don’t postpone joy

IMG_9259

i’ve heard this phrase before. i’ve even seen lots of bumper stickers on cars in front of me at the stoplight to remind me to not postpone joy. at one point in my life, i had someone tell me that “no one can steal my joy”. it was a powerful message to me at that time – as i was just starting out in the real world after graduating from college. the word, “joy”, took center stage again in my life some years later. i think it was something i read in the bible actually… “consider it all joy” – good times, bad times, and every time in between. i spent a lot of time pondering what that meant and if it was possible.

for me, after many years of contemplating all things joy-related, “consider it all joy” and “don’t postpone joy” have become simply a choice of attitude. will we be grateful in all moments of our life? will we be willing to find beauty, even in the midst of pain; and celebrate happiness, in our moments of bliss? it’s a conscious decision to not postpone joy, but to live in it moment by moment. and, if we do decide to live in the midst of joy, to let joy in and to let it take over, then our lives will be transformed. everything will be brighter. the present moment will be more beautiful. and our awareness will be heightened.

IMG_9259

yesterday i went to yoga with my love – it was her first yoga class!! as we were doing some insane breathing, holding legs in the air yoga pose, our teacher began telling us about a conversation she’d recently had with someone who asked her about her purpose in life. she went on to tell us that she responded that her purpose in life is to align her life with her true self – in other words, to seek that peace within that comes with living an authentic life, of being true to who you are.

yoga is one of those things that does that for me. it allows me to slow down, to breathe, to challenge myself, to commit to the pose, to work through the pain, to push myself, to listen to my body and my soul, to be at one with myself and the divine that moves within me. it’s like connecting to all of the joy that flows within and around me.

and, while that may seem selfish – to spend time connecting to that source within me.  turning inward, i will argue again and again,  allows me to find peace and joy within, which, in turn, allows me to spread more peace and joy into the world.

if you’ve read my blog before, then you know that i do photo journeys as a way to tap into that joy. this month’s photo journey is a real challenge – it’s all about learning to love yourself, honoring and being true to yourself. so, every photo this month is supposed to be a selfie. tough stuff. 28 days of my mug. usch.

but, i, and quite a few others, are trudging through… posting photos of ourselves every day in order to tap into that joy that we so desperately desire. and i truly believe that finding and accepting that joy within ourselves will then allow us to share peace, light, and love with the world. and i sincerely hope that the challenge of seeing and loving ourselves as we are, will enable us to create and feel more joy than we could ever imagine. i hope that we will be able to see that joy and hope and love can seep into every single bit of our being.

IMG_9258 IMG_9257

it’s a simple choice, my friends. will we live life to the fullest, or not? will we always be wishing to look better, be better, feel better? will we always be wishing to go here, or do that? will we be waiting breathlessly for the future, hoping that one day we will be happy with whatever it is that we think will make us happy? or will we choose to see the happiness and joy that are a part of this very present moment?

we don’t have to postpone joy. it’s right here with us right now. we just have to slow down long enough to take in a deep breath of joy – to be aware of that one thing in a present moment that is beautiful and amazing. there’s always something. i promise.

let’s stop waiting for joy to come to us. let’s stop saying “….. and then i’ll be happy.” let’s choose joy right now. right here. and then, let’s find someone to share it with.

peace and love. and joy. xx

orange is the new black.

IMG_4363

have you heard of that netflix series yet? that’s the name of it: orange is the new black. and  it is abso-freakin-lutely awesome. my love and i got seriously stuck and watched the first season in a fairly short amount of time. we have now moved onto other series while we wait for season 2 to be finished. i hope you have netflix. and i hope that you have OITNB on it. it’s a series made exclusively for netflix. anyway, if you can, check it out. so amazing.

this post isn’t actually about the series, but the title worked well for what i’m going to share with y”all – a bunch of photos that i had flagged to do in this post which i soon realized, as i looked at them in their folder in iPhoto, all had an orange, warm glow to them. so, there ya go. the story behind the title. plus a tip for an awesome tv series. you’re welcome.

now, in celebration of the fist week of fall, my birthday, and just life in general, here are some photos from the past week. they make me happy. and they are quite meaningful captures of fabulous, cozy, fun, super moments from an incredible week…

IMG_4114

i spent last sunday morning wrapped up in a blanket, reading a magazine, sipping coffee. near perfection.IMG_4121
then, i headed out for a birthday brunch with my parents & bro & wifey. deliciousness + family = happy liz.IMG_4186
the trees are turning! the trees are turning!IMG_4215
my pal ash, challenged me to show my day in nine shots last monday… so here it is. it was a good day. really good. and birthday eve!IMG_4228
basking in my birthday morning, all natural glow. and soooo excited about the mala meditation beads my love got me. i was speechless and filled with joy!IMG_4230
zola got in on some empty box action. cutiepatootie.IMG_4279
dinner with my brother and my love was out of this world. the food was good, but more than that was the company and conversation. it was a pretty damn near perfect evening that left my heart filled with laugher and love. IMG_4289
wednesday lunch was with my parents, and even though it was a rainy, dreary day, it was cozy and good to just sit with them and enjoy a little bit of time together. and eat tomato soup. comfort and coziness.IMG_4294
i drove around in the rainy, misty beautifulness of the mountains for a little while. ahhh…IMG_4297
a few halloween decorations for our door. the holiday craziness begins now. yes!IMG_4300
pumpkins at the grocery store. gotta get some more!IMG_4328
i saw this amazingness in a parking lot on thursday. all i could think was: road. trip. out. west. now. IMG_4334
dinner silliness with my bro again. we love us some eatin’ out.IMG_4336
and it continued… with my two most favorite people in the whole world. i am a lucky girl.IMG_4346
autumn colors on a sunny, warm, gorgeous friday.IMG_4355
this amazing woman, the love of my life, my wife did something… on friday evening, while i was in my pj’s sipping on a beer on the balcony with my brother, there was a knock on the door. lina told me to go get it… i opened it and it was my awesome friend (former youth member), julia. she doesn’t live in asheville, so i was so freaking confused! a few minutes later, there was another knock… still in my pj’s (i’d been planning or assuming we were having a quiet night at home) and jessica was there! she came in and then 5 more people came in after her. surprise to me!! everyone was in on it, and we were going out to eat to celebrate my birthday! AMAZING! IMG_4374
here we are… minus a couple, enjoying mexican. and yes, they did sing to me some spanish song and put a sombrero on my head and put ice cream all over my face. it was super fun!IMG_4357
julia, lina, and i then headed downtown for some nightlife. we ended up at a new bar, a speakeasy actually, that literally just opened that night. we had cocktails and little bites of food to eat. the food we got out of an old post office bix. they gave us a key and we went on our own to get the food. crazy. IMG_4362
it was dark, cozy, relaxing, and so much fun.IMG_4363
i had the hemingway martini. and i loved it.
IMG_4366the rest of the weekend i have not left the apartment. it has been cozy, relaxing, and really great. i think i’ve needed to soak up all the amazingness of the past week. i’ve also slept some, written some, listened to my fall playlist, and gotten myself addicted to breaking bad – and yes, i am behind the rest of the world with that series since it ends tonight. but, i’ll just get to enjoy it longer.

ok. now i’m ready for a new week… a week were i actually have some work to do! i’ve got to write an article, plan the belovelive photo journey for october, meet some new blogging contacts, and of course, fika! then, it’s off tothe beach for about 5 days next weekend since it’s lina’s fall break. feels like it’s gonna be another good week.

i don’t even know what to saw about how awesome september has been.

peace and love and warmth to each of you.

the day i decided to just go for it.

IMG_3846

it’s my brother’s fault. he got all inspiring on me last week and mentioned why didn’t i just look for a space on craigslist? he knew that there were places available for pretty cheap, right in the middle of everything. and he said that it’s be a place dedicated for me to work on writing and perhaps even mentoring/counseling at some point. i took him seriously, but didn’t really think about it… until thursday night.

i have no idea why, but i found myself on craigslist searching for downtown asheville office spaces for rent. never in my wildest dreams would i come upon one that said this:

“Flat Iron Office Spaces for Rent. Small, fully furnished, ideal for a counseling practice and/or one person who needs to meet with clients, work on the computer/phone, etc. Could also be arranged to accommodate a massage therapist. Sofa, desk, cabinet, rug, etc. All of the basics are in there, but not many personal touches… YOU ARE WELCOME TO ADD YOUR OWN. I only need this office on Mondays, so you’re welcome to it the other six days of the week.”

IMG_3875the flat iron building is a very famous, historic building built in the early 19020s in the heart of downtown asheville. the building is in the shape of an iron (hence the name!), and just outside the building is a sculpture of an iron – an unspoken gathering place for local musicians. there is pretty much never a moment when there is not someone playing some instrument of another. the building’s architecture is amazing, with the bottom floors filled with shops & cafes, and the other 7 floors rented out as business spaces – web design companies, counselors, massage therapists, a rooftop bar, health care, lawyers. it’s a dream to have an office in one of these historic downtown buildings.

50914e881f1b11e3ab9622000a9f1423_7

to think about having my own office in this building blew me the freak away. and it seemed so possible because it was so cheap. or was i just crazy? well, before i knew it, my fingers were dialing the number in the ad. i couldn’t believe i was doing this! i had to leave a message, and then i didn’t think about it again… until morning.

for some reason, as i was checking email and such on friday morning, i decided to look on craigslist again. and, again, this ad popped up. again, i found myself dialing the number, this time to hear the voice of a sweet man answer the call. we chatted for a moment and then he asked me when i could meet him. on the same day. so, i set up a time, took lina to school, and then drove to the world coffee cafe (my latest fika experience) to meet up with perry, a nice, bubbly, friendly man.

he whisked me away after greeting me and we headed into the historic building, taking the elevator to the 5th floor. directly in front of us, when the elevator man (yes, there is a man that works the elevator full time!) slid open the doors, was room 516.

DSC_1008

IMG_3846

perry put the key in, pushed open the door, and in front of me was a little, fairly sparsely furnished office. a sofa. a desk. a chair. a bookcase. and a window. though there wasn’t much to it, it felt good. it had good vibes & energy. and the colors were warm and inviting. could i actually rent this space and write here?! IMG_3862 IMG_3864 IMG_3863

perry and i chatted, and i could tell that i was already approved to be the sub-let tenant of this office space. the lady who rents it had written me a letter letting me know that i could do whatever i needed/wanted to with the space. and, it was true, she only needed it on mondays. wow. and it was dirt cheap. have i said that before?

we headed outside on to the fire escape and upstairs. there are tables & chairs for relaxing on the fire escape… and on the top, there is a bar. it’s crazy awesome. of course, with the rental of the office, i would have access to all of this, all the time. my little secret hideaway. in nature and yet, in the city. oh my gosh, and the views were indescribable.

i told perry that i’d be in touch after the weekend. i needed time. time to not think i was crazy. and time to do the budget. even if was dirt cheap, i felt the need to go through all the finances. he was fine with that and told me i could call whenever. of course i wanted it, but… there’s always that damn “but”.

IMG_3852

d893fbd01f1811e385ac22000a1faf5e_7 b215993c1f1811e3a03b22000a1f92d6_7 38592be41f1911e39c3022000a1fb14d_7

i woke up this morning, not having thought about it much during the weekend, feeling stressed. i was frightened of what others would think about this decision of mine. god, when will i ever stop feeling that way? this is one of my demons. ugh. but, when i took some time, closed my eyes, breathed really deeply, then i knew. i knew i had to do this. crazy or not. this opportunity presented itself to me, or i stumbled upon it, or the universe brought it to me, whatever… and i could not just ignore it. i could not turn my back on this chance to seize the day and follow my dreams. this chance to take a step further into becoming that published writer i want to be. i knew it was right.

so, i called perry this morning. and an hour later, i was meeting my new office partner so she could give me my keys. and, by the way, she and i clicked. like big time.

DSC_0993

so, there it is. right up there. i am overwhelmed and excited and scared. i cannot believe that i have my own office to retreat to in the middle of downtown! now, let’s see what opportunities come my way next… ( i have a meeting/interview at website company on thursday to perhaps be a contributing writer for their asheville website) but, before i get ahead of myself, tonight, i am just slowing down a bit, being thankful for the possibilities that are out there. for the people i keep meeting. for the dreams that are coming real, one little step at a time.

the thing is, all we have to do is listen. just be still and listen. listen to that inner voice, feel that inner light. all we have to do is be authentic to who we are. all we have to do is simply be. the answers will come. the opportunities will present themselves. and we will know what to do. and whatever plan you have figured out for yourself, let it go… because the universe, or God, or whatever will have an even better one waiting in the wings. allow yourself to be transformed. allow yourself the joy of creating dreams and chasing them to the ends of the earth. keep dreaming. keep chasing. and, when you reach one, dream an even bigger one. because, you, are amazing. and you deserve all of the happiness and joy and, most importantly, inner peace that exists.

i just want to thank all of you, you who read this blog, for your encouragement, support, words of wisdom & inspiration. i am truly blessed. and grateful. you guys are simply the best! you are my inspirations, along with my wife, who is my true inspiration – the strongest, most amazing woman who kicked ass to get her life back and follow her dreams. one year ago, i would have never imagined that we’d be where we are, doing what we do. but, here we are. and life is amazing. but, we didn’t quit. we didn’t give up. and most of all, we envisioned and believed… in ourselves and in each other.

8766571c15e4772ce560548a43be2444

now, i want you to do the same. and don’t be shy. stop by the flat iron building and come on up to see me so we can chat and fika together.

peace, love, & dreams.