Tag-Archive for » Sweden «


Sometimes it's nice to deliberately not do anything touristy when traveling. To make a point to avoid seeing the sights and museums. To just take it slow and not try to hurry to fit in everything there is to experience in a short amount of time.

To just wander the streets of a city and eat ice cream and feed the birds.

To explore food markets and sample the pastries while sitting in front of old churches.

To hear a lady ask what kind of fish was in the fish soup and the stall owner respond, “No, there's no fish in this fish soup.”

To admire the crazy and unique live-aboard boats lining the canals and harbors.

To listen to street musicians and watch bridge fisherman haul in their catch.

To just enjoy being there.

We (particularly me) learned that lesson in Stockholm. Since our ward does this temple trip every summer, we are pretty sure we'll be going back. Therefore, when we took a break from the temple Friday evening to explore downtown Stockholm, there was no pressure to try and see all the stuff that the guidebooks say is a MUST see. (Although, full disclosure, we tried going to one museum, but chickened out when we saw the price of admission. Ice cream was much cheaper :) )

It was really nice to just be there.

(Note to self- next time at the top of my list is rent a kayak and tour the canals by water. That looked worth it!)


Swedish Sea Day

One day after the temple, we tagged along with some of the ward families for a quick evening at the beach. Somehow they convinced us “wimpy Americans” to jump into the nippy Baltic water. I'm still not quite sure how that happened….

He's single, ladies. And he'll need lots of encouraging letters on his mission in the next year or so ;)

Pondering the leap…
It was pretty chilly… but I either got used to it, or just went numb because eventually it felt refreshing!
The Norwegian kids didn't even flinch!
Love this guy :)


At the Stockholm Temple

Tuesday-Friday we did around 4 temple sessions per day starting at 9 and ending at 6.

At first we were both quite intimidated by spending THAT much time in the temple, as we had only ever done one session at a time before. We were afraid we’d get bored or worse, be that person. You know the one. The one who starts snoring at the worst possible time.

We were pleasantly surprised though! I can’t speak for Chris, but I felt such a sense of peace there that it made everything go quickly, and on the few occasions it went slow I didn’t mind so much. It was wonderful to be there with Chris so often as well as the rest of the ward members.

Usually right after the temple, everyone gathered in the community kitchen at the patron house to make dinner. One night, as is apparently a yearly temple trip tradition, we all went out to a neighboring pizza joint and pigged out on really good pizza.

Chris picked a banana curry pizza. I wasn’t a fan, but he loved it…

Another night, everyone bought their favorite flavor of Haagen-Daas or Ben & Jerry’s and we had a massive family-style ice cream party.

Then the kids would run wild in the yard, the youth would gather to play card games, and the adults would circle around and chat until eventually someone would pick up a guitar or ukulele and the rest of the evening would end up in a big sing-along music fest.

Near the end of the trip I commented to Chris, “I don’t think I’ve felt this much spiritual camaraderie and unity for a week straight since my days of EFY and church history trips. In fact, it kind of feels like an adult Youth Conference.”

I love knowing that those days aren’t behind us :)


Category: Church, Friends  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments
Stockholm or BUST!

It takes 18 hours or so to drive from Stavanger to Stockholm. By some definite divine intervention, our plucky little station wagon made it to and from Sweden in one piece. We had some worrisome moments, but I tell ya…blessings come from going to the temple!

We carpooled with our friends Amerigo and Sarah and caravanned with the Steffensen clan. Amerigo and Sarah are originally from the Philipines, which meant that our car was full of a combination of English, Tagalog, and Norwegian the whole drive! So much fun!



Of course, we had to stop along the way for a Norwegian hot dog picnic.


Rotten watermelon discus


Mother and daughter.


We wound along the southern coast of Norway, stopping for church in Kristiansand along the way. It was a seriously gorgeous drive! We passed fjords, lakes, rivers, and countless waterfalls. I don't think I will get over how beautiful Norway is as long as we live here. We stopped for the night in Drammen (just outside of Oslo and about half-way to Stockholm) and stayed the night with our stake president's family.

Our stake prez. and wonderful son-in-law.


We crossed the border into Sweden the next day and the difference was strangely immediate. For one thing, the speed limit suddenly increased from 70 km/h to 110 km/h! (Go Sweden!) In addition, I had never noticed there were no billboards along the side of the roads in Norway until we started seeing them along the highway in Sweden. The landscape also suddenly became rather boring (sorry Sweden!). Where Norway is full of winding roads and small quaint towns, Sweden was one loooong tree-lined road. With red barns. Lots and lots of red barns.

Ikea in the Motherland!!

Speed bump tee hee hee! (yep, we're still 12 years old ladies and gentlemen)


Temple Trip to Stockholm

This is a very Mormon post. Be ye therefore warned ;)

A little LDS fact: Mormons have 2 primary worship buildings. Church meetinghouses where we have regular Sunday services, meetings, activities, etc and temples. Temples are sacred and very special to us. So special, in fact, that Chris and I drove for days across two countries to spend a week at one this summer. We consider them to be houses of The Lord and special sacred ceremonies are performed there. If you want to learn more about why they are important to us and what we do there, you can check out this video here:


We spent 5 days almost entirely at the temple, staying with ward members in patron housing right next to the temple grounds. I wish I could put into words what a special, peaceful time that was. The biggest indicator to me was when we got home at the end of the week, Chris commented that my eyes looked a lot bigger and brighter than they normally do. It confused me, until I realized that I had completely lost the bags under my eyes that had been there for longer than I care to think about! It was just such a calm, relaxing, spiritually rejuvinating week. I don't know if I've ever been more aware of the sacred power of temples before that point.

It was also an amazing bonding experience with our ward! Many-a-night was spent playing music, singing, eating good food and sharing uplifting stories and testimonies long into the night. Plus, we got to see a little bit of Stockholm while we were there!

There will be a few posts to follow this one, since I can't possibly contain everything in one post! Suffice it to say, we were so blessed to have been able to share in this week together in the house of the Lord!



Category: Church, Travel  Tags: , , ,  2 Comments