Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration

From the day I found out about her existence, she’s been my greatest source of inspiration. I did not have to think at all when I saw the theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration. My daughter’s beautiful mind, her warm heart, resilience, and kindness inspires me every day. It makes me want to be a better person, and give her the right tools to live a full-filled life. A life of her choice.

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve (CA.)

Going on adventures with her, showing her the wonders of nature is one of the things I enjoy most in life. Sharing experiences that will open her mind and heart.

Oatman, AZ

When we planned our trip to Oatman (AZ,) my daughter was very excited about the chance of seeing burros. When we got there she offered one of the burros to smell her hand. He choose not too, but they stood there looking at each other for what seem to be a long time. The burro was standing still and she could of easily touched him, but (in my daughter’s words) “since he choose not to smell my hand, I need to respect his space.” I could not of been more proud of her. She’s always had a very good hand with horses, but we have not spent a lot of time around burros. Little glimpses from her beautiful mind, hearing her reason like this at a young age makes my heart explode with pride and love for her. That inspires me.

Mesquite (NV,) Golden Butte National Monument.

Experiencing amazing nature, learning about the outdoors, and sleeping under the stars together is something that strengthens our relationship.

Hiking together in rugged terrain, in Death Valley National Park (CA.)
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park (CA.)
Grand Canyon (AZ)

Last year we got absorbed by the beauty of the Grand Canyon together. It was the second time I took her there, but the first time we visited she was less than a year old. I have wonderful memories from that first visit, but her conscious mind will likely remember her second visit more. I don’t know if you’ve been to Grand Canyon? If you have, you know what an emotional experience it is. Experiencing this with my daughter meant a lot to me. Experiencing with all our senses together brings us closer, and open up for heartfelt conversations about life.

Flying a kite in Humboldt Toiyabee National Forest (NV.)

Do you remember the first time you flew a kite? How did it make you feel?

Hiking in Red Rock Canyon (NV.)

When my daughter told me she wanted to spend more time with her father, that lived in southern Nevada at the time, it inspired us to explore southern Nevada, and the majestic Red Rock Canyon. We spent a lot of our free time, in between work and school, here in the Red Rocks. To me it was inspiring to see what captured her imagination, and attention. I was drawn to the majestic vistas, and open spaces, she looked at the details; the formation of small rocks on the ground, caterpillars, and seed pods – very inspirational.

It definitely inspired me to try a little harder being a considerate human being, when I watched her volunteer reading to elderly people, at a picnic near Mt Charleston (NV.)

Valley of Fire (NV)

My daughter is mostly a calm person, that loves to think, and dream. Every once in a while she explodes in a burst of life, and that reminds me to always keep the inner child close at hand.

Mora, Sweden

Last, but not least, her resilience and ability to adapt to new situations, like moving to a new country, is extremely inspiring. My daughter inspire me every day. If you are a parent, I am sure you can relate. Our children inspire us to become better, stronger, and more successful in what we do. ❤

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share; About Self-Sufficiency And Our Ecological Footprints

The weather is still nice enough to have our weekly coffee date outside. What would you like today? Some hot coffee? Or tea? There is some homemade kombucha as well. I’ve tried the raisin/cardamom, and the vanilla kombucha. I am very happy with how they turned out. I haven’t tried the cinnamon kombucha yet, but it should be ready. Maybe you want to try some? In case you missed the post about how to make your own kombucha, here is the link to the recipe.

How is your week? My week have been a bit different, since I have been at home with a sick kiddo. They called from my daughter’s school on Monday around lunchtime, informing me that she has a fever. I picked her up as fast as I could, and have been at home ever since. Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day she was completely without a fever. We are going to stay at home the rest of the week, hoping  that she is fit to go back to school Monday morning. 

I’ve spent a lot of time reading out loud to her in Swedish. She prefers English, and we speak English at home, but she attends a Swedish School. Since she did not go to school this week I saw it fit to replace her regular Swedish lessons with some Swedish at home. She is actually doing really well, and I’d say that she understands at least 99% of what people say to her in Swedish, but she feels somewhat uncomfortable speaking Swedish. At home she can pick up a chapter book in Swedish and read it without a problem. She thinks the book they have their reading homework in is for babies. To be honest, it’s the kind of book we did for kindergarten, but that was in English, and I keep telling her that she should see these simple books as an opportunity to perfect her Swedish. Motivation is our biggest challenge at the moment. 

We’ve had many great conversations this week, among other things we’ve discussed ways we could lower our ecological footprint, and what things we do in our every day life that affects our ecological footprint, in the long run affects the wellbeing of this planet and everyone on it. It’s been very interesting. We decided that we are going to try to live without a car for a while longer. Maybe we don’t need a car? I sold my car in July 2019, so it’s been more than a year. Yes, it would have been more fun and convenient to have a car, but we have been doing alright. I know that if we had a car we would use it, probably every day, and we don’t need that. I’d rather rent, or borrow a car for special occasions/trips. Many destinations in Sweden, and Europe don’t even require a car. You can take a comfortable train to most cities and small towns, you can even take a train to the mountains and go hiking/skiing right from the train station. As a young adult I loved having an inter-rail pass during the summer, a pass allowing you to go by train wherever you wanted in Europe (or for the area you purchased your pass,) making stops wherever you felt like, sleeping at a cheap hostel (or go camping) and continuing to the next city the next day, stopping a few days here and there, maybe renting a car to explore if a place seemed extra interesting. 

Under the same topic of our ecological footprint we talked about consumerism, where we both thought we are doing pretty good, having lived a minimalistic lifestyle for several years now. We also talked about food, thinking that we are doing pretty good, but agreed that we can do better. We do grow some of our own food, and want to grow more. We do not waste much food (hardly any,) we make something out of our leftovers all the time and are good at composting, using vegetable scraps to grow new vegetables. We save seeds of our favourite heirlooms. My daughter agreed to be brave and try more new vegetarian dishes. She has a few she LOVES, but are often hesitant in trying new ones. We are not vegetarians, but our diet is mostly plant based. We purposely eat less meat, and try to eat only local, organic meat when we do eat meat. Eating local, organic and by the season is a priority. We are pretty good at it when it comes to meat, and vegetables. We are going to try to be better when it comes to fruit. It can sometimes be challenging and very expensive to find, and purchase fruit that are locally sourced here in Sweden. One way to get around this is of course to grow fruit yourself, something we definitely want to do. 

Stubborn old me need to challenge my gardening skills to the max and grow figs..naturally.. I put these containers out in the weather on purpose, they need to loose their leaves before I can ‘tuck them in’ for winter. If you keep figs indoor, and they don’t get any chill hours at all, you’re not very likely to get any fruit next year. I will put blankets around them during the coldest months, and they will be in a protected area then. Speaking of growing. I’ve been washing my pots, and containers, and organised them a bit this week. It’s a little sad that the growing season is over here. To make up for that sadness I’ve been watching inspirational YouTube videos about container gardening in small spaces. There is so much you can do! My head is full of ideas of garden spaces I want to create, both indoors and outdoors. 

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Do you have any fun plans for this weekend? What’s your two cents about ecological footprints? If you are interested in calculating your own ecological footprint you can do so for free here. I calculate my footprint on a regular basis. The first time I did it, about 13 years ago I wasn’t very happy with the result. To be honest, I was a little embarrassed. I am happy with the result now. Take the test! Go ahead and tell me about your thoughts in a comment.

Love,

Maria