Sverige 2015

Sverige 2015

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The gift of loneliness

My parents shipped me off to Thailand at the tender age of 14.  Let’s just say that I was not an easy kid.  Kidding.  (Sorta.)  That sounds harsh; let me explain.  In the summer of 2000, my parents encouraged me to join Teen Mania, a youth mission organization, on a month-long expedition to Thailand.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but this trip would be my first significant encounter with loneliness and it would change my life.  My community sponsored me to go on this adventure (I will be forever grateful) and before I knew it, I was sitting by myself on a plane to training camp in Garden Valley, TX.  I remember walking around the red dirt grounds of the camp, feeling the most poignant sense of loneliness that I had ever experienced in my short life thus far.  But one day, it all changed.  I was laying in the grass, feeling sorry for myself and trying to read my Bible, when God showed up.  It was the first time that I really faced Him on my own and it changed everything.

Fast forward 15 years… in the spring of 2014 my marriage fell to pieces.  I lost my best friend, the man I had loved with my whole being for 10 years.  It was sudden and dramatic and it left every part of me broken.  Physically, I was surrounded by family, friends, and a very noisy infant, but I still felt utterly alone in this harsh, new, husbandless reality.  The months that I was supposed to spend adjusting to first time motherhood, I spent adjusting to single parenthood.  The person whom I had given the deepest parts of myself for my entire adult life no longer wanted to be a part of my life.  No longer wanted me.  The rejection was profound and the betrayal devastating, but it was equally difficult to adjust to the absence of someone who (rightly or wrongly) filled so many of the empty spaces of my life for a decade.

Loneliness.  Aloneness.  Rejection.  This is the trifecta of great fears for some.  It was for me too.  It has taken me 3 years to realize what a gift they can be.  Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish a broken marriage on my worst enemy.  However, for me, that loneliness gave me space. Space to figure out who I am apart from another human being.  Space to figure out who God is (how can He and suffering coexist?)  Space to develop a different kind of relationship with Jesus—a monogamous romance.  Loneliness is teaching me that I cannot rely on an earthly, fallible being to be my source (of life, worth, joy, fulfillment—you name it.) I did that once and it left me shattered.

So I guess what I’m saying, friends, is that I wish you space (whatever that looks like for you).  Space to learn about who you are, apart from the people around you and the physical roles that we often allow to define our identities.  Space to know that you are deeply loved, even when you do not love yourself.  Space to know that whichever storms you weather (and there will be storms), you have an anchor.  And if you are like me and going through a lonely season, my wish for you is that the loneliness will ultimately show you that you are never alone.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016: I was not killed by a gorilla

Hey there pals,

It has been a very long time since I blogged publicly, but fear not, I never stopped writing. My writing over the past 2 years has been deeply personal, raw, cathartic, and...not something to be shared (trust me). 

However, I have learned so much when others have let me into their hearts, even, no, especially, when they are broken. It is an honor to be a part of their journeys. So I am writing this with the intent to invite you into mine, with the hope that I can help someone else.

2016.

I have had some incredible experiences this year. I traveled to many cities, saw musical and comedic legends live and in their glory, and went zip lining without dying. Annelise and I did loads of fun family outings like strawberry picking, multiple beach trips, orchard visits, trips to children’s museums, and a visit to the zoo (also without death by gorilla). Most of all, we were able to spend quality time and grow in relationships with family, friends, and our church community.

2016 contained a lot of firsts for me: my first dating relationship (!) and broken heart since the divorce, the first vacation for Annelise and I as a family unit, and the first wedding I attended since the divorce. These were all wonderful events and opportunities for growth, but they were also incredibly difficult. 

Speaking of difficult things, in 2016 I walked with my friends through devastating losses and grief that was (and in some ways still is) unspeakably deep. My heart breaks for the devastation happening around the world, in our own nation, and in my own backyard. Why, God? I am not sure I will ever understand. But, I have learned a lot about grief over the past 2.5 years. Mostly that it is long, painful, messy, and that it rears its ugly head at the most unexpected moments. Grief is not linear. Recovery isn’t either.

Rather than draft a list of new years expectations that I am probably not going to meet, I have started giving myself a theme word for each new year. My word for 2016 was “grace.” Mostly that I would give myself the same measure of grace that I grant others. It is not easy and to be honest, I feel like I kept it in the forefront of my mind until maybe January 5, 2016. Grace is probably something that I will wrestle with for the rest of my life.

My word for 2017 is “surrender.” When my marriage ended in 2014, it not only entailed the loss of my husband, marriage, best friend, and our future together. It also meant a sudden jerk in the trajectory of my life. It’s like I was moving full speed ahead in one direction and BAM life suddenly jerked 90º to the left. I am still feeling bruised and whiplashed and it is taking a lot longer to heal than I thought I would. Part of me wants to keep pumping the brakes, because I am so fearful of what lies ahead. I am still working on embracing my new reality, but I am also hopeful that the future contains good—even though it won’t be the one I imagined in 2014. And maybe, just maybe...it will be better?

2016 was a volatile time in my relationship with God. I was angry with God. I questioned him with every fiber of my being. I resisted and acted against what I knew He would have wanted for me. I faced deeper doubts than I ever have before. I feel like I wrestled with God the way that Jacob wrestled in Genesis 32. What did Jacob demand? God’s blessing. What do I demand? Something deep, authentic, and vibrant with God. I won’t settle for less. It’s all or nothing for me. And in order to find that, I have come to the point of surrender. I must surrender my plans and my own will. So that is my hope for 2017. That it will be a year of surrendering my own junk and discovering what my new future looks like—the one that God has planned for Annelise and I, come what may. 

So what do I wish for you in 2017? Peace, growth, wholeness...and most of all, grace.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

20 Lessons Learned in the First Five Weeks of Motherhood

It's been 2+ years since my last post. I must be the worst blogger ever! A lot has happened since my last entry and I am now a mother. As a new mom I rarely have time to cook, so instead of a posting a tried and true recipe I thought I'd share some of the lessons I've learned as a new mom.


20 Lessons Learned in the First Five Weeks of Motherhood

1. All of the stuff I read in the baby books while I was pregnant went out the window the moment I met my little one. The first few weeks of motherhood are and should be navigated by survival instincts.

2. Just when I think I have a grasp on something my daughter will remind me within an hour that I am utterly clueless.

3. A shower is a privilege, not a right.

4. Elderly women in public places love babies.

5. When I am able to soothe my baby I feel like I have run a marathon while simultaneously receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and curing cancer.

6. My baby's smile can brighten any dreary day.

7. Colic is hard on a baby, but even harder for the parents.

8. Baby poop does not smell like anything palatable. Don't let anyone tell you anything different.

9. Always put your shoes on before putting baby in a Moby.

10. If I take baby for walks in 30 degree weather, people will think I am weird. I'm not weird; I'm Swedish.

11. If the only tasks I accomplish in a day are making lunch, eating lunch, and putting the lunch dishes away, it is a good day. Even if it takes me four hours.

12. Giving a baby a bath can be equivalent to putting someone's hand in warm water while they are asleep... they may or may not pee all over you afterwards.

13. I am amazed at how well I can function on 3-5 hours of sleep.

14. I never knew how excited I would be to see a car seat attachment on a grocery cart.

15. I have more respect for my own mother than I ever have before.

16. Anything can be turned into a makeshift bed.

17. I am starting to understand God's love for His children a little bit more every day.

18. I hear babies crying in my head even when there are none around...

19. Parenthood is by far the hardest journey I have ever embarked upon...and I have hiked up an active volcano.

20. I never knew that someone so little could so fully capture my heart.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snö lyktor

Snow day in October? I'm okay with that.
I love the way the snow gently blankets the world in a sheet of white.


A winter wonderland.













Luke made his very first snö lykta. 
I think our neighbors thought we were doing some sort of satanic ritual.







Bring it on, Christmas. I'm ready for you.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We are carnivores.

This weekend Luke and I went to Jersey City and Manhattan to visit Immanuel. Gabriel was on holiday from his university, so he was there as well. New York City is one of my favorite cities to visit. There is so much to see, to do, and to eat.

The first thing we did when we arrived was pay a visit to our favorite churrascaria in Tribeca. It is good that there is not a churrascaria close to where I live, because if there was, I might commit gluttony on a daily basis.

I love animals -- I really do...but I also really enjoy eating (some of) them.





Next, we decided to check out the occupation of Wall Street. It was really interesting. From what I saw, it is much less volatile than the news is making it out to be. Here is what we saw:











It was really interesting to see, and very thought-provoking. 

After that, we headed to Rockefeller Center. I have been there countless times, but I still love to go and look at all of the flags on display. It is magical. I try to make it there each time I visit New York. Someday I would like to ice skate there.



I have the best brothers in the world.

We ended the evening by watching Braveheart in Immanuel's apartment on his big screen. It was awesome

That's all for now.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Soluppgång.

I love watching the sun rise over the hills.

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
         And the firmament shows His handiwork."
                                                      ~Psalm 19:1


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fångad av en stormvind...

Happy Autumn!

Today Messiah College graciously gave its employees a day off. I am so grateful for both of my jobs. I love my co-workers and the work that I do, but sometimes it's good to take a break to refresh and rejuvenate.

I've had an great day... please forgive my narcissism as I share it with you.

It was a day full of my favorite things...

I slept in until 7:15 am. It was fantastic.
First things first: coffee, my guilty pleasure.


I went for a run. I love running in the cool, crisp air.


After that I made myself a nice American breakfast while boogying to British pop (Lily Allen and Adele. I almost broke out the Spice Girls.)

Two scrambled eggs + two strips of turkey bacon + half of an English muffin + blackberries + orange juice (with extra pulp). YUM.

Note: to make the perfect scrambled eggs, cook them over low-to medium heat slowly. When they are still slightly moist, take the pan off the heat source and allow them to finish cooking. The eggs are delicious and you won't even need to add cheese because they taste rich and moist.


Normally I'm not a big shopper, but this time I had some killer coupons. I drove to the a shopping mall while listening to my childhood idol, Carola. It made me nostalgic. 
I ended up purchasing some really nice things.


I love secondhand bookstores. It's actually a problem. I have an addiction to buying books. Usually I go to Midtown Scholar, but I recently discovered The Book House and fell in love. It smells like books -- the best smell in the world. I couldn't stay very long -- it wouldn't be good for my bank account. 
When I'm elderly, I want to turn my house into a bookstore.



 Autumn and winter are my favorite seasons. I could live outside from October to March.





I ended the afternoon by visiting one of my favorite orchards: Paulus. I purchased house-made peach salsa and apple cider. The cider is the no-sugar-added kind...the kind that tastes like the cider that we used to make from the fruits of our apple trees in Sweden.



That was my day. How was yours?