love is in the air.


it’s the second sunday of advent. the sunday of love. the first week of advent has flown by & i have been pretty faithful to finding some quiet time by myself every day. go me. it makes my day so much more meaningful. it balances me out. it helps me to appreciate the little things in life. for the first time in quite a few years, i feel as if i am soaking up this advent season. actually, i don’t know if i’ve ever felt so present in the moment as i do this advent. and for that, i am so thankful. i suppose i am in an amazing place in my life.

i’ve been thinking about my marriage the past week. and today. as one of the things that i love so much. obviously, it is a bi-national marriage that lina & i have, and one of the things that i love about being in a bi-national marriage is the fact that we have two cultures with two sets of traditions. some of them are the same, but some of them are quite different. advent/christmas is one of those times that is quite different. we do out best to blend our traditions together, so we get a combo of a swedish & american christmas, and that has been so amazing in the past years. i mean, how much more fun could that be?! two ways to celebrate christmas at once!

still, we find ourselves in one country or the other during each season/holiday, and while we do the best we can to fill in the gaps of the other country’s traditions, it’s just not the same. there is always a little something missing. however, this year is different…

this year, we are getting to experience much of the traditions of both countries in their respective countries. we are soaking in all of the cozy, amazing advent traditions in sweden. and then, we finish off the season with the craziness of the states. it is totally wonderful to be able to spend part of the season in both countries!

so, we’ve got one more week of swedish amazingness during advent, and we’re gonna do it up right this coming week. then, it’s off to the states.

today, since my theme is love, i thought i’d share a few more things from the past week that i have loved to see, do, taste, hear, feel, or be. part of the swedish way of life in december.

morning lucia pepparkakor favetrees linasinging church


“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

peace & light to you all on this sunday evening.

november rain.


a cold november rain falls endlessly outside my window tonight. but, i’m safe & warm inside. the candlelight flickers and glows. my family is close by. is there anyone luckier than me? 

“Now and then sprays of rain flew over and misted our faces. Every time I refused to wipe away the wetness. It made the world seem so alive to me. I couldn’t help but envy the way a good storm got everyone’s attention.”
― Sue Monk KiddThe Secret Life of Bees

“I want to believe that I’m not wrong. I want to believe that life isn’t full of darkness. Even if storms come to pass, the sun will shine again. No matter how painful and hard the rain may beat down on me.”
― Natsuki Takaya

“Oh, come forth into the storm and rout
And be my love in the rain.”
― Robert Frost

“Why the Egyptian, Arabic, Abyssinian, Choctaw? Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder goe when it dies?”
― Ray BradburySomething Wicked This Way Comes

“The unwelcome November rain had perversely stolen the day’s last hour and pawned it with that ancient fence, the night.”
― F. Scott FitzgeraldThis Side of Paradise

“Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view to the right hand; to the left were the clear panes of glass, protecting, but not separating me from the drear November day. At intervals, while turning over the leaves of my book, I studied the aspect of that winter afternoon. Afar, it offered a pale blank of mist and cloud; near a scene of wet lawn and storm-beat shrub, with ceaseless rain sweeping away wildly before a long and lamentable blast.”
― Charlotte BrontëJane Eyre

“That was the way it was that beautiful evening of cold November rain and muddy country roads and crazy windshield wipers. That was the moment of my greatest security and confidence; it was the time when I realized that love makes one a better person, a kinder gentler one.”
― Irene HuntUp a Road Slowly

peace while the rain patters down.

another afternoon in europe.

just me. on just a regular day.

i made a little run to the bakery around the corner. why? because it’s there. and because we were craving buns & croissants.

afternoon fika with my new cup & saucer from the antique store. courtesy of the above bakery.

by the time afternoon fika is over, the sun has set. yes, this is the view from my apartment at 4pm, folks.

just a typical, regular afternoon in my life. not too shabby, huh? well, i like it. and, yeah, it’s pretty cozy here in sweden. even if it’s dark & cold. the candles, bakeries, and fikas make it all bearable.

and you know, i truly believe that living in the moment, being present in the present, is the best way to live. it’s not always easy, but if we’re aware, if we try to focus on the good & look for the positive, then everywhere we look we find beauty. we find love. we find peace. we might even find god. yes, in a candle flickering outside a bakery. or a stolen moment of quiet with someone we love. or in the beauty & silence of the sunset. it’s all about our perspective. it’s all about what we choose to soak up in our life, and what we choose to give back to the world. life can be extraordinary, if we let it.

who says ordinary days can’t be magical?

peace & magic.

pitter patter.


the rain is pitter-pattering down, but we’re headed out for a little day road trip (during our weekend road trip to skåne) on this cold, dark monday. i love mini-vacations.

happy monday, all you out there.

peace & love.

the love of my life.

i’ve always thought that love conquers all, that love can be strong enough to keep hope alive & make all things well. i still believe that. only now that i am a bit older and wiser, i know that love cannot do it alone. love needs patience, trust, hope, and commitment by her side in order to win. luckily, i have found that kind of love in my life. it is my overwhelming joy to share love, patience, trust, hope, and commitment with my wife, my everything. sometimes the road forward is not easy, but i am filled with hope because of our  love. sometimes the journey is filled with beautiful moments of bliss, and i am left breathless. to share the dark moments, the scary moments, and the breath-taking, heart-pounding, sunshine-y moments with someone… that, for me, is love. that is life. and this love, this life, is a gift that i have been given. you can be sure i do not take the love that has found me for granted for one second. i cling to it. i celebrate it. and i commit myself to nurturing it over & over again, every day. come what may.

 “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

~ from moulin rouge 

sending love & peace to you tonight, dear readers.

sometimes i just need a reminder.

some days you expect the sun to shine, and instead rain falls from the sky.

and then, other days, you believe it will be rainy & cold, only to realize that the sun breaks through the clouds and warms your face.

yes. in life there will be rain. but, there will also be sun. it will return. hold on. hold fast. just believe. never give up. and remember to always breathe deeply. you are never alone.

sending you peace. and the strength to persevere.

march photo a day: week 2

we’re almost in the middle of march! already?! in the past week there has been a touch of winter weather and a touch of spring weather.  and it’s been super windy… a sure sign that the seasons are in the midst of changing. i know all you americans out there have sprung forward to daylight savings time (how’s that working’ out for ya?), but here in europe we have some weeks to go before “summer time” begins. i’ve already begun experiencing the inability to sleep past 5:30 due to the fact that the sun is now rising that early. gaaahh. but, all of these changes = spring is just around the corner!

anyway. to the pictures! the themes for the day were pretty creative & weird this week. here’s what i saw…

day 8: window

 window washers at the mall.

day 9: red

 a red prayer blanket made & given to me by some amazing ladies in a church where i worked in nc, and the 7 things i would want with me if i had to spend 40 days alone in the desert/wilderness. a lenten lesson for my youth at church last friday night.

day 10: loud

the speakers were turned up really loud for the melody festival final on tv saturday night at work. we had no tv and were freaking out because all of sweden would be watching except us (since we were working). and then, we found it streaming on the internet! whew. so we watched it. at work. mouhahaha.

day 11: someone you talked to today

i talked to my mom on sunday. i love talking with my mom. i talk to her almost every day – we have an amazing long distance plan.

day 12: fork

 a monday night pub visit with my love complete with beer, fries, and a fork.

day13: sign

it was crazy windy walking home yesterday. so windy that as i started to cross the street, i heard a big bang, saw this metal sign tumble over, and then blow across the street. craaaaazy.

day 14: clouds

 whispy clouds outside my kitchen window this morning.

i couldn’t resist:  cotton-y clouds this afternoon.

there ya go. week 2. complete! peace out.