asheville winter

My American Holiday: Welcoming a slow, hopeful, rhythmic new year

22 Jan 2022

I am pretty sure that we were all ready for the New Year to arrive. But, to be honest, apparently scarred from the past 2 years, I did feel a tiny bit of anxiety + found myself thinking, “What the hell is gonna happen this year?”. At the same time, I felt a deep sense of hope – mostly because I am pretty sure that I have changed so much that I actually don’t care what kind of year it is. As I mentioned in my post about the vibes I’m bringing to 2022, there are no bad years or good years. There are just years… there is just life. And it is messy + beautiful + painful + hopeful all at the same time. So, instead of letting my worry take over, I released that shit + dared to simply trust in the unfolding of the year ahead of us.

More important than anxiety or security, I turned my attention to the present moment – and silently vowed to myself to simply flow from each moment to the next. That’s how I find my grounding and strength – come what may. So, with that mindset, with my focus on manifesting, faith, and presence in the rhythmic cycles of life, I released my anxiety and stepped into the new year.

Ironically, the new year started with us finding out that, once again, we were not pregnant. I must admit, that did not feel like a good sign. Was it a bad omen? Was this going to just be another year filled with pain + disappointment?

After many long, deep breaths, some time alone, then some time with family, and also getting out of the house for a few hours, I settled back into my determination to have a mindset of presence. To breathe through each moment. And to continue to have resilient, stubborn hope for 2022.

We continued on with our slow holiday visit with my family. Slow mornings, a few dinners out (outside, of course), and cozy nights in. The perfect, calm vibes for the beginning of a new calendar year.

Crazily, after a week of super warm and sunny weather, a snowstorm was forecasted to move in over the mountains. When I woke on January 2, it had dumped snow on us – and it was so beautiful! This felt like the actual reset for the new year. The air was crisp, fresh, and clean. The energy was still, slow, and pure. I felt as if the snow was a reminder to remain in a quiet state of resting + restoration. Winter was here to bring a sense of calm and quiet, to bring healing and hope. To simply remind me to call in gentle, soft, creative vibes as I begin this year.

Since it was a snow day, we decided to paint my parents’ bedroom for them. An earthy, calming greige. So much fun!

As the snow melted, we ventured out again – to the grocery store, to grab a coffee, and then an evening of local beer with my brother + his partner. All of this simple quality time together is what made these 3 weeks absolutely magical.

Back on December 26, Lina + I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary – though we didn’t really celebrate it in our traditional way. We had completely forgotten to make reservations at our favorite restaurant in the world (so far), so we had to put off our anniversary dinner until January 5. Buuuuut, it was so worth it.

We headed downtown to eat at C̼rate Рand it did not disappoint. Sangria, tapas, dessert, espresso martini, and then a walk through downtown under the waxing crescent moon. It was a long, slow, perfect evening. We ended the night by meeting my brother/his partner at a local brewery for a beer together. The whole celebration was exactly what we wanted. So grateful!

The days of the new year continued on in much the same way as they had throughout the whole trip. Long, cozy mornings. Wanderings outside. Covid-safe brewery hangs. My mom did end up ordering a new loveseat for their living room while we were there + it was delivered one morning, so Lina and I quickly put it together for my parents’ to enjoy!

Ok, full disclosure. We did manage to squeeze in an hour-long, outside visit with one of my/our dearest friends, who’s like family. Since we’d been here last, she’s given birth to a little boy who will turn 2 soon. And, since we hadn’t met him at all and hadn’t seen the girls, we planned a quick outdoor lunch together to catch up. It was absolutely perfect to spend some time together – not nearly enough, of course, and we didn’t get to see the whole family, but totally magical all the same.

Speaking of my mom, I just have to share with you some of the moody vibes around her house. She creates the best, coziest spaces with the stuff she has. And a candle is always an added cozy factor. Just look at some of the corners and spaces in the living room and kitchen. So warm + inviting + calming. I guess I get my love of cozy home-making from her!

Days + nights faded into each other in the best possible way, feeling like one long hug the entire time. But, it was time to begin to prepare for our travels home, so Lina + I booked an antigen test (that is a super long + stressful story that I’d rather not share here because it’s breaks the vibe of this post), nervously waited for the results (only 15 minutes), and soon found our we were both negative! Whew. Even though we’d been super safe, not everyone cares about the solidarity of mask-wearing + vaccinations; and try as hard as we did, there were still a few moments that made us a bit nervous, so we never ever took for granted that we’d get negative tests.

Anyway, our last day was upon us and after the tests, we went to get doughnuts to celebrate. My brother + his partner came over in the afternoon and the day ended with an epic sunset. An absolutely beautiful ending to an absolute dream of a holiday visit with my family.

Suddenly, it was time to fly home to Sweden. How had it been three weeks? The days had been slow, but the time flew by. And, admittedly, I felt a twinge of fear… wondering how long it would be until I returned. I don’t think I can handle two years again. However, I have hope. But, more importantly, I have plans to fly back in 3 months or so. And that feels amazing.

Lina and I had another fairly uneventful trip home – which so unusual for us! We only had a bit of a delay + some crazy energy on our last flight from Frankfurt to Stockholm. Otherwise, things went smoothly, though we didn’t really sleep any.

Once we were in Sweden, we had been traveling for about 25 hours and awake for 32 or so. After landing, we took the train home and went straight to get a PCR test – which came back negative this week! We also took a home antigen test 3 days ago, just to check again, since some days have now passed since flying. It was also negative for us both. So, we literally have made it this whole time without getting Covid (so far)! Self-isolation, 3 flights to the States, 3 weeks in the States, 3 flights home. Now, we’ve been quarantining this week while we waited for our PCR and antigen tests to be done. And I do believe that we are breaking our quarantine this weekend! I am so so so grateful for it all – oh, and we have our booster shots today!

We went to bed on Friday after our arrival, slept a solid 8-9 hours, and I woke feeling all of the bittersweet emotions of loving that we were back in our cozy home + feeling heartbreak for not being able to wake up and have a long morning with my parents. But, more than those conflicting emotions, I was filled with deep gratitude – for all of it. The travels, the time, the memories, the laughs, the coffee, the drinks, the food, the days of rest, the weather, our health, and this breathtaking life that I get to live.

This week Lina + I have been settling in again, bringing in the energy of the new year + winter into our home. I have been slowly creating the space + mood for a 2022 filled with hope + healing, and in rhythm with the seasons.


I so hope that your holidays were just what you needed and that the new year has begun with a sense of deep, slow, restful energy – even if you find yourself surrounded by a flutter of activity + responsibility. The thing is, I truly believe that, if we align our lives with nature, if we follow the cycles of the moon + the earth, if we live in rhythm with the seasons, then we will find ourselves immersed in a life of slow living, of deep presence, and of gentle flow. And, that, is exactly how we hold on to hope + become who we are meant to be.

xoxo. liz.

6 Comments

  • Reply Louise Gallagher 22 Jan 2022 at 15:26

    What a lovely visit. I felt myself slipping into slow and easy as I read and looked at your amazing photos. You have an incredible way of capturing mood, tone, light, and igniting all the senses in your photos Liz!
    Thanks for sharing. <3

    May 2022 evolve with grace and ease, love and joy. <3

    • Reply Liz 24 Jan 2022 at 10:03

      Dearest Lousie, I so hope that you had a lovely and beautiful holiday as well. And I’m so touched that this post evoked the slow, present energy in you as well. Wishing you all the best and sending you tons of hugs. xoxo

  • Reply Arlene Hanratty 24 Jan 2022 at 11:52

    Thank you for sharing Liz. Your words & photos have inspired me to get out into nature today. It looks like you had a wonderful holiday and I hope 2022 brings you more love and joy.

    • Reply Liz 7 Feb 2022 at 08:55

      Hello dearest Arlene <3 I hope that 2022 has started with a peaceful, cozy vibe for you. Thank you so much for always sharing your thoughts and musings on my posts - it means so much to me! xx

  • Reply gallivance.net 24 Jan 2022 at 21:59

    Happy Anniversary Liz and Lina! And Happy New Year. So glad that you got to spend some time back in Asheville. We were just there at the beginning of December and it was so good to see the place we used to live. I hope that 2022 brings you joy and peace. ~Terri

    • Reply Liz 7 Feb 2022 at 08:53

      Hi Terri! Thank you so much. Hoping that y’all have had a good start to the new year as well. Isn’t it just wonderful to get to visit old home places? Would be great if we were there at the same time on day! 🙂 xoxo liz

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