Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rooms Available -- Book Now!

About a year ago, my small group at First Baptist Church of Oviedo encouraged us to take a Spiritual Gifts Survey to see how we can best serve the church. My results were interesting, but not surprising, ranking highest in administration, teaching, and hospitality. If you’ve spent much time with me, you’re probably grinning as you read this. I have an unusual affection for spreadsheets and checklists, I actually enjoyed (and sometimes miss) teaching middle school English for five years, and nothing makes me happier than planning a party, hosting girls’ night, or having friends over (for cupcakes, of course).
I was overjoyed to use my talents at planning to prepare my home for our first set of visitors. Matthew’s grandmother, mother, and youngest sister came to visit for a week in October. A mundane grocery list takes on a higher calling when you’re planning meals for family you haven’t seen in months!
Top on our list of sights is Stadsparken, the city park across from our house. The trees are ablaze with red and gold autumn leaves, something my Florida eyes can’t seem to get used to. We also explored the nearby city of Gränna (population: 2600, about half the size of my high school!) where peppermint rock, locally known as polkagris, was invented.
Gracie and GG (Great Grandma) playing with the iPad


Joy in Gränna

Though our time passed altogether too quickly we enjoyed sharing our new home and acquaintances with them. Gracie loved having new people to play with during the day and I enjoyed having some extra time for a nap! I hope these pictures have encouraged you to book your visit at Villa Furulid.  We would love to have you stay with us!  And I promise to make some tasty food while you’re here!
Breakfast included!

Dinner is also included (We're practically a resort!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My very favorite mom and dad are celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary this week.  I'm sure all kids say this when their parents reach a major milestone like this, but I can't think of two people who have better demonstrated love, patience, humor, forgiveness, and determination throughout their years together. I am so thankful for the work they have put into making their marriage an example of how rewarding a Christ centered relationship can be.

My parents are smart enough to realize what an accomplishment it is to spend three decades together so they celebrated by taking a dream trip to Europe. Seizing the opportunity, Gracie and I booked two tickets from Gothenburg to Frankfurt to surprise them for the last few days of their trip.

Now, I want to take a minute here to try to convince you that I’m not bragging.  I mean, yes, it is undeniably awesome to be able to buy a dirt cheap ticket and hop a ninety minute flight to Germany.  But, what I want you to realize is that this is completely out of character for me. I’m not a brave person. Taking a two-year-old through not one, but TWO airports where I don’t speak the native language and have to rely on cave painting graphics just to find a bathroom is intimidating to me.  As is airport security, hoping that my luggage won’t get lost, and praying to a kind and merciful God that the aforementioned toddler won’t completely lose it during the flight. This is how desperate I was to see my parents.

Lufthansa has pretty good food on their flights...
My worries were, as usual, completely unfounded. We landed in Frankfurt without incident and my father (and partner in crime) was waiting outside baggage claim with my very excited mother. I can’t describe how overjoyed I was to see my parents after all this time, but if I were filming a reality TV show there would have been plenty of tears to document.

We spent three wonderful days together exploring Schweinfurt and Rothenberg in the somewhat warmer weather, enjoying delicious German food, and the company of Gracie’s great-great-grandmother.  It has been so important to me that my Granny and Gracie would meet, and I am thankful that our move to Sweden and its close proximity to Germany helped make that possible. My sweet Elisabeth Grace is proudly named after my Granny, the youngest of five generations in my family currently living with Elisabeth (or Elizabeth) in our name.

Gracie thought this was a princess castle.

Is there anything better than a fresh German pastry?

Ok, we had some American food too...
It turns out they both love Angry Birds

If you can't act like an idiot with your parents, when can you?

Four out of five generations of Elisabeths.  Gracie is seated next to her Great-Great-Grandmother!
 The trip was delightful and the whole scheme was a success; mom was surprised when she arrived at the airport, and then surprised again when I told my parents that I will be having another baby in May! What a relief to finally be able to share this happy news with my parents! Knowing that I would be able to tell them in person was the only thing that kept my lips sealed for three long weeks.  And now that YOU know, dear readers, I ask you to join us in prayer for this precious child. Please pray for healthy development for the baby, energy for me, and that we will continually put our family in God’s ever-capable, loving, and merciful hands.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Good Excuse

My dear readers, I have failed you.  I really try to update my blog on a weekly basis, but it just hasn't happened this month.  Here's why:

1. Gracie no longer takes naps during the day. While a 2-3 hour afternoon nap allows me to do things like update my blog and eat Pringles without being stalked, it also means the girl is up until after eleven at night, and that's unacceptable.

2. I fall asleep by 10. Now that Gracie goes to bed at a reasonable hour, so do I. It's delightful. You should try it.

3. I left the country. Have passport, will travel.  My parents were in Germany, and I couldn't let a little thing like an 90 minute flight keep me from seeing them. I'll tell you all about it in my next post... in a week or so.