An Easter Greeting

Good morning my dear readers. It’s Good Friday and the rest of the house is quiet apart from our freezer humming in the room next to me, and there is a subtle whoosh of water going through the radiators. I just settled in in front of my screen with a mocha coffee. For Christmas last year Jay and I got one of those one-cup coffee machines for ourselves, and ever since I have been almost addicted to using a shot of dark chocolate in my first cup of coffee every day. I have consciously been trying to reduce my caffeine intake, though, especially at night. Some days it works, some days not so well. I read that if you have trouble with your thyroid, caffeine is not good. A couple of regular sized cups a day is all right, but on average I drink way more than that so I thought I would try to cut down, at least until I know whether or not an underactive thyroid is what is causing my tiredness and anemia.

Before I write anything else I really want to say thank you all for the so, so lovely comments on my last post. I know I might be silly thinking this way, but somehow I always end up feeling that with having become so inactive on my blog, and taking forever to reply to comments, I somehow don’t deserve anyone’s attention. I have made friends over the years with whom I have lost contact because I am so terrible at keeping in touch. It’s hard to explain to someone I know why I get like that — it never has anything to do with that I don’t care for them or don’t value their friendship. After a while I feel so incredibly dumb for declining invites over and over, and somehow trying to explain why leaves me feeling like I fraud. I want to get better at this, though, because I do understand silence and avoidance only leaves the other person wondering and questioning if they are at fault. This happened just recently and it gave me a thorough shake and a kind of eye-opener. Any state of depression or exhaustion is a lonely place; I like to have my own space but this loneliness is so very different than choosing retreat when I just need to refuel. Instead of consciously craving to be alone I want closeness but can’t reach out. It’s like becoming trapped in my own misery. I drown in it. The shame takes over and makes that distance all the more difficult to cross. Can you recognise the feeling?

in-my-walking-clothes

To write down how I feel, and to try and paint a picture of what it’s like on the inside is somehow so much easier when I write a blog post. I really wonder why that is. Of course, the language is one factor — I may be able to speak Finnish well, and I have heard so many times how good I am at speaking the language, but it’s only in general conversation. I have no idea what words to use or how to converse about emotional topics in Finnish. Several years ago when I went to therapy, I got to speak with a therapist who knew Swedish. When that wasn’t an option I switched to English when I couldn’t express myself in Finnish. I have actually thought about this a lot lately, that maybe one side to how I am feeling is that I am a foreigner. I may have lived in Finland on and off for ten years now, but I can still feel totally alien. It is definitely my own fault — I have isolated myself out here on the farm and haven’t actively worked to seek a social life outside the family.

I could write so much more on this, but what I wanted (before I got carried away) was to show you that pot I painted, and to share some photos from the past week, and some from before that. The sun is getting warmer every day now and the snow is melting. I can’t tell you how absolutely divine it is to stand outside on the warmer days. Spring really is staking a claim on the earth now, and even though I have been outside so little this year, I still have many photos I haven’t shared with you yet. But first — the pot!

finished-result-of-painted-pot

close-up-of-painted-pot

I really am so happy with the results. I had many ideas on how to paint this pot, but after layering the colours I was so pleased with the texture I didn’t want to do anything else to it. It also reminded me of how much I really love working with my hands, and it has motivated me even further to fight this mind fog so I can do more. For example I have a big IKEA bag full of drift wood I brought with me to Finland last year (and even more in the garage, some up against a wall next to the office, and more in a cardboard box, haha) with which I had many plans and ideas. Some of you might remember the frame I made out of drift wood for a painting last year.

That the light (or lack thereof) can do so much to a person is something which fascinates me and leaves me in a sense of wonder. Some weeks back I sat and went through some photos. I had just come back inside from a walk around the old buildings here on the farm. It was just above zero but the snow dwindled silently and the wet flakes left me with a chill, so I didn’t linger too long. As I sat with these photos I noticed that instead of snow covering the evergreens, there were water droplets everywhere. A mixture of relief and giddiness surged through me and I almost started crying.

 

water-droplets-on-the-spruce-needles

retro-tones-and-dew

Since then we have had some really cold days, with temperatures of ten below zero or more, and others much warmer. One day we had six above. This time is almost holy to me. These fluctuations mark the end of winter and beginning of spring and it’s like every cell in my body comes alive to respond to it. At times it catches me off guard and I become so overwhelmed by the sensation tears fill my eyes. Do you experience similar things? Or is there something in particular that signifies end of winter or beginning of spring for you?

catkins

Another symbol of spring for me are the catkins. I noticed the first ones on a very cold day several weeks ago, and I was so surprised to see them there in a landscape still embedded in snow and wintry shimmer. That day was so magical, though, and I stayed outside longer than my hands could handle. The warmth of the sun on my face had me entranced. The song of birds created the most beautiful symphony mixed up with Loke’s and my own slow, crispy steps across glittering fields.

paw-prints-in-the-snow

me-soaking-up-the-sunlight

I am actually wearing my PJ pants in this photo above, haha. They have been the most comfy pants but I had to brave the shops and hunt down a new pair since the fabric has gotten so so thin. I suppose it doesn’t matter when only Jay, Lilli and Loke are around, but sometimes our kitchen or dining room becomes an office or conference area when there are meetings related to the farming business. I usually make myself scarce at those times, but I still imagine it looks odd for someone to walk around in PJ’s in the middle of the day. 😉 Especially extremely worn PJ’s. Haha

One evening when the sun stood low, I looked out toward the trees where our road leads off the farm. The most amazing light painted the tree trunks and branches in an almost fiery pink/red, and I rushed through the house to gather my camera and tripod. When I got outside, I switched direction and went for our lower fields instead, distracted by the colour in the sky. Ever since I have wanted to show you this ethereal sunset. By the time I was satisfied I had enough photos of it, the sun had dropped lower and the light was gone from the trees.

sunset-over-snowy-fields

Can you see the reflections on the snow? I was in complete awe as I stood there. It was cold but the sun still set rather quickly then, so I managed to get back inside before my fingers froze. It’s incredible how fast that changes now — how the sun’s descent slows down and graces us with these gorgeous colours for longer and longer with each day passing. I was here about a week before this photo was taken to capture the subtle grace of this late winter light. Then I found an icy wonderland behind our storage building and crept around with my tripod in the bushes to get some closeups until my hands were on fire with the cold.

icy-wonderland

icicle-magic-in-sunset

molten-ice

It was after these photos I was in so much pain I didn’t know what to do with myself. Regardless, I have to say they were worth it. With time it seems most pains subside, no matter how deeply they cut in the present, and it is in that transition I think it becomes easier to look beyond and see that even when we have been at our worst, when the nights were so dark, light was there. It kept us company. We were not alone — we never are truly alone.

icicles-on-the-roof-edge

Our house is waking up now, but before I leave I would like to wish you all a beautiful Easter, and show you a couple of photos of the flowers I bought. Getting those plants just made me want even more! 😀

lily-of-the-valley

daffodils

me-and-lily-of-the-valley
Lily of the Valley might be my absolute favourite flower

Once again, thank you all so much for the inspiration you truly give me. I am also so happy and grateful for the feedback you gave me after my request in my last post, and I have already taken some photos to share together with the story of my tattoo, so that might be up next! I would also like to take this opportunity to say that if you ever think of something you would like me to write about or to photograph don’t be shy to let me know. I will try to honour most requests. ❤

Much love, hugs and a happy Easter weekend!

my-tattoo
“Strength, Courage, Wisdom” ❤

Daring To Meet Myself Just As I Am

Hello dear ones. I don’t even know how to begin telling you about the past couple of weeks, or how many times I started writing a blog post only to leave it sitting in my draft folder. But I do know why I left it there, and it took me until yesterday to admit it to myself. So now I’m writing a new one — one that I just know beforehand will be long. I hope you will bear with me.

a-box-of-opportunities

I’m trying to remember exactly when the delivery man dropped these boxes off at our door, but the past few weeks have been so full of ups and downs that I can’t remember. What I do remember is that when my hairdresser and new-found friend told me about Mary Kay I was sitting in the salon she works in to get my hair done. Over a month ago now. And not too long after that I signed a contract to become an independent skin care consultant. If you haven’t heard of Mary Kay, I’ll just explain in short. The company was created back in the 1960’s by a woman of the same name, who wanted to give women the opportunity to follow their dreams, have a career and the freedom to shape their life in whichever way they desired. Today this company spans continents and the women who have joined and still join have amazing success stories behind them.

What spoke to me right from the start was that freedom. That and the incredible warmth, compassion, enthusiasm and friendliness of every single woman I met during these past couple of weeks. To be surrounded by positive people who genuinely want nothing but to help you and see you succeed is so amazing, and just what I have craved and missed since I finished my studies in Sweden almost one year ago now.

getting-my-consultant-pin

mary-kay-event

I was so blessed to join them now. I got to go to a local area meeting to meet a few ladies, get some coaching and see how a skin care class is conducted, and one week later I went with them to an event at the Helsinki airport. The atmosphere was wonderful and the women who held their speeches inspired me so much. I can’t put into words how thankful I am I was given the opportunity to meet them all — it came into my life like a beam of glorious light at a time when I needed it the most. So when I tell you now that in spite of all this I was haunted by immense stress and anxiety on and off since I signed that contract, you might wonder why.

swedish-archipelago-from-cruise-ship

summer-cottages-in-archipelago

First, I spent the last twenty-four hours on this cruise ship that runs between Turku, Finland, and Stockholm in Sweden. I have this very bad habit of using snus. It’s a pouch of tobacco used under the lip. I used to smoke, but quit almost three years ago now. Knowing addiction all too well, I shouldn’t have started using snus, but there you have it. It’s a Swedish product and not allowed by law to be sold in Finland. You are allowed to bring in 1000 grams for personal use, however, so every once in a while I take a cruise to re-stock my supplies. I know that once I put my mind to it, I will quit this, too, but for now I am another willing slave under an addiction. The things we do regardless of knowing it’s bad for us.

light-garlands-on-cruise-ship

One of the things I like about these cruises is the time I get to reflect. I mean, there isn’t anywhere to go or much else to do. Of course, for those who like shopping, there is the tax-free shop. Or if you like to have a drink and listen to live music, there is a place for that, too. There is also karaoke, bingo, restaurants, kids’ play grounds, saunas, spas and even a swimming pool. I always end up sitting in the cafeteria by these windows, with a coffee and my journal. I love watching as we pass through the Swedish archipelago. The most amazing houses dot the shores, and the view really is beautiful.

I wrote several pages during this trip. To be honest, before a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t kept my journal regularly since end of summer. But after I signed that contract I have been writing almost every day. Mostly to convince myself I was on the right track. Positive self-coaching and self-motivation. For every dip and moment of anxiety, for every time I started panicking, I opened up my journal and wrote myself through it. It has worked, sort of, but as I sat with my journal yesterday, the ship gently swaying beneath me, I couldn’t do it anymore. And on my way home, driving slowly through a frozen night, I listened to beautiful cello music and cried almost the entire way. My pulse was so hard and loud when I came in the door to tell Jay we had to talk. My darling man who sponsored me to get the start-up kit for this entire thing. For the longest time I couldn’t get a word past the lump in my throat. While I knew with every fiber in my body that what I was about to tell him was right — what my gut had been trying to tell me for weeks while I stubbornly ignored it — a storm of conflicting thoughts raged inside me. I’m such a failure. I’ll disappoint everyone. I just wasted so much money, and for what? How did I get here after all this time? Why don’t I ever learn?

I told Jay what I will tell you now: I can’t do this — be a skin care consultant — because I don’t want to be. I said yes because I miss and crave friendship and social interaction. People to spend time with, to share common interests and be enthusiastic with. To think that I a few years ago received the diagnose Social Phobia. And here I was, throwing myself into something I really don’t want to do just so I can be around other people.

Jay sat quietly for a while after my word-vomit confession, and my heart seemed to flutter around in every part of my body. Then he said well, these things happen. You have to try things to find out what is right for you and you did try. Remember I told you not to worry about the money. It’s just money and it’s all right. As I write this, I’m in tears all over again. I can’t tell you what a wonderful man I have, what it means to me to have his support while I stumble around and flail about when I lose my way. In the midst of chaos and tumultuous emotion, he is my steady harbour.

close-up-of-jays-hand

From these past few weeks there is so much to take with me. From this I can learn and grow. And as much as I fought with those thoughts that tried to tell me I was a coward, weak and a failure, I believe there is much more strength in telling the truth no matter what. And much courage in speaking up. Some years ago I would have soldiered on to the beat of the drum of imagined expectations. What will others think of me? What will make others happy? To succeed for the sake of assumptions of what others would see as success. Isn’t it incredible the lengths we can go to, the lies we will tell ourselves to satisfy an imaginary world built on low self-esteem and self-worth?

I remember something one of these inspiring women spoke about at that event this past Saturday. Something that truly hit me, something I haven’t been able to let go of. And what nudged the part of me that tried to wake me up to myself. She talked about self-esteem and self-worth. Have the courage to dare to meet yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are good enough, just the way you are. In spite of what you do or how well you perform.

I fully believe there are two kinds of roads in this life, too, that we are meant to walk on. That main road which will take us to where we want to go, and those side roads we wander down to get perspective on where we are headed. As this woman who spoke about self-esteem also said, but do not linger too long, find someone you trust to help you back onto that main road. And you know what? When I spoke with with my friend about my decision over the phone, she told me to remove the thought from my mind that I have to hold these skin care classes. No one expects this of me. I decide what I want to do and how much, and I will be welcome among them no matter what. Can you imagine it? I felt like whatever remaining knots and bundles of stress and tension left in me whooshed out. Isn’t that just so wonderful? She is such a warm soul.

So it is with deep conviction I believe I was meant to do this. To gain a different perspective and clarity. To understand better how very important it is to me to meet other people — accepting, supportive, compassionate people — to make friends and to connect. And to dare to meet myself, just the way I am. Every single day. To tell my reflection that I am good enough, just like this. Even with the chaos and turmoil. I have spoked a lot of chaotic emotions, but I feel that for every time we face something difficult we learn to accept it that little bit more.

illuminated-frosty-tall-grass

frosted-foliage-clinging-to-a-log

sunlight-filtered-through-frosty-tree-tops

Oh, this day was so beautiful. The glimmer across our fields today after the night left a thin blanket of snow in its wake — this I will return to, over and over. These photos were taken over a week ago, but it’s just as sweet and fills me with peace and thankfulness after having seen it a thousand times. Filtering rays of soft light through branches dressed in rime. The creak beneath my shoes as I walk across the frozen lawn. A cloud of breath dancing alongside my dog when he runs back and forth in joy, trying to catch a snow ball Jay or Lilli throws at him.

sunlight-through-a-frosty-leaf

frosty-curled-bark

frost-covered-moss-wonderland

The small wonders of autumn’s remnants — golden colours scattered across the earth now as we pass into winter. I barely lifted my camera in these past few weeks. Only a few strewn occasions, and what a challenge it was to make myself. But when I did I felt such peace of mind, and I am so happy to finally share it with you.

frozen-fireweed-in-farm-house-foreground

morning-lit-moon-through-blurred-branches

backlit-frosty-berries

artful-frost-lines-in-wooden-logs

a-layer-of-frost

Soon I am going to start the Christmas season craftiness with Lilli. For years now I have wanted to make our own Christmas cards to send out and this year, damn it, we will have our own-made cards. And a wreath to hang on the door. I already got the wire to tie the spruce branches together. When I was little, we used to do all kinds of crafting for the major holidays, and I always loved it when my mother brought out the paints and papers, or when we collected things from the forest to craft with. I want my daughter to have these memories, too. Do you have any seasonal decoration traditions?

I will now leave you with a couple of photos from Father’s Day and wish you all a wonderful evening of what is left of this Wednesday. I hope to see you again soon! Much love. ❤

father-of-the-day
Jay is so handsome in his suit. ❤
entre-snack
The food took so long to arrive but we had plenty of snacks and conversation to hold us. 🙂

The Meaning In The Journey

Good morning, dear friends and folk! When I got up this morning, Loke had left me a little present on the dining room floor. Sometimes, if I get up really early, he is still so tired that he doesn’t come to greet me, but if I myself hadn’t been so tired in spite of getting up later, I would have understood why there was no happy bubbas anywhere in sight to tell me good morning. He was very, very ashamed of his little accident.

For many days now I have meant to do a blog post, but as I sit here with my big cup of coffee and write, my mind is so hazy I can’t even remember all the things that have gotten in the way. And the photos, which I have wanted so badly to show you, didn’t get ready until last night. I can sit with photos for hours spread out over a few days, but I don’t think I so far have spent this much time on editing as I did with these. So today I thought I would be sharing a lot of photos. I had hundreds but managed to scale it down to about twenty. I am splitting them into two posts, though, since the words once again took me in another direction.

autumn-reflection-reed

I think I have mentioned that very often I like mellow colours and tones in my images. So it’s so rare that I touch vibrance and saturation on the colour bars in Lightroom. Other than to take it down, of course. Now that autumn is here, I realised this and subsequently how little I know of bringing out colour. Either I mess up the saturation so that it feels like everything is screaming at me, or if I want to make a specific colour pop, another suffers. Am I making any sense? And then I want to keep it true to the colour palette we see with our eyes, while still adding my feelings into it.

It’s difficult to look up tutorials; I basically just have to sit with the sliders until my heart does a little somersault and I know it’s right. No tutorial can tell me which settings are in tune with my emotions, nor any of these thousands of pre-sets for Lightroom I have noticed are around. Kind of like how no one can tell us what our purpose is — we have to figure that out for ourselves by searching within.

autumn-colours-on-branches

To have a purpose in life, as many have mentioned in books I have read over the years, is so important — if not the most important thing. Without it we seem to float through the motions as the days pass. I like to think of it as a compass by which to navigate. It gives us direction, and in any situation, if we have that, we will look at solutions that will keep us steady on our feet. When there is a fork in the road, it will give us a hint which one might be the right one to choose in order to stay true to our purpose. Our true self.

dew-frost-spruce-branches

All that said, I am not yet entirely certain of my purpose. Still I don’t think that is an uncommon thing, and especially not since I for so long have tried to dance to borrowed tunes and loaned ideals. I have wanted to appear to be on the right path, know what I want, do the right thing. Oh, those perceived expectations and notions. But I can honestly say that I am coming to be at peace with that it’s okay. We all do what we in any given moment think is right, don’t we? We go by what we know today and try to make the best of it. As we gain experience and ability to shift our perceptions, we move. I don’t know the right formula for it, but I do know all these paths — steps through failure and success — I have taken lead me to where I am today. Because I was meant to. Because I needed to.

To make mistakes, to realise a choice I made wasn’t the best but yet necessary is part of the journey I believe, and it is only recently I have been able to stop to release a breath and forgive myself for them. Some of them. Self-forgiveness is such a hard thing, don’t you think?

autumn-rowan-berries

Ever since I got up this morning I have been coughing and I still have this congested feeling in my chest. As I said, last night I finally finished editing all these photos, and first I thought I would have a date with Poldark — the newer British-American BBC series about a man in 18th century Cornwall who comes home from the war in America to find life quite changed. I love the music, the scenery, and the mood in it. But. Then I opened up a new draft and decided to eat my carrots with dip sauce and write instead. Just as I began, Jay came to tell me he needed my help outside. So I spent the remainder of my (very late) evening among rumbling machines and whooshing grain. The mist outside was so thick I could see the pillar so clearly when shining the flashlight out into the night. We both thought of what marvelous photos that could have produced, yet neither of us know how to photograph in complete darkness.

shimmering-web-branches

My job was to stand ready to run and shut hatches when the silo was full. Jay sat up close to the rafters and shouted down over the noise when it was time.

The grain dryer has been going day and night and we have used up so much fuel it’s insane. It has been so wet here, and before we transfer the grain to the silos the moisture has to go below a specific number. Jay showed me how to use the knifty meter and how to start the necessary machinery to get the grain moving in order to be able to take a sample.

It is like a maze out there, with all the stairs to the different levels and all the silos within the building, which has been expanded over the years to house more silos. I would bring my camera out there if it weren’t for all the dust. However, Jay just got a camera meant to withstand dirt and even water — he submerged it in a sink full of water and took a selfie! Haha. So I will see if I can borrow it and show you around.

autumn-forest-shimmer

As I walked around between one of the containers the grain goes through before entering another pipe system and to look up toward where Jay was, awaiting his signal, I had much room for thoughts. While I have to ask Jay to pace himself sometimes when I’m out working with him — he gets so excited about explaining and very often spices it up with storytelling — once it’s time for the actual work, I can be alone with my thoughts. I really love that about this part of farm work. Sure there is a lot of bureaucracy — rules and regulations to abide by — administrative work, and the general business side of it, but since I am actually not employed nor am I listed as a worker on this farm, there are aspects I never deal with. But I do want to learn and it is part of life on this farm. Jay’s mother did these things, too, even if she also had a job to go to.

autumn-light-lichen-wood-log

 

While I might not be sure yet of my purpose, I still have a feeling. It’s kind of like I can sense that compass, but with the daily challenges of my past and on the days I struggle extra hard, I sometimes think of it as fumbling through mist. I might catch glimpses of shapes and silhouettes, but then they move just out of reach to distinguish. They are there, though — I sense it. And that is what keeps me searching. Can you relate?

Before I go on to await my first practice session with driving the harvester, I would like to show you one more photo I forgot in my last post from my walk through the forest.

 

Since I have talked about it so much, I think you might remember my search for that forest lake? This isn’t that. But as I drove out of Lappi that day, after a few bends in the road I passed this little tarn. On my way back from the walk, I stopped here and took a few photos. Do you also remember how I said I felt I was meant to be met by failure to reach that lake on my first attempts? When I saw this little tarn, with only one little summer cottage to the left (outside the frame), I knew I had found my backup. If I can’t reach that lake in the forest, this will be the one. I was so amazed by how clear it was, which my editing doesn’t really show, haha. But how beautiful it is.

autumn-tarn-wonderland

There have been many times in the past I have been so focused on the search — the end destination — that I haven’t stopped to see what lies along the road. That day on my way home I first drove straight past the tarn, but then my foot eased off the excelerator. Something inside my chest tugged. I couldn’t leave it behind. I had to stop. So I reversed onto the shoulder and stepped out to truly take it in. Trees, bushes and tall grass stood in my way, but the shore was right there, I had but to step right through. So I did, and I sat down on the edge in the wet undergrowth. That was when I noticed the murky shadows of sea weed — so well defined in the clear water. A thrill of excitement and gutting fear went through me as I tried to imagine myself getting into that water. I honestly don’t know if I will be able to do it. But I am going to try, so long as I don’t let these colder days become my excuse not to.

It’s that feeling I have to cling to, those faint whispers of the child of creativity that so long ago stopped coming by to tap my shoulder, after too many times having been told not now. She is there, though. I sense her, and as someone said recently, as I shared briefly of these thoughts in a post on Instagram, you will dance again. I believe so. With all my heart. And this time, I will keep dancing until we both move as though I never stopped. As one.

Part of this journey are you, dear friends and readers. When I sit down to write and share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams, I feel I am connecting to that part of myself I have neglected. I may not update as regularly and often as I used to or as I like, but so very often during my day I think of things I want to tell you and show you. And when you share your own reflections, your own dreams and inner yearnings — that means so much to me. It strengthens my belief in that to give of ourselves, just as we are, is something to be treasured. It is treasured. So my deepest, heartfelt thanks for all your words. I read and cherish them and will answer as soon as I can.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and if all goes well, I’ll be able to finish the other post before next week starts.

Much love. ❤

Process And Reflections

Hello, everyone. I hope you are all having a good start on the week. On Thursday, Lilli goes back to school. To third grade. She is getting so big. For a nine-year-old she sure is tall. After this year I will probably have to start hiding my shoes. Although I guess I get what is coming to me, after all those years I borrowed my own mother’s shoes and raided her closet. Haha

We did some back-to-school shopping last week and I’m glad because we probably missed the rush of all those last minute shoppers (I’m usually one of them, dragging my feet to the very last moment since I really don’t like shopping.) It was kind of peaceful and quiet, though, which I, who don’t particularly enjoy walking around in shops unless I already know beforehand what is needed, appreciated.

WideAngleCorrection

Today I thought I would share a little more of my process. In the latest photo challenge I mentioned my disappointment over my wide angle lens, but even so I just want to add that I do also love it because of its characteristics. Once nature starts bursting with autumn vibrance, I will get started on a photo project I began planning earlier this summer. And if all goes according to how I have envisioned it, the wide angle will see a lot more action.

WideAngleSkewed

Earlier this summer I decided to utilise my Instagram account, in addition to the blog, to try and promote my photography and document my journey. I read a few articles about it, but in the end decided that I will just apply the same method as when I edit my photos. Trial and error. Play around and have fun with it. I don’t know about you, but I found all that reading strangled my will. All those what-not-to-do’s and 15 Mistakes Photographers Make On Instagram articles. (That title is just an example.) I am not saying it wasn’t good advice; I am sure it is, and I do take some to heart. But for me, who is working on not worrying about making mistakes, it prodded too many nerves and thoughts like oh my goodness I am going to look ridiculous and fail completely.

PickASmallWish

I posted this photo on Instagram before the weekend, and I nearly fell backwards when I later that day checked in to find the likes rolling in. There are some amazing artists and photographers out there who get thousands, but to me who usually gets them on average within the thirty to fifty bracket, seeing over a hundred, then two hundred, and three–I didn’t know what to do with myself. But not only the likes. The comments. So many sweet and kind words. And then the features on accounts I myself love browsing. I couldn’t stop smiling. I thought what’s happening? What made this fleeting moment captured beside our little road so special it moved so many? And then I thought I’m moving people. I managed to reach through and I’m connecting. You see what I see.

So now I want to share with you some photos from that particular walk and how I came to pick that one photo over many, many others I loved.

Let’s start with a no-Photoshop version. The end-result actually contains two different Lightroom edits, so I’m sharing one of them. ❤

NoPhotoshop

It’s kind of funny because what I wanted was to capture the daisy only. One lone daisy stood in a sea of fading clover, but I couldn’t get low enough with my camera on the tripod where it was, so instead I picked it up. Afterward, I put it behind my ear since it felt like such a shame to throw such a steadfast little flower away when it had managed to push up among all those clovers. (And then I lost it when I let down my ponytail.)

AnotherToPonder

The second funny thing is that when I got home and uploaded all the photos, I noticed the focus was slightly off, so the daisy itself is out of focus, and only some of the leaves and one tall weed in focus. And only just. So at first I wasn’t going to pick it. My first choices were between the following (also without Photoshop edits):

MaybeThis

TheOtherChoice

I kept returning to that first one, though. The one I eventually chose. So I named it Pick A Wish. All that I felt and wanted was captured in that one brief moment, perfect or imperfect, it didn’t matter. The feeling is what matters. And maybe that’s why it has become so loved. The perfect imperfection. The fleeting yet precious moments of life.

ReachToCreate

OneOfThoseMoments

When I think about it, the best photos I take are the spontaneous ones. The ones that happen when I am out walking and stumble upon a sudden wish. Motions captured in the process, and not the initial motive that made me put my shoes on and go outside in the first place.

I used to write stories once. Hundreds of thousands of words. I made up a fantasy world and even started creating languages within that world. I still have it all here on my laptop. I imagined I would maybe one day, years from now, finish it all and give it out to see if the rest of the world would find my own secret and magical lands worth becoming lost in. And somehow I ended up with the camera back in my hands. Not where I thought I would be, but I am writing. Writing and sharing the magic I encounter. Sometimes it really does feel like I am in another world–an entirely different realm. Which, truthfully, Finland is to me. Something inside comes to life when I wander these roads and forests, and I am so grateful I get to share it and connect with you.

CloverMoment

In all honesty, I can take a thousand photos in one week, and majority of them around our farm and in close by forests. Yet I rarely feel I have seen it all. Do you have a place like that? One that can be rediscovered over and over without you tiring of it? I really hope you do. So far, I cannot think of anything that brings greater peace and happiness than being grateful for what is right here. Right now.

FadedJuniperReflections

JuniperTones

If you don’t have such a place–if one didn’t come to mind–then take a moment and think on what could be such a place. To someone else who has lived in this little village all their life, or maybe to someone who passes by on the bigger road beyond the fields, it may not look like much. So that one little corner of our world might not seem very special at a glance, but if we slow down and let ourselves be, I would be willing to bet we all find that one piece of magic somewhere close.

HazeBerryDreams
A few straying rays from the setting sun through branches and leaves can turn into a glowing dream if you squint your eyes.
JustFoliage
Weeds and foliage can appear as a golden fantasy land in a light breeze at dusk.

I stopped on my way back to the house to capture these roadside weeds, and as I hunched down another lone flower caught my eye. Like a shimmering bell. It seemed to, just like me, soak up the last light of this wonderful August evening.

BellDrop

I wish each and every one of you a great week. Much love. ❤

A Spontaneous Road Trip

I got a call from one of my brothers on my second night here in Sweden. He told me he had Monday and Tuesday off work and wanted to go for a drive to Norway. I had no idea you were here, but Dad told me, so I thought you might like to come along. Since you love photography so much.

You know when someone asks you to go for spontaneous a drive–usually it doesn’t end up in a twenty-four hour, fifteen-hundred kilometer trip. Across country borders. With barely any sleep in that entire time. At least not in my experience. But that is exactly what happened. We started at 10 a.m. on Monday morning and we didn’t get back until 2 p.m. the following day. As we drove back through our Swedish forests, the past day and night felt like a distant dream. Like something I had honestly only imagined in my head. It was the strangest feeling. Luckily, in spite of my camera battery dying after seventeen photos, I got enough images as proof it was all wonderfully real.

I have spent pretty much all day, on and off, going through and editing these photos, and it honestly amazes me how good camera phones are. Of course there are things I cannot possibly do with them, like taking photos at night. They turn out grainy and look more like paintings than photographs, which was kind of cool.

I finished editing earlier, but my body isn’t fully recovered so I wasn’t going to do this post until tomorrow. As I lied in bed with my clothes on–I felt so ill I went straight to bed after the last photo was done–I thought I don’t have to write a novel about it. And you know what? I am going to let the photos speak for themselves. My brother and I didn’t speak much, either, while we drove. We were both so engrossed in the impressions this wondrous country continuously gave us. And I am so grateful to him for asking me along. This was above and beyond anything I could have imagined beforehand. So without more delay, I invite you along on this beautiful adventure.

On Our Way Through Sweden

 

Norway – First Impressions

FirstImpressions

FirstCloseUp

Agdenes – Along Trondheimsfjord

AgdenesTrondheimsfjorden_iPhone

AgdenesTrondheimsfjorden_Canon
Canon EOS 1100D & Tamron 90mm macro lens.

Agdenes – View Of The Ocean

AgdenesJumpingForJoy
My brother has stared at Google Maps satellite images, and to finally be out here made him jump for joy. Such a happy moment. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
AgdenesOceanSunset
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
AgdenesFerryView
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

Agdenes – Gravvikbukta

GravvikbuktaOceanRoad
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
GravvikbuktaInnerRoad
Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.
GravvikbuktaFjord
Goosebumps sped up and down my body as I stood here, choked up on tears and utterly overcome by this breathtaking beauty. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

When The Battery Dies

MistyMountains
As I set up for this photo, the camera flipped, then stopped working. I couldn’t even focus it. It was an incredibly long exposure and imagine my surprise when I uploaded these to the laptop to find this intact. / Canon EOS 1100D & Canon EFS 10-18mm lens.

 

Dawn Over Midnight Lands

DawnOverRidges

DawnOverReflections

DawnOverMidnight

 

Sunrise Reflections

CrystalWaters

DawningBellPetals

SunriseWaters

MeadowRoofs

MomentsToReflect

LichenLogs

MindWanderer

StillMirrors

 

Farewell, Norway

DeerNorwayFarewell

I will go back here. If not to these particular places, I will return with my Canon and capture more of Norway’s treasures. For now I am just so thankful to have gotten to experience these places.

If you want a daily photo and much less words, come join me on Instagram where I keep it short and sweet. 😉 I have also started to share spontaneous moments through Instagram Stories. Now I am just working up the courage to speak while at it. One step at a time, eh?

Thank you so much for reading, liking, and commenting. It means so much to me. ❤ See you soon!