it? why wouldn’t we want to soak up the sacred, glorious present moment that is right now?

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speaking of the present moment, today, on this first day of spring, everything is balanced. there are equal parts of light and dark in the day. and, from today on, the days will continue to become longer + brighter as we make our way to the summer solstice in june (midsummer, in sweden). but, just today, for this moment, we are balanced. and for me, that gives me a sense of total harmony. complete rest and calm and peace.

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so, today, in the midst of mother nature’s day of balance i will look up to the sky (even if it is cloudy and possibly snowy in sweden) and i will breathe in the changing of the seasons. i will pause to feel the shift. and, with the new moon that covers the sun, and i will use these moments, that are teetering ever-so-gently in perfect balance, to set my intentions for the days of light that follow. it is time to begin something. to let go of the old, dark, cold winter times of our lives and to leap forward with joy + lightness to whatever comes next. today is the day that we can dream about what that might be. we may have no detailed ideas of what lies ahead, it is most likely completely unknown; but we can ponder, plan, and set our intentions for what we want to accomplish and how we want to live.

besides, what better time than spring to begin to focus on the newness that waits for us?

onwards + upwards, friends! xoxo

sensory overload: easter celebrations!

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in our little home, we had a quiet and beautiful easter sunday. after dreary, cold rain on friday & saturday… accompanied with a bit of pensive, contemplative moments (read about it here), easter sunday truly lived up to it’s name. just like the symbolism of death and waiting that was saturday’s companion, sunday’s celebration of life, renewal, and  beauty was made even more real by amazing sunshine and warm weather. it was absolutely perfect here in asheville!

saturday night, in an effort to take part in some easter traditions, we decided to dye easter eggs – but, with a twist. i didn’t want to go and buy the typical little packaged dyes, so i decided to make my own natural, organic dyes from fruits, vegetables, and spices (thanks to pinterest). it took a little work, but it was quite easy. and it felt so good to go organic.

eggs

To prepare the dye I used the following:

  • 1 chopped beet
  • 2 C red onion skins
  • 2 C yellow onions skins
  • 2 Tbsp of paprika
  • 2 Tbsp of tumeric
  • 1 C blackberries
  1. Place each of these things into 2 C of water along with 1 tsp salt and boil for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Strain the water and place in a jar or bowl and add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to each dye.
  3. Allow them to cool before using.
  4. Of course I also needed hard boiled eggs.  I used 12, so Lina and I would each have 6 to dye.
  5. I placed all the dyes into plastic cups and we used plastic spoons to place the eggs in and out of the cups.

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It takes a while for the natural dyes to work, so be ready to be patient. I think we left ours in the dyes for about 30 minutes to an hour. It all depends on how dark you want your colors to be. And, when you take them out, they will not be perfectly evenly dyed, but splotchy and uneven – a little tie-dyed looking. But, I loved that. And I especially loved the muted, earthy colors. I left them alone overnight to dry, and was completely in love when I saw them on Easter morning!

easter eggs

easter sunday started off with a misty, mysterious mountain fog , which soon burned off and revealed a glorious day of warmth and abundant sunshine.

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speaking of easter sunday morning, we had so much fun! lina has never received an american easter basket, so, the easter bunny made an extra special stop at our home to surprise her.

i was sleeping hard, when suddenly, i heard, “i see something!” and there, on the dining room table, was an easter basket for lina! she jumped out of bed and ran over to her basket. there was complete and unadulterated joy coming from her squeals and excitement – an amazing and beautiful thing to see. she sat down and went through her basket, loving every minute of it. and i was filled with such joy just watching her. then, it was time for lina to find the eggs, which had been hidden around the apartment by the easter bunny. so. much. fun.

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after all the early morning festivities, it was time for coffee on the balcony… and a little later on, a french toast breakfast in the sun.

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even though my love has a lot to study right now (she only has 2 weeks left and then her summer vacation starts!), we decided to head over to biltmore estate to check out the flowers. there is a huge garden there that is filled with tulips, and it is a favorite spring destination for people from all over. actually, it’s a pretty huge deal, and very magical – biltmore estate in the spring.

so, we drove the 5 minutes over there and discovered that the line to get in was waaaaay long. it’s a 3 mile drive up to the house & gardens, through the biltmore land/grounds, and it was bumper to bumper the whole way. but, it was so beautiful that we just rolled down the windows, turned on bluegrass music, and then enjoyed the ride.

biltmore estate entrance spring

we passed right by the house and headed for the gardens, parked the car, and then soaked up the beauty.

biltmore estate biltmore gardens biltmore gardens mountains biltmore dogwood greenhouse conservatory my love me photography tulips red flower orange field of flowers tulip garden lina tulips liz tulips sit liz me ego flowers feet biltmore swannanoa river biltmore yellow flowers spring lone tree biltmore mountains

after the biltmore visit, we came home for the rest of the day – except i went to see my bro for an hour. and later on, finished off the day with a glass of bubbles and a sunset chat with my love.

i truly hope that your easter, your weekend, was beautiful and filled with lots of moments that took your breath away.

love & peace. 

credit to lina for some of the biltmore photos. 

celebrating life… the nordic spring way.

there are only two more days in april (craaaaazy!), and i’m working on a photo journey for may as i write this. yep. i am multi-tasking. i don’t think i’ll finish may’s challenge tonight, so you’ll have to wait until tuesday for the big reveal! anyway, as we come to a close on our month of celebrating life, here’s a peek at what i’ve been celebrating this past week…

22. mother nature

mother nature

23. soil

soil

24. jump

jump

25. play

play

26. twirl

twirl

27. walk

walk

28. heartbeat

heartbeat

how have you celebrated life? have you had any moments that reminded you how amazing life can be?!

a few bonus photos. yay!

cappachino birdie tulips blt tree wine spring concert

spring is finally, s l o o o o w l y making it’s appearance here in sweden and all swedes are getting a little spring crazy now. no matter where you go, people are talking about the weather. if the sun is shining, then it’s a spring day, nevermind that the temperature is just above freezing or the wind is blowing like crazy. nope. it’s all about the sun, which is already warming up a bunch. though the air is still chilly.

and the daylight!!! oh, the beautiful daylight! it is not completely dark until 9:30 now, and we’ve got so much more daylight coming to us. yay!!

this coming week is a big one for us up here in the nordic country. it’s time to celebrate the coming of spring with bonfires, spring songs, sunshine, picnics, grilling, and bonfires. my love & i may be heading to uppsala to visit lina’s brother for a huge traditional, whole city, crazy celebration. but, no matter where i am, it will not go unnoticed that april 30th is the super crazy celebration of the coming of spring! it is the official welcome of the season! and then, we all have the next day (may 1st) off to recover from the celebration. yep. that’s how we roll up here.

here’s to wishing you a great end of april and beginning of may. i hope the sun shines some wherever you are! peace.

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.

look what the easter bunny brought.

there was no snow at christmas, but look what we got for easter weekend. hmm… it’s pretty. but, come on, it’s april. and i’ve decided that i’m not that excited about it. the fact that it’s laying around means that it’s really cold outside. not exactly sundresses, sunglasses, and sandals for easter this year. more like, boots, scarves, and hats. hmpf.

 mmm. hmmm. winter again.

on my way to the church last night for my good friday experience with the youth. brrrr..

an empty, silent sanctuary friday night. a cool place to be alone for a few moments.

 walking home last night.

 easter eve morning coffee. the first of many today. and my easter-y inspired fingernails.

 pretty tulips. you’d never know the ground outside was covered with snow. hehe.

so, what to do with this crazy, upside-down weather? nothing but paint my nails a fun, easter-y color, grab extra cups of coffee, & enjoy the moments of this holy saturday/easter eve… besides, the clouds are breaking up, sun is coming out, and we’ve got a full day of family, food, & good times ahead (swedes do their big easter celebrating on the saturday before easter sunday = påskafton/easter eve). gotta catch the tram soon, so, time to get ready! have a great saturday, my friends!

glad påskafton! (happy easter eve!)

sunshine & peace.