Friday, May 28, 2021

Spring has Sprung in Sweden

Long days and short nights.  Warm weather.  Rain.  Beautiful sunshine.  Gorgeous flowering foliage.  Fun missionaries.  Lots happening right now.  The pictures below show everything from broken windshields to videos of ants, snakes, slugs, snails, and temples.  

But first, a recent missionary experience . . . Josephine, a Swedish woman had a dream of visiting a beautiful building with her deceased grandmother and wondered what it meant.  The missionaries found her and began teaching her about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, and in their teaching they showed her a video of the Rome Italy temple.  The woman was astounded -- the temple was the building in her dream.  She continued studying the gospel and recently joined the church.  She was thrilled to learn that because of temple ordinances, families can be together forever.  I've put a link to a video of the Rome Temple at the end of this post.  It really is a magnificent building.  LeRon and I, along with our Catholic friend from home, Zorka, were able to tour it before it was dedicated in 2019.  There is also a temple here in Sweden, about an hour's drive from where we live.

Now for the pictures.  Be sure to click to enlarge.

Look at this pile of chipped windshields!  In the winter, Sweden lays down lots of small rock chips on its sidewalks and roads to help with the slippery conditions.  After all, there is no shortage of rock here!  (In Canada we use sand on the roads but not on the sidewalks.)  The rock chips really do help -- for driving as well as for walking.  But we think the windshield companies are in cahoots with the companies that put down the rock chips.  They are making a pile of money replacing chipped and cracked windshields!

I have been captivated for a long time by this crying boy sculpture.  I have now seen him with a covid mask, woollen scarves and warm toques (rhymes with spooks for us Canadians).  I have wanted to put my arms around him and comfort him and I always wondered what the story was.  Well I have finally learned the history behind Gzim och den frusna sjön or Gzim and the Frozen Lake.  You can see his pack of meager belongings on the ground beside the bench.

Someone has put a spring sprig in his hands this time.  But why is he crying?  Modern artist, Knutte Wester, had an art studio in a refugee camp in Boliden, which is further north in Sweden.  He met a young boy who had fled Kosovo with his family during the war of 1998-1999.  The boy was happy to be in Sweden and had dreams of making something of his life.  But . . . the family was soon to be sent back to Kosovo.  As the boy talked with the artist on the shore of a frozen lake, he burst into tears at the thought of leaving.  The artist said that just as the lake was frozen, the boy's dreams were frozen.  So sad.

Another rainy day and this time the spring sprig is gone and the boy is wearing a warm toque.  Apparently Swedish grandmothers keep him regularly warm with a variety of toques and scarves.  The artist said that, " . . . by the time the sculpture took shape, the boy had moved on in life.  But now there were other people, other benches, and other lakes that froze to ice. ”  So hard to see children suffering.  Someday all that is wrong will be made right.

Under that flowering tree is a sea of . . . dandelions!  It's not illegal to spray but no one does.  Dandelions are everywhere and they are very pretty . . . until they go to seed and then they are quite ugly.

So excited to see flowering Schubert Cherries!  We caught a delicious smell and sure enough, there were the cherry trees.  Made us homesick.  We have a few Schubert cherry trees in our yard and they are gorgeous covered in white blossoms.

Popcorn popping on the apricot tree!  So many flowering trees.  The smells are heavenly.
This is a map of the forest we walk in regularly.  Not sure what's going to happen when it's hunting season.  A fellow we met on the trail says that people hunt in this forest.  "When people walk here?" we asked.  "Oh yes," he said, "but not to worry.  We (the hunters) always wear bright orange clothing."  LeRon said, "But what about the walkers?"  He said that they put up signs when they hunt to make walkers aware.  Oh my.  The signs will be in Swedish too!

This tree looks like it's going to walk away.  There really are walking trees, but they don't live here.

Not sure what day this was, but it was the first time we didn't need jackets!  Yeah.  Spring is here!

Huge ant hill!!  See below for a video of the ants.  And below that is a video of a snake!  I first thought it was a very long worm.  But no . . . it was a snake crossing our path!

I have spiffied up my office.  Always nice to have plants, even if they are fake.  And I moved this picture of Jesus so it can be seen when we walk into our office.

Sunday night evenings with the missionaries are the BEST!  Even if we aren't finished until nearly 11 p.m.!  Makes for a late night but it is a highlight of the week.

Crazy hat night!  Even LeRon has joined in with his Tilly hat.  Back L-R: Elder Äldste Scott (my 3rd cousin), Äldste Austin (shirt-tale relative -- he descends from Thomas E. Ricks as does LeRon), Äldste Spellacy.  Front L-R: Äldste Wrangell (from Finland), Äldste Nordgren (who reminds us of Kevin & Peggy Torrie's kids), Äldste Rönndahl (from Sweden).  Äldste Torrie on right.
We even had a jug band that night!  Äldste Rönndahl on the bucket bass that Äldste Torrie made.  Äldste Scott on the guitar.  Äldste Austin on the banjo. Äldste Spellacy on the ukulele. And of course Äldste Torrie on the keyboard.  What fun.  See the video below.

Love the red with the white trim.  So pretty with the greenery.

Climbing wall built into the bedrock.  Fun to have that in your backyard, eh?

Love this tree!

Heavenly smells from these Schubert cherry trees.  Elephant ears below the trees.  They grow big here in Sweden.

The senior missionaries went on a tour of Gamla Stan (the old town).  Our guide was an immigrant from Croatia.  He was surprised to learn that we have been to Zagreb where he is from.  We told him we had a good Croatian friend, Zorka.  Fun to talk with him.  His English was excellent.  He's pointing out a Viking rune stone that was built into this very old building as part of its construction.  Now it would be illegal to do that.  The canon barrel was placed here to protect the corner of the building from horse-drawn vehicles smashing into it as they careened down the hill.

Love this play area for kids!!  How fun to have an old tractor to play on!

The artist, Carl Larsson, was born and raised in this house in Gamla Stan.  He lived in poverty with an abusive father.  It was not a happy place for him.  Read more about him in my previous post called A Tale of Two Museums.

Here are the seniors of the Sweden Stockholm Mission.  L-R: Elder & Syster Wilhite, Syster & Elder Cowgur, Syster & Elder Torrie, President & Syster Davis (who are really NOT seniors!), new arrivals Elder & Syster Lake, Elder & Syster Moleff, Elder & Syster Johnson.

The smallest street in Gamla Stan!

Just missing one of the senior sisters.  She was off looking at things and didn't get in the picture.  I (in the sunglasses) am the oldest of all of them! And Syster Davis (next to me with the pink jacket) is the youngest.  The rest are in between.  But . . . the missing Syster Moleff is older than me.  But then who's counting years anyway.

Äldste& Syster Torrie in Gamla Stan.

Love this painted mailbox.  Here's two sides so you can see the whole picture.

And here's the other side.

And the top with the cute baby owls.

European black slugs are . . . very interesting!  When they are young, they are white or yellow, and then they turn grey and then brown and eventually in adulthood they turn black.

Slugs everywhere on the paths in the forest.  In the fall, a slug can lay up to 150 eggs every 1-3 weeks.  Not all of them hatch (thank goodness) and after they do, they take 9 months to mature.  Since this one is brown instead of black, it probably hasn't reached maturity yet.

Darling snail!!  At least I think so.  But our son, Michael, doesn't think snails are very darling.  Michael tried to grow a small balcony garden one year in Provo, Utah, and one night, snails moved in and ate ALL of the plants.  He tried everything to get rid of the snails and was unsuccessful.  Goodbye garden.  

The flowering spirea in our yard is gorgeous!  Spring time is very beautiful here in Sweden.

Looking out my west window at 10:45 p.m. on May 28.  You can still see the glow from the sunset.

Above is a video about the Rome Italy Temple.  Two apostles of our church lead us on a virtual tour of the temple.  After a temple is dedicated, only qualified members can enter it, so this video is perfect to show those not of our faith what a temple is like inside.

Can't resist putting in some pictures from our visit to the Rome Temple before it was dedicated on March 10, 2019.

Colleen and Zorka at the Rome Temple in February 2019.

Danish sculptor, Bertel Thorvaldsen, sculpted the original Christus and the 12 Apostles in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Now a copy stands here in the visitor's center at the Rome temple.

Gorgeous stained glass window by Tom and Gayle Holdman of Provo, Utah is in the visitors center.  You can look at this artwork for a very long time.  It depicts many scenes from the life of Jesus.

Above is a very interesting 3-minute video about the original Christus and how it got to the Rome Italy Temple.  Well, I guess this is enough about the Rome Temple.  But honestly, it was so beautiful and inspiring and peaceful and almost beyond words.
The Stockholm Sweden temple is beautiful too but was built in a very different architectural style from the Rome Italy temple.  Each fits nicely into its landscape.  Each is dedicated to the worship of God and each teaches the same doctrine and provides the same ordinances, such as marriage for eternity and baptisms for those who have passed on.   

The following videos have been produced by the church so that others may know that even though our temple worship is sacred, it is not secret.  If you want to know what happens in our temples, listen to these 2-minute videos the church has produced to answer these questions.

1 comment:

  1. Love all the pictures and stories. Kids especially liked the videos of the snake and the snail!