Our Swedish Midsummer Party

Monday, June 22

I am half Swedish and have loved incorporating Swedish traditions into our American home:) Growing up, we visited Sweden every few years for family reunions, and of course the midsummer tradition was almost always a part of itinerary. Swedes have a knack for the beauty and simplify they bring to life, and the midsummer holiday is no exception!

Midsummer celebrates the first day of summer and is celebrated on the summer Solstice…usually around the 20th of June. Swedes make a whole day celebration out of it…starting with a delicious lunch and usually ending with a bbq.

This year, I was inspired to host my first ever midsummer party in our back yard. I was bound and determined to make sure I had a lot of the traditional elements, so I reached out to a few of my cousins in Sweden. Here were the items they said I must include…

* Flower Crowns: In Sweden, they make their own fresh flower crowns which are so lovely. Next year I want to try my hand at making my own. This year I found some super cute ones on Amazon and bought them!

* Midsummer Food: Fish….potatoes & dill…pickled cucumbers...strawberry cake. I made salmon as that is the fish i'm most comfortable making, my mom made her delicious potatoes…and my friend Ash made a gorgeous strawberry cake (I made a g/d free one! Recipes coming in another post!)

* Midsummer Pole: My favorite tradition of midsummer is dancing around the midsummer pole! There is a really cute song called "Sma Grodona" about a little frog with no ears and no tail. There are hand motions, and it's super hilarious. I may have practiced this one a little too much before our party, as I wanted to get it right, haha!! Just youtube Sma Grodona and you can learn how the dance is done!

* Games: Swedes are the masters of outdoor lawn games! I've spent many a summer day in Sweden playing Kub or other games. This year we had the kids do a few races which was really cute. Next year i'm hoping to have a few other lawn games for the kids…maybe a 3-legged race or potato sack race?

We had a lovely evening. Kevin made the adults Swedish mules with elderflower syrup, and they were light and delicious garnished with a sprig of thyme! We kept it small this year because of covid…it was just my family and then some of our swedish friends the Lundbergs. I realize, being outdoors with good food, good people, and a beautiful atmosphere is so life giving to me.

Kevin and I had made the midsummer pole a few days before, and surprisingly the ivy we had wrapped around it was still green and vibrant! We were so in to our dancing that I did not snap a single picture. I was able to capture a screen shot from a video someone took, and it's below!

I would absolutely encourage you to try to create your own Midsummer party! It was easy and fun and really a delight. You can teach your children about a fun tradition from another country…Sweden:) Enjoy the pictures!

Eternal work…in your home

Thursday, June 11

I'm an Enneagram 3...the achiever.
My biggest motivation is to offer value to the world, and my biggest fear is that i'm worthless.

From a young age I've longed to see God's justice and love flow through me to a hurting world.

It's what led me to...

Organize a 5K in college that raised thousands of dollars for a non-profit working in Africa
Teach English in Thailand (in refugee camps, English camps, Language schools, etc)
Travel all around the USA speaking at schools & companies about the conflict in Northern Uganda.
Start a t-shirt company that donated over $30K to organizations in Africa
Travel to over 40 counties, live in 4 of them
Ask God to displace me so I could meet people who had different experiences as myself
Start a travel blog that sent me all over the world for free
Help set up an aftercare home in Nepal
Go back to graduate school at 29 and get my masters in counseling
Spend 4 years seeing clients and gaining hours to become licensed as a therapist.
Host weekly dinners for my neighbors in our front yard.

I thrive when I am being "productive",
I thrive when I see God's kingdom work go forth,
I thrive when I am actively planning and organizing something that touches the world.

And these last few months with covid have felt stagnant.
No projects to go forth until further notice,
No friends to see in person and hug and cry with,
and mostly, no plans.

Yesterday, I sat in bed and cried my eyes out to Kevin that I was so useless right now.
He humored me, comforted me, and then in the tenderest of ways,

reminded me of my greatest kingdom calling in this moment...my children.

I love my children. And I love being a mom.
But for the most part, caring for children when stuck in quarantine hasn't been exciting and glamorous. It's felt routine and ordinary....predictable.

But in the midst of all that is going on, God has placed upon my heart the incredible reminder that few things in this world are eternal... children are.

CS Lewis wrote,
"Children are not a distraction from the most important work. They are the most important work"

With renewed revelation on the incredible value God places on children,
i'm going forth today armed with the knowledge that
and  kissing
and feeding
and loving,
and teaching
and reading
and shepherding
and praying with my babies
brings the love of Christ and the justice of God into my home. 

What a privilege, what a gift.
May you be encouraged that your work as a mama is eternal work.
Go forth and rejoice in the work God has set before you.