new website/blog premiere!
new life. new adventures. new blog!
lina and i have started a blog together (thanks to her winning a blog-writing contest!)!! we'll have pictures, writing, videos, music, and lots of updates on our life... wherever we are, so come on over and check us out! we won't be doing much posting on our blogg.se sites.
so, if you wanna keep in touch, check us out at: life with liz and lina.
see ya there!
it's here. the last day of school. for students. and me.
i've been back in the nc public schools for a year and a half, but now it's over. i'm moving on. to what? i'm not sure. but, by judging how i've been feeling & what i've been pondering for the past few months, i'm headed back in the direction of my deepest passions. and after some conversations/words of encouragement and support, i have been given a chance this weekend, during the methodist conference in western nc, to realize that i am already headed back and forward at the same time. no matter what i do, i will be sure that i am returning to those things which i am most passionate about. and yet, i will also be moving ahead, forging new territory, following a new & unknown path, challenging myself to step out of my box yet again. even with all the uncertainty, though, i am confident and excited about whatever comes next. the doors will open. and i will be true to myself in every way possible, never losing my past and never losing the courage to peek into a door that lies ahead.
i have said most of my goodbyes to my students. perhaps there will be a few more tomorrow. some have really touched me. all have challenged me in one way or another. i will miss their silly moments and their willingness to share their pain on the days they felt alone & depressed, or stupid and worthless. what a humbling, amazing time it has been. and i am so thankful to have had them pass through my life. i will think of them and hope that they find some joy, confidence, and success in whoever they become in life. my students' lives are difficult in many ways, and my only hope is that they have felt love, acceptance, and a little bit of hope from me. even though they are surrounded by pain, violence, darkness, drugs, and sadness, i hope that i have shown them that there is always a little ray of light, that anything is truly possible, that it will not always be this bad, and that hope, love, and acceptance do exist.
i guess the main goodbyes tomorrow will be with my co-workers. it has been a great team to work with, though at times difficult. but, hey, that's the nature of our job... it's pretty high stress and involves some sort of unexpected crisis every day. however, i have received so much support from my co-workers through one of the most difficult times in my life. they will never know it really, but without my love close by for 5 months, my friends at work became my connection to life. they helped me through each long, excruciating moment, and i will miss specific things about each of them...
so, i'm headed to bed now. ready to wake up at 5:30 and drive to asheville to be a high school special education teacher for one more day. it's hard to believe, but it's the last day.
well, after a reaaaally long five months, my love and i knew that it was time to celebrate! so, we threw a party! we wanted to celebrate our new life and give everyone a chance to meet lina. (i've already done a lot of meeting of her friends in sweden, so it was finally time for us to get together in the states with some of mine).
we had school (tc roberson) friends, minister/pastor friends, & church (where i used to work) friends all gathered together in one place. during the party, i realized that, for perhaps one of the first and only times in my life, almost every area of my life was coming together in one place. my life has been filled with so many different compartments, places, and people... and on friday, everything met at one time. i even had a visit from one of my professors/mentors/friends from seminary (and his wife). at one point i felt completely overwhelmed! of course, my family was not here, so i was missing them, but, lina and i are so looking forward to seeing them and spending lots of time with them during the summer. the entire reynolds family will be together for about 2 weeks!
anyway, here are some pics from the party! loved it! thanks to all of you for coming to celebrate with us!! it was an amazing opportunity to be with you all. LOVE!
she did it!
congratulations to my love, the graduate!!
today my love has completed her university education and now she is an official social worker! yay!! i am so, so proud of her and i'm really excited to see how she uses all of her gifts and talents in the future! she is an amazingly compassionate person, who will make a difference no matter what she does and where she does it. and this world is a better place because of her. so many people already have been changed and have felt loved because of her caring nature... by the way that she makes everyone feel like they are worthy, by the way she listens when anyone talks, by the way that she dedicates herself to learning, by being around her fun & friendly personality, by the way she is determined to expect the best of all people, and by the way she remains committed to equality and justice to those who feel oppressed, forgotten, and unloved. i'm so thankful that i get to share life with this amazing woman!
grattis, min älskling!
tick. tick. tick.
oh my gosh.
time is barely moving.
patience is low.
anxiety is high.
it feels like it's gonna be a long week ahead.
and there's only one thing on my mind.
happy saturday! whew. it's so nice that it's the weekend... for many reasons. of course, i love that i don't have to work, but more than that i am so excited that it is the last weekend before my love arrives!! here's how i'm gonna spend my weekend ( as far as i know. hehe):
meeting J for a little shopping trip to downtown asheville! laundry and some cleaning. talking with my love later on this afternnon. movie night tonight. lazy sunday morning. perhaps meeting an old member my youth group for fika. maybe seeing one of my caravan girls. and talking to my love for (perhaps) the last time on msn until she arrives next sunday!
so, everything is about to change. and i am ready! still, i have alot of things on my mind this upcoming week. i am coming to the end of my time teaching high school, and this week i will be telling my kids that i won't be back next year. gaah. i've got mixed feelings about it. just not looking forward to their reaction. and then, i'm thinking so much about the fact that i will be unemployed. it's amazing how much you define yourself by what you do, so again, i am going to have to dig deep and focus on who i am - and not rely on my job to define my worth. and, my amazing love and i will be reunited!!! (but this time without having to face a separation in about 3 months). this is finally the end of living in separate countries! we will have a chance to settle down together and begin to live every day life. yes!! of course, at the end of the summer, i am making a huge move to sweden, so that is on my mind as well. this time it is permanent. i'm so excited! still, it's alot of changes. and i know that my love is dealing with alot too. in addition to the changes that we are experiencing together, she is graduating on friday and has all of those feelings of the end of her student life and the beginning of a new life in front of her. she has worked so hard, and i am so proud... but more about that to come closer to her graduation day!
so, i'm gonna make it through this week and then, spend an awesome summer relaxing, having adventures, and just being! i can't wait!
but first, a little shopping. peace.
yes. i decided to go to church today.
and just a minute ago i finished a really long blog post about it. i hit save & post, and instead of coming back to this page so i can check it on my blog page, i was logged out of blogg.se. gaaahh!! i lost it all.
well, it was a pretty good experience at the church this morning. i'm not going into it all again now. but, let me just say, it was necessary, amazing, difficult, painful, and wonderful all at the same time.
now it's sunday night. i'm tired.
and i'm not ready for work tomorrow morning, but i am ready for another week to start because it means that my love will be one day closer to coming home to me!
have a good night and a good monday!
it's saturday night and i'm cozy in my bed, with a glass of wine, a sweet, purring cat sleeping beside me, a sex in the city marathon on tv, and wondering if i'm gonna go to church in the morning or not. perhaps the journalisic, wonderings of carrie on tv have inspired me to write my thoughts down tonight. all i know is that i have some things i need to say.
tomorrow is a "big day" at the church where i used to work. it might be nice, as a former minister, to go and support the congregation in their celebration and dedication of the new building (which isn't exactly new since it was done before i left two years ago). it would definitely be nice to see some people i haven't seen in a long time. on the other hand, if i go, it feels a little weird to go and celebrate a building, since the Church is not actually a building, but a body of people. and so many christians in the states get stuck in the thought of the church as simply a building where you go to do rituals.
you see, this is the heart of one of my problems. lately, i am really questioning the relevance of the Church in today's society. i'm not saying that the Church cannot be or should not be relevant, but that it is not trying to be relevant because it continues to do the same old things in the same old ways, leaving out large groups of people. i see so many people attend church, follow the rules, and want to secure their place in heaven. all this is happening while oil continues to spill into the gulf of mexico, immigrant children worry that their parents will be taken away, and the addicted and homeless wander the streets hungry and hopeless. all because people seem to care more about money than doing what's right for our environment, the world, and our future. all because we care more about securing our own lives than caring for our brothers' and sisters' lives.
basically, i am saying that what i see is christians not acting as christians. i see religious people who follow a religion, but who don't work for social justice and equality. i see all different kinds of people, including myself, who are not welcome fully to participate in the ministries of the church because of rules. seriously. there are people, including me, who would love to dedicate their life to ministry and cannot because of the rules in the church (at least in my denomination). and that makes me mad. how can we alienate people rather than include them? what part of jesus' gospel talks about exclusion? now, tell me, how can we really offer hope to people, when we do not accept all people, challenge the corrupt, greedy, selfish parts of society, and refuse to be bold enough to speak out for justice, even if it's not popular? are we called to be popular and self-sustaining individualists, or are we called to be faithful, loving, compassionate, fair, thoughtful people? how can we offer hope when we leave out love and refuse to be relevant? this is the part of me that wants to stay away from the church, the institution that is failing.
but, there's this other part of me that wants to go to church in the morning. to fight. and to fight from the inside as much as i can. it's not like i'm gonna get up and start preaching, but it's more of a symbol to myself that i am not giving up on hope and love. that there is a need, perhaps, even for people like me, and for all people to stand up and speak out for love... to be bold, stand up, and call out the Church, the people, and even ourselves on the ways that we all are failing to live out a life that is true, real, and relevant... a life that reaches out in love and acceptance rather then rules and commandments... a life that encourages each of us to simply be true to who we really are; because who we really are, just as we are, is just perfect.
oh gosh... there is so much i don't know. but what i do know is that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and to be shared. and whether i go to church or not tomorrow, my life is filled with love. it is up to me what i do with that love. in two weeks, the love of my life will join me so that we can continue our journey through life together. it's a journey that continues, but that starts a completely new part. we will make these changes together, love each other through it all, and be true to ourselves. life is short. it's difficult. it's amazing. and it's full of hope, if we just look beyond ourselves and become willing to share life with others. perhaps all we can do is take those moments of joy, hope, and love that we feel and share it with others. perhaps when we focus on loving ourselves and each other rather than getting ahead and having power, then we will be relevant. i have hope.
celebrating my love
sometimes i am just overwhelmed. and i mean in a good way.
today my love is having a birthday party (her b-day was this past thursday) with her family in sweden. they are gathering to celebrate her, and i love that. the only problem is that i can't be with them. i can't stop thinking about her today, so here's my celebration of her... from the states.
i'm overwhelmed because i am so lucky to be married to my love. she is an amazing woman. here are just a few reasons of how she has overwhelmed me (and this is just from today!): when my ghosts appear, she listens to me, talks with me, and reassures me. she is a caring and creative hostess when throwing a party. she's the winner of a blog contest in norrkoping because of her willingness to stand up and talk about truth and equality in her every day life! she is graduating with a degree in social work from her university in about 2 weeks! she's compassionate, loving, intelligent, determined, strong, gifted, and so much more. she inspires me. and my love grows deeper every day. yep. she's my baby!! and i am the luckiest person in the world!
oh yeah. and she's gonna be with me in about two weeks!
my love, today i celebrate you, your life, and how you have changed mine! älskar dig!
happy mother's day!
today my dad and i took my mom to the grove park inn (where president & mrs. obama stayed a few weeks ago) for a mother's day brunch! it was amazing and there was tons of food. we did a little (hehe) shopping after our meal, and then headed back home because we were exhausted from all the eating and shopping. love it. i talked with my love for a little while - by the way, 4 weeks from today we are reunited! - and then, i completely cleaned and organized my room...finally done!
now, it's time for bed so i can be ready for another week starting tomorrow.
happy mother's day, mom!!
saturday i spent some time on my brother's/parents' farm. i went to help fix some things & do yard work. and i did a little. then, the beauty of the day distracted me and i decided to take some pictures. hehe. i had one little adventure... i was almost attacked by a 4 ft/1.5 m snake!! ok. not attacked. but we really scared each other. i almost stepped on him, and then we both ran/slithered in opposite directions! definitely a scary moment. anyway, here are some pictures from my farm day...
had lunch at a typical mountain diner. hihi. love it!
first summer pic
tonight i ate on the porch outside.
i had strawberries for dessert.
summer's on its way.
local nc mountain strawberries. mmm... (i'm saving some for you, my love!)
back in business
my parents returned their camera to me today! oh yeah. (i'm using theirs because mine is currently living in sweden with my love so she can have a camera, since i had access to one here). but, about a month ago my parents kidnapped their camera. and i've been going through withdrawl from having a camera, making the best of it with my iPhone (thank, you amazing iPhone! i love you). but, as of today, i'm back in business with a camera.
i like you, may
it's may!!! and as my love says, "now we can say: next month!"
here's the low-down on my weekend, how i'm celebrating may so far...
went to asheville yesterday to do some birthday shopping for my love (who's birthday is this month! yay!). it was veeeery successful and i think i'm driving her crazy. hihi. i secretly love that! while i was in asheville, i talked to her once on the phone, and we were discussing how much we love the atmosphere in asheville...the hippie, open, diverse, relaxed feeling of the city. you know, it's truly a gift when you find and get to share your life with the person who completes you, accepts you, loves you, and is where you feel you belong. it's so amazing when you share the same dreams, ideas, beliefs, and values about life and what's important. i missed her so much yesterday, but it's may! soon, we'll walk the streets of asheville together again!
a typical asheville scene
today (sunday), i've starting the day pretty lazy. slept late (well, late for me. 7:30. pathetic, i know.). been hanging out with some coffee, the morning paper, zola, and my cozy covers. soon, gonna get moving and get busy. gotta clean and organize...i am in the process of making the move from the upstairs room to the downstairs room.
have a great sunday.
time to mix it up
i tend to get bored easily. i don't really like routine so much, or i get tired of a routine pretty fast. so, having worked for the past 2 and a 1/2 weeks with the same schedule, i have reached my limit. hehe. it's time for a little change in my daily routine. luckily, a little change is coming tomorrow. we have an early release day (the students go home at 1:00, however teachers do not. meh). still, it's something different. yay!
at home, i need a little change too. but, i've got plans. oh yeah. thanks to zola, actually. the other day she was hanging out on the porch, i was inside talking with my love, and i heard a noise. i looked out and found zola OUTSIDE of the porch, in the wild, free!! that crazy, cute, determined little cat had busted right through the screen door so she could get out! i freaked out, but i was able to get her and bring her inside. (she is not an outside cat at all!). anyway. that's the background...
once my love is with me in june, we are having guests to stay with us some nights. and we'll all be spending lots of time hanging out on the porch with the doors open. that is definitely not gonna work with zola. so, the only place zola can be is in the downstairs room (where there is a door to make sure she doesn't get out on the porch). however, that is a guest room right now. i'm sure that our guests will not want zola in their room, so, it seems like this is a great opportunity for me to move from the upstairs room to the downstairs room! think i'm gonna start moving things over the next few days and make it a cozy place. so, thanks zola, for giving me a "reason" to make a little change at home.
yep. time to mix it up a little!