2013 Spring Retreat

•April 25, 2013 • 3 Comments

Swedish spring is finally here! At least in Skåne! Our Young Adults group escaped Malmö for the weekend and spent time hiking in Söderåsen National Park.

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There was still snow in some of the shady areas and some of the paths were a bit icy, but it was nice to be out in the woods.

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This group really enjoys games. The UNO cards came out almost immediately. We stayed at a newly renovated hostel. It was cute and cozy and I’d recommend it if you’re in the area, www.klaverodsvandrarhem.se. They also have a cafe that is open on Sunday afternoons.

2013_4 UngaVuxna Camp4

Every person volunteers for a group that is responsible for a different task. I was in the bread baking group. Yes, you read that right. Swedes bake a lot more fresh bread than we Americans bake. For our retreat breakfasts we usually have fresh rolls. This year we had the extra task of making hot dog buns.

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Yes, that did turn into bread. It was very good. The hot dog buns turned out a bit short, but they still worked well for holding the hotdog!

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We rented the whole hostel which included the main building and three small cabins. Dinner was delicious and it’s always fun to sit and chat with people.

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After dinner there was more game playing and a devotion where we sang some praise and worship songs.

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We had eight people join us for their first retreat. I continue to be amazed and thankful for all the new people who attend our events. Breakfast is always relaxed. Then it was time to get out into the sun!

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A few morning calisthenics. Some stretching…

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One of the highlights for most people on the retreat is time alone with God. Everyone goes off by themselves, no phones, no outside distractions, just you and God. Then we hiked out to where we ate lunch.

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No retreat is complete with out cooking something over a fire.

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It was a relaxing, enjoyable two days out in Nature. Fun to spend time with old friends and meet some new ones!

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Christmas is Coming

•December 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

December 21st, the shortest day of the year, is almost here. I am looking forward to this day with excitement and I am pretty sure the world will not be ending. After the winter solstice life in Sweden can only get lighter, literally, and Christmas is right around the corner.

Here are some other reasons I know Christmas is almost here:

Snow – We had snow for around 2 weeks. It’s beautiful, it makes everything lighter, but it’s challenging to get around. I do not trust myself to ride my bike, so it’s a lot of walking or taking the bus. Swedes are environmentally friendly, they don’t use a lot of salt to clear the sidewalks. It can be a bit of an icy mess. The snow doesn’t usually stay for very long. Right now our temperatures are just above freezing and all our snow has melted. (You can click on any photo to make it bigger.)

Snowy Bikes

Christmas Decorations – The plastic tree came back out of the box and up went all the white decorations. It’s cozy and festive having the apartment decorated.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Decorations at Church – The church is also decorated. The lights are supposed to look like upside down Christmas trees. Can you see it? This past Sunday, Santa visited us to talk about Christmas.

Immanuel Church

Swedes hang stars in the windows or big electric candleholders. It helps spread a little light when it’s so dark for most of the day.

Christmas Star

Christmas Cookies – Grandma Johnson’s Candy Bar Cookies, I love them. They are my favorite Christmas cookie. Thankfully I shared them with a bunch of people or I would have eaten them all myself.


Shopping for Christmas Presents – What’s lightweight and small and something my family will like? Getting my shopping done early enough to mail the presents to the USA is always a challenge. Hopefully they’ll arrive before Christmas this year.


Julbord – Swedes have a tradition of eating certain types of food for the Christmas holidays. It’s a lot of meat/protein: ham, sausages, boiled eggs, pickled herring, meatballs. This is my small group celebrating last Sunday. I was responsible for the meatballs. Time got away from me so I didn’t “make” the meatballs from scratch. There was a little cheating involved, I ended up buying them at the store. Thankfully they were very good.


Thanksgiving 2012

•December 6, 2012 • 2 Comments

Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving. It is one of my favorite holidays. I had such a fun time last year with my neighbors, I decided to do the same thing this year. I live in a new apartment building, so it was a new group of guests this year.

Thanksgiving Turkey

The turkey is the highlight of Thanksgiving, so I splurge a bit and buy the biggest one I can find. This baby was 7.8 kg or 17 lbs.

Turkey in oven

Yes, it does fit in the oven! After several hours cooking, it was time to carve it up. I watched several videos on how to carve a turkey. I’m thankful for internet cooking help. What did people do before the internet?

Carving the turkey

The gravy turned out wonderful due to all of these good turkey drippings.

Good gravy

I had help this year from Therese, my roommate, and Alemeh. They did a fantastic job helping make the mountains of food that we eat at Thanksgiving.

Help with all the food

Alemeh is arranging the applesauce jello salad. It actually gelled like it was supposed to this year because I caved and bought real Jello brand jello at the American Store.

Thanksgiving food

Finally all the cooking was finished and it was time to enjoy all of the delicious food.

Enjoying good food

Ten of my neighbors decided to join us. I always enjoy getting to know the neighbors better. I’ve been blessed to have very kind and friendly neighbors.

Thanksgiving guests

I also got a spettekaka, a cake, which I had never tried before. This is a specialty in Skåne, the region where I live.

Friends at Thanksgiving with spettekaka

Dinner finished with desert, of course! This year I made bars instead of pies. These were delicious.

Pecan Pie Bars

They’re Paula Deen’s Best-Ever Southern Pecan Pie Bars. Here’s the recipe. This year I even managed to save the wishbone.


Sofia and I made our wishes and…

Breaking the wishbone

hers will come true! I ended up with the smaller piece.

I lost

I miss being in the USA and celebrating Thanksgiving with family, but I’m thankful for friends and neighbors here who I can celebrate with. I hope that you had a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Castle Tour

•December 6, 2012 • 1 Comment

My niece Abby loves all things “princess” right now. I was talking with her the other day and asked her what she wanted for Christmas. Among other things she said a princess mirror, a princess brush, and, most interestingly, a princess sink.

If Abby had been a princess in Denmark, several hundred years ago, she could have lived here: Frederiksborg Castle.

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The castle was built by King Christian IV in the 1600s.

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It is impressively large and the rooms are beautifully decorated. I especially like the artistic attention given to the ceilings. I liked this one.

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The rooms are large and the ceilings very high so it allows for a more complex design, but we in our modern day could pay a bit more attention to ceiling design. Here’s another one I liked.

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The details are amazing. How long did some poor artist slave over this before it was finished? The Great Hall was a massive room, this photo is only about a third of the room.

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The chandelier is impressive. There were huge portraits of the most recent royals including the current queen on the walls.

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Under the Great Hall is the equally large and ornate Chapel. It is still in use today. The day I was there visiting they hosted an infant baptism.  The lights were off and it was a cloudy day, so this photo doesn’t do justice to how beautiful this room is.

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The grounds were just as nice as the castle.

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I also got to see another castle, Kronborg, which was built in the late 1500s. It is equally as large and impressive as Frederiksborg Castle, but the interiors have not been maintained as well. I didn’t take many pictures inside, but here’s a bit of the outside.

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Kronborg is built at one of the narrowest parts of the Oresund, the body of water between Denmark and Sweden. You can look across and see Sweden. In fact when the castle was built, both sides of the straight were Danish. The king wanted to make sure that boats passing through this body of water, paid the appropriate taxes to Denmark.

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On the ride to the castles, I enjoyed seeing several thatched roof houses. It’s very uncommon to see this type of roof in Sweden.

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It was fun to explore a little more of Denmark and learn more about the history of the area.

UngaVuxna Retreat – Fall 2012

•November 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Our third UngaVuxna retreat was very well attended and our biggest problem was that people didn’t want to leave at the end. We were at a scout camp (think rustic, but with running water and electricity), back in the woods near Veberöd. Skåne is mostly farm land, but it is possible to find some nice spots out in nature.

We were 42 plus a couple extra on Friday evening. That’s about double what we’ve been at our previous retreats. We were also a good mix of people from a couple different churches in Malmö. (You can click on the photos to see them a little bigger.)

Getting to know new people.

Friday evening we played a lot of games and ate good food. We had a short devotion and then spent some time singing worship songs.

Devotion and Worship time.

Some people were brave enough to sleep outside in a lean-to. The rest of us were very cozy and warm sleeping indoors.

Making meals together.

Everyone pitches in to help in some way over the weekend. These ladies were helping make our lunch on Saturday, vegetable soup. They did a lot of chopping.

Playing group games.

More games on Saturday. Games are a great way to get to know new people and to mix the group up a bit.

More Games.

Music Quiz time. Name that tune. Who’s the artist?

Lots of people came to the Retreat.

Getting ready to go for a walk. Thankfully it didn’t rain very much on Saturday. Keeping track of 42 people was sometimes a challenge. Are we all here? Hmmm…

Going for a walk.

It was a beautiful day to be out in the woods.

Serving lunch outside.

Time for a break for lunch.

Good soup.

Soup is always nice on a chilly day.

Sitting and eating out in the woods.

I really enjoyed the weekend out with other 20 and 30 somethings. I’m excited that more people are feeling welcome join us for our different activities.

I like Copenhagen

•October 27, 2012 • 1 Comment

Today I decided that the worst thing about public transportation in Sweden is that it is typically so punctual. Yes, you read that right. Usually buses, trains, planes, they all come and go on time. This makes us believe that it will always be this way.

When, on a very unfortunate day, they do not run in a timely manner, it is some how extra disappointing. Today it was the especially painful, the train is late 5 minutes, oh wait now it’s another 5 minutes, oh wait now it’s another five minutes, until the train was really late 30 minutes. This meant that I got on the train, hoping that it would somehow magically get to Copenhagen super fast. That did not happen.

Plan A, down the drain, on to Plan B.

Copenhagen is so close and I have spent so little time there, I was excited to spend a little time exploring some of their museums. After some coffee and delicious Danish pastries, I headed over to the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, www.glyptoteket.com.

The Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

During a day of wandering through their galleries, here is what I discovered:

I really like Ancient Egyptian artifacts. The statues of all the different gods and Pharaohs, the poses are fascinating to me. I wish I could read hieroglyphics. How exhausting to have to prepare so much for the afterlife, the food, the inscriptions, the miniatures that would help you survive there.

After looking at literally one hundred busts of various rulers, kings, Caesars, and their wives, I thought: Wow, very few people are remembered after they die. These people were important enough to have someone cut their head into stone, and I have no idea who most of them are. We need to be thankful for our simple lives and just live each day as it comes.

I do not understand “modern” art. What is this? I don’t understand. The text for this artist, Per Kirkeby, said something like: even if we don’t exactly understand what is going on, we feel at home in these works of art. I do not feel at home. My brain hurts after looking at this. Help!

Per Kirkeby

I really liked some of the statues. This one, The Paradise Lost by Jean Gautherin, her facial expression speaks volumes. He is very stoic. Because of the title, correct me if I’m wrong, I like to think this is Adam and Eve. He has such a great head of hair and a good beard, this is how I’m going to picture Adam in the future.

The Paradise Lost

It’s a very lovely museum. Good information in English, close to the central train station. I highly recommend if you are in Copenhagen.

Krista at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Kick-Off Fest

•October 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

Our UngaVuxna group had its Fall Kick-Off Party, this past Saturday. We had a great turnout, 55 people! We continue to attract students and working people and people who attend different churches. It really is a great way to get to know other young adults in Malmö.

Here are some photos from the evening:

UngaVuxna Fest

After dinner, we split up into teams to play some games.

UngaVuxna Fest

In this game, you had to figure out how to protect an egg with only straws and rubber bands.

UngaVuxna Fest

Each team came up with a very unique solution.

UngaVuxna Fest

Then it was time to drop the egg. This team’s egg did not survive the fall. The poor thing smashed.

UngaVuxna Fest

I think this one survived the fall.

UngaVuxna Fest

In the next game, each team selected an artist to create a secret animal out of modeling clay.

UngaVuxna Fest

The artists were given a short amount of time to create their animal.

UngaVuxna Fest

Can you guess what this is?

UngaVuxna Fest

Then their team had to come up and try to guess which animal they had created.