ring out the old, ring in the new.

my view this morning in the beautiful north carolina mountains.
sunrise
“the goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe to match your nature with nature.” ~ joseph campbell

i have mixed emotions about 2012.

i’m usually a bit sad to see the end of the year come, like i’m losing  an old friend. but i must admit, i’m more than happy to let my  2012 chapter come to a close. and, while 2012 has given me some wonderful, amazing moments & experiences, there are many moments that i would rather not ever repeat. of course, i know that i would not be where i am, who i am, and ready for the new year, without having gone through all the moments of 2012. but, still, it’s time to move on. and i am so ready.

so, you see. mixed emotions.

yes, 2012 was a crazy balance of fear, pain, and suffering; and finding something new & strong within myself. it was a combination of soaking up  life like i’d never done before & being afraid of my love literally losing her life. it was a time of discovering my bliss and at the same time discovering the depths of despair.

but more than anything, 2012 was a year that taught me the art of truly living one day at a time. and i learned how to truly do that out of the sheer need for survival on some days and out of the joy of sheer bliss on other days.

looking back, it all makes sense now. of course, life is always like that, right? it works itself out, or at least clarifies itself as time progresses. and i love where i am now. do i want to go through it all again? hell no. not the pain & fear of losing my love. not the months spent alone in sweden. yet, because of all of that uncertainty, fear, homesickness, loneliness, and anger, i have grown as a person. i have defined myself even more. i have fallen in love with my love even more. and i have learned that one day at time, life reveals herself as a beautiful, strange, difficult, and amazing journey.

me

now, there are only a few hours left in 2012. a few hours to spend with my parents & my love. a few hours to countdown the last moments of this year, and celebrate the beginning of a new one. yes, it’s time to look forward.

as one person i met in 2012 said to me & my love… “there is only one way. framåt! forward!”

yes, i am thankful (i say that with a twinge and  squint in my eye, because it is true, but still it is hard to say) for everything that happened in 2012, to get me to this day. but, it’s time to close this chapter and move on.

and i love that there are tons of new adventures on the horizon. i love that my love is following her dreams. i love that there is so much travel in my future. i love that i have found my bliss, that which makes my soul dance. i love that i will be sharing all of these adventures with my love. i love that i have dreams that i am working to make reality.

2013 is about making it happen. it’s about grabbing life, living it up, chasing those dreams down, living my bliss, and having one adventure after another. it’s about changes & opportunities. and those changes and opportunities are so welcome.

so, farewell, 2012. you have been tough on me and beautiful for me all at the same time. thank you for your gift of teaching me even more about what it means to live in the present moment. i bid you goodbye, and your chapter comes to an end.

tomorrow, i begin again with a beautiful, blank page just waiting to be filled with words, photos, doodles, and adventures.

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

― Alfred Tennyson

wishing you all peace & love & celebrations as you say goodbye to 2012. i hope that your year has taught you, changed you, and transformed you. i pray that you can leave it behind with a sense of accomplishment and peace.

all my love to all of you.

flying solo in december.

well, there are only 2 days until december begins. who’s jumping for joy with me? yes, i am super duper excited, even though it is an usually stressful time of the year for most of us. however, this year, i don’t feel as stressed as before. hopefully that says a lot for lessons i’ve learned and wisdom i have acquired with age. ya gotta gain something as the years pass, right? anyway, the holiday season is upon us and 2012 is quickly coming to a close. if we let it, the days can slip right past us and we might miss of all of the little joys hidden in every day.

one way that i try to ease the speed of time, the craziness of life, and the tendency to just stumble from day to day is to try (not always successfully) to slow down and savor the little things in life.

 in 2012 i decided to take pictures. to photograph ordinary things. through this discipline of following a photo a day challenge, having a promt, and seeking out a way to capture that word with an image, i have approached life with new eyes. i have created my own art. i have found a voice through my camera. and it has been so inspiring. i’m so bad at keeping a discipline going, but this, i actually have accomplished. go me.

i stumbled onto fatmumslim‘s photo a day challenge in the end of february and i have accepted her monthly challenges all the way up through october – making it through the dry spells & the feeling energized by the inspiring moments. and believe me, there have been ups & downs, moments when i thought i just couldn’t, or shouldn’t, continue. but, i hung in there. in november, i found another inspiring woman seeking to focus on positivity and life, and i joined her gratitude photo challenge. i have thoroughly enjoyed these challenges, and i thank these two women for letting their creativity be my muse in 2012.

of course i will be taking part in a december photo a day challenge. without it, the year would feel incomplete. but for this month, i am doing something totally different…

i created my own list!!

yes, for the month of december, belovelive has it’s own photo a day challenge. it just felt right to challenge myself and to close this crazy year this way. i have had a ton of fun creating the list, and i pulled out all of my creativity energy to help me get it done.

the list does have a christmas/holiday twist to it, but it is inspired by deeper theological & spiritual themes as well. it is something that one can pay attention or not. there is an intention with almost all of the words; words & themes i pulled from the christian season of advent (the days leading up to christmas day) and words & themes i pulled from other world religions. for me, the december photo challenge will be a spiritual discipline. a way to slow down in this hurried season & remember what is most important: hope, love, joy, and peace. it is a month for me to use my photos to look outward at the world, and to go inward & reflect on my place in the world, and my calling to make a difference wherever i am.

of course, the challenge is something just for fun too! it need not be something so deep. the words are ordinary words & can be interpreted however by whomever. that’s the beauty of art: it’s in the eye of the beholder. and everyone is an artist.

so, hang with me throughout december! join in the photo fun. reflect on your life – where you have been, where you are now, & where you are going. slow down & savor the magic of the season. and enjoy creating your own art. or just snap pictures for fun! do it however you want, but i’d love for you to join in!

here’s how you do it!

  • save the photo challenge list somewhere and check it daily. or bookmark this page so you can check back often.
  1. you can right click & save the image from this page onto your desktop.
  2. follow me on instagram at @lizslens & save the image to your phome
  3. follow me on twitter @elre74 & save the image on your phone/desktop
  • let the word of the day inspire you and snap away! use your mobile phone, your smart phone, or your camera.
  • share your photo: upload it to instagram, Facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog. wherever.
  • if you are posting to twitter or instagram, use the hashtag #bllphotoaday.
  • the red days are the weekends. i just wanted to break up the days a little & make it a little more colorful. hehe.

and here’s a little more about the prompts, if you need a little inspiration to get started. of course, these are my thoughts. interpret them however you want. take whatever pictures you want.  just enjoy while you shoot! make it your challenge!

  1. red – snag a pic of something red. it’s the color of the season & dec. 1 is world aids day. so when you snap, think & remember!
  2. hope – today is the first sunday in the season of advent. the theme of the day is, you guessed it. hope. take a pic of something/someone that gives you hope, or something you hope for.
  3. waiting – what are you waiting for? advent is a season of waiting, it’s the days leading up to christmas. shoot a moment of waiting in your day. waiting in line, waiting for a person, waiting for food, waiting on an elevator…
  4. tree – snap a pic of a beautiful tree. inside or outside. there are tons to be seen this time of year!
  5. message – did you receive a message today? do you have a message for someone? if you could give a message to the world, what would it be? write a message or snap one you received or see somewhere when you’re out & about.
  6. rock – find some rocks, create some rocks, is there a person who has been a rock in your life? rocks are obstacles in our way many times. is there something standing in your way? keeping you from following your dreams & being your best self? be creative with your pic!
  7. table – a sofa table, a dinner table, a decorated table. any kind of table will do – a place where people gather together.
  8. stranger – sometimes strangers can be the most inspiring & amazing people. snap a shot of someone who crosses your path today.
  9. love – it’s the second sunday in advent. today we focus on love. love that overcomes all obstacles, that loves everyone exactly as they are. love that has no borders. who do you love? how can you capture a picture of love? what is a symbol of love for you?
  10. candles – shoot some beautiful candles in your home, in a store, on a menorah, or wherever you find them. and remember that people of the jewish faith begin hanukkah today.
  11. daily news – what’s happening in the world or in your neighborhood today? sometimes we get so wrapped up in ourselves, we forget to look at our neighbors & see what is happening to them. today, take a photo of a current event, something happening, the newspaper.
  12. lights – we love lights at christmas! snap away!
  13. ordinary – here’s your chance to create art. look at regular things with new eyes. snap a picture of something is ordinary, and yet beautiful.
  14. celebration – are you celebrating something today? if so, take a picture of it. if not, create a reason to celebrate. and shoot it!
  15. gifts – take a snapshot of a gift you have received, or one that you will give away. or gifts under your tree. or gifts in a window display. or gift wrappers.
  16. joy – today is the third sunday in advent. a day of joy! even though there is suffering, darkness, & bad news in our ordinary lives… today we choose to be joyful. we choose to find joy. what brings you joy? how can you capture a moment of joy?
  17. listening – what are you listening to? what do you hear? what are people saying? what sounds do you hear?
  18. old/new – get creative and take 2 pictures today. contrast something old with something new. perhaps a tradition, or people, or whatever!
  19. carols – snap a shot of your fave christmas/holiday/winter song. is it an oldie? or something new? or take a photo of people singing carols.
  20. simple – the season can be so hurried & rushed. find something that is simple, calming, & beautiful today a shoot it!
  21. cold – happy first day of winter & shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere)! take a pic of something cold… snow, ice, your hands, water…
  22. elephant – hindus don’t celebrate christmas, but they do recognize jesus & celebrate a festival of lights after christmas. it’s a time to begin again & heal all old mistakes. snap a photo of an elephant, or something that reminds you of a elephant in honor of new beginnings.
  23. peace – today is the 4th sunday in advent. shoot a pic of something that brings you peace, or a way you work for peace, or a symbol of peace. what is peace to you? how can you be a peacemaker?
  24. silent – christmas eve is here! a day of last minute rushing, the beginning of family craziness, and busy preparations. find a moment to breathe. is there any moment of silence & quiet in your day? snap a pic late at night, or early in the morning, or at church, or just being.
  25. family – merry christmas!! happy holidays!! share a picture of your family today, whether it’s a big family or a tiny family, and any & every kind of family in between. let’s wish each other a merry christmas… from one family to another.
  26. black – in the states, african americans celebrate the cultural holiday, kwanzaa beginning today. take a picture of something black in remembrance of the fight for justice for all people all over the world.
  27. meditation – buddhism is known for its focus on meditation & inner peace. though they don’t celebrate christmas, buddhists do celebrate the spirit of christmas… generosity, community, love, peace. click a photo of someone or something that you meditate on/about. or whatever inspires your deep thoughts.
  28. role model – muslims recognize jesus as a mentor, a teacher, a prophet & a role model. who represents those things in your life? take a photo of him/her!
  29. nature – when native, tribal people celebrate christmas or any other holiday/festival, they celebrate with all of creation. shoot a snapshot of a part of nature you see today.
  30. memories – make a collage or snap a photo or share an old photo. share a memory with us – one from today or an old one from the past 12 months.
  31. you – shoot a self-portrait to mark the last day of this year. and make a promise to yourself to follow your dreams in 2013! happy new year!

there ya go, people! my very first photo a day challenge. i hope you join me in snapping photos through the month, documenting the memories & moments of life during this amazing, magical (and even difficult) time of year. if you have any questions or comments, i’d love to hear from you!

until then, enjoy your last 2 days of november and get your cameras ready…

happy snapping, fellow artists & photographers. peace.

i pulled an all-nighter.

i’m still in shock. i’m amazed. excited. overwhelmed. and so. very. thankful. oh yeah, and tired. hehe.

i’m thankful that this is the dawning of a new america, as some news sites are putting it. an america that chose yesterday community spirit over individualistic greed. an american that yearns to be a country, a nation of individuals working together, each using his or her own gifts to create an even better american, an even better world. not a nation build and run as a business. cutting of those who are not needed or not seen as equals.

and for me personally, hopefully, this is the dawning of a new era in my life, where my home country will begin to make a movement to recognize my marriage, to allow me to have the same rights i once had when i was married to a man.last night was monumental for minority groups (which are becoming the majority). today i excitedly celebrate the marriage equality victories in 4 states, the victories of women & lesbians who have been voted into government, and the defeat of the men who sought reelection under the premiss that rape can be “legitimate” or “god-intended”.

once again, i have hope. hope that we are on the road to equality for immigrants, for women, for LGBT people, for children, for african americans & hispanic americans, for the poor, for the homeless and jobless. i have hope, that, as obama has said, when we make our way out, or our way to the top, we don’t just keep on going, but that we reach back and grab the hand of someone who needs our support, and bring them along with us. that, i believe, is what it means to be a citizen of the united states of america. that in our beautiful, wonderful, colorful diversity, we still find that it is our humanity that unites us. that because of our humanity… within many, we are one.

pic from here.
thank you, fellow americans, for voting. no matter who you voted for, or what you believe, today is a day we can begin anew. we can reach across the aisle, across the street, into another neighborhood, or even another country, and grab the hand of another. we can agree to disagree, and still find respect for each other.

this, my friends, is the american way. the global way, to create a world of peace, diversity, and understanding.

and today, i have renewed hope and renewed faith, that we can be the change. we are moving forward.

one more thing… woo hooooooooo!!!!

peace & hope.