serenity + insanity

december has arrived, and so far it has brought me a big mixture of serene, cozy, quiet moments + crazy, stressful, frustrating moments. i hope that it won’t be such a big roller coaster month then entire time, but, if it is, then i’ll survive. i am certain that it is because no one should “plan” to make a big move to another country in the middle of a holiday season – craaaaazy. of course, we actually didn’t plan it this way. it just happened. and, also, of course, i am also certain that it is exactly the right timing to make this big life change. so, while i wish that the big mix of crazy and serene would even itself out a little bit, i have to admit that life is definitely not boring right now. hehe.

those calm and serene moments that help to balance out my serenity have been absolutely beautiful, and i just wanted to share with you some of them that i have captured with my phone over the past three days.

so get ready to take a little pause. breathe deep. and just let the solitude and serenity take over – reminding you that, even in the middle of a bunch of stress, there is always a moment of peace very close by. i believe that all we have to do is be aware…

xmas tree christmas coffee

december sky

basilica church chapel lights

coffee

funkatorium asheville beer

lights home christmas

pink sunrise

beer with my brother highland

light + peace to you, dear friends. xoxo

where the magic happens

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i cannot begin to describe to you how beautiful it is right now. i’m on my balcony and the sun is setting. it’s almost 75 degrees (24 celsius) and it’s after 8 pm. the sky goes from shades of dark blue in the east to pink in the west. there is not one cloud. i’ve got a glass of wine by my side, in my favorite deep blue wine glass. our little twinkling lights are on, wrapped around the balcony door, giving off a festive, warm glow. just below me, sits one couple enjoying their steak and wine at a bistro table, and another couple prepares their dinner on the grill. the fire in the fire pit is glowing where a few people have gathered to chat. others walk past, saying hi, as they take an evening stroll. it’s simply magical.

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this is how i am silently, peacefully, and quietly celebrating my three year blog anniversary. and it feels just perfect.

when i woke this morning, i wanted to do a big, celebratory post. maybe a contest, maybe something super inspirational. but, as the day progressed, i found myself involved in other things, other responsibilities, and i could’t seem to find to time to think about the blog, much less prepare a post.

until, right now. and then, i just knew that this quiet, solitary (how else would it really be in the blog world, though? in reality, we are all blogging alone, aren’t we) moment was the perfect time to just celebrate this day, this passing of time.

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so, i suppose that instead of having some grand look back over the past three years (you and i can do that by looking through my archives any day) and writing a summary, or instead of looking forward and making goals, promises, or challenges, i realized that the greatest celebration that i can give myself and share with you is the celebration of right now. to just be and breathe and give thanks and feel life coursing through my veins.

of course, i am grateful for what this blog has meant to me, how it has saved my life and changed my entire way of being, loving, and living. and i am curious, so curious, as to what lies ahead for me and for belovelive… will it touch and inspire people, making them laugh and cry and feel alive? will it become a book? will it become a money-making blog that allows me to write and live? but those are all what ifs… and not appropriate for living in the present moment.

what is important is where i am right now. who i am right now. this glorious present moment. and i give thanks for it. i understand from deep within my soul how blessed and amazingly lucky i am.

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tonight, dear blog, i celebrate you. and i celebrate how you have made me feel alive – how the words and images that i have created have empowered me to feel completely alive and happy and at peace.

yes, this day, this moment is magical. so, as i take a sip of wine, touch my hand to my heart, listen to the voices of my neighbors, hear the first crickets of the season chirping, look up to see the first star twinkling right above me, and breathe in all of life, i celebrate. and i give thanks.

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tonight, this is where the magic happens.

love & peace. xx

contemplation and adventure. that’s how i roll.

computer in my lap. blanket covering my legs, with my toes peeking out (’cause my feet always get hot). a single candle burning on the kitchen island emitting a cinnamon-y autumn smell and a soft glow. rain pouring down outside. cloudy morning darkness. a cup of coffee, of course. and a cozy, autumn playlist perfect for the mood.

i am basking in this first day of my 39th year. a year that i believe will be marked by contemplation and love and adventure. last year my love gave me my moleskin journal, some colorful pens, a funky, amazing camera strap. and what did i do with those gifts? i spent the year taking photos, writing, and coming the the conclusion, the complete understanding, of what my dreams truly are. and i used those gifts she gave me to chronicle a very important, transitional ,and amazing year – filled with deep heartache and extreme joy. excitement, confusion, fear, and amazement. a year that ultimately ended in experiencing dreams coming true.

yesterday, my love gave me mala beads (buddhist meditation beads), a gift card to a bookstore, fingerless gloves, and a tent with the a special note attached. last year, lina’s gifts to me were like a prophecy of my year. they were perfect. and so, i believe that this year’s gifts are the same. hence, my understanding of this next year to be one filled with contemplation and love and adventure.

it was a quiet, simple, and very meaningful birthday. and it was perfect.

SWEET MESSAGES FROM MY PARENTS.

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AN INSTAGRAM CHECK WHEN I WOKE UP… AND THIS IS WHAT I RECEIVED. WHAT A FUN AND AWESOME MESSAGE FROM MY SWEET AUSTRALIAN FRIEND, ASH!

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AND TO START MY MORNING OFF RIGHT, I TURNED ON THIS SONG. SNUGGLED UNDER THE COVERS. AND LET IT ALL SOAK IN… NOW I’M READY TO CELEBRATE!

MY LOVE CAME IN SINGING AND  BROUGHT ME BREAKFAST IN BED, FOLLOWING THE TRADITIONAL SWEDISH WAS WE USUALLY CELEBRATE BIRTHDAYS. SOON AFTER, I HAD A MAJOR HOMESICK MOMENT FOR SWEDEN. CRAZY, HUH?

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TIME FOR PRESENTS!!

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LOOKY WHAT I GOT! MEDITATION BEADS, GLOVES, A GIFT CARD TO FEED MY BOOK NEEDS, AND A TENT!! WHO’S UP FOR A ROAD TRIP?!

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LET THE BIRTHDAY FIKA COMMENCE! SUNNY DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE.

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AFTER AN AFTERNOON OF WRITING, PLANNING, NAPPING, AND SITTING – ALL ON MY BALCONY, MY LOVE & MY BROTHER TOOK ME OUT TO DINNER. MY ONLY STIPULATION WAS THAT I WANTED TO BE OUTSIDE. AND THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH CAROLINA MOUNTAINS DID NOT DISAPPOINT. THESE WERE MY FAVORITE COLORS YESTERDAY.

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YEP. 39 FEELS PRETTY AMAZING. AND I FEEL OVERWHELMINGLY BLESSED.

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One comes of it, love it, love it
Let go of it, love comes from it
We’re not of this world for long
Faith and promise keep me honest
When starvation falls upon us
Daylight told me here I’d be
Gone with cold words spoke among hers
Wretched in the tongue of their world
We’re not of that world at all, we will never be
Wouldnt it be fine to stand
Behind the words we say
In the best of times
Oh, and you and I know all too well
About the hell and paradise
Right here on earth
Keep it, use it, build it, move it
Flames cant touch how time will prove it
Watch us fly as loud as we can
Let her heartbeat change what I am now
Wouldnt it be fine to stand
Behind the words we say
In the best of times
Oh, and you and I know all too well
About the hell and paradise
Right here on earth
– Avett Brothers 

now, it’s time to get started on my 52 to 40! peace and love.

don’t let them slip away.

i love dreamcatchers. i don’t have one, but as soon as i am back in north carolina, i’m headed to the native american indian reservation about 30 minutes from my parents’ home and get one.

the thing about dreamcatchers is that they give me hope. they motivate me. usually you hang one over your bed, and the idea is to catch all the good dreams, and let the bad ones pass right on through. it’s the idea of holding on to what’s good that’s meaningful to me. gathering all of the good dreams up in the beautiful dreamcatcher, and just letting them be there until they come true.

think of your dreams. the biggest ones you have. what are they? what do you dream about doing or being most? what do you want? what brings you joy & passion? now, imagine all of these beautiful, wonderful dreams caught up in your dreamcatcher… a safe place for them to stay, while you work on making them reality. and then, when you do, more dreams come & take the place of the old ones.

i love the idea, the image, of a dreamcatcher. holding all that is important to me, not letting my dreams slip away, and reminding me that dreams do come true.

thursday night i went to a cd release party for a dear friend & his group, blackbyrd. after much hard work, long hours, uncertainty, and inspiration, their new cd was competed, and tonight was the night to celebrate. woo hop. it was my first cd release party, and it did not disappoint. with my love by my side, and amazing & funny friends to enjoy the night with, i sat back, sipped some wine, and let the music fill me. blackbyrd’s music is the perfect calming breath that you need at the end of the day. i can just be & just soak in the music, the instruments, the lyrics, as i listen.

i am inspired by my friend, and his desire to chase his dreams. to keep working hard, to keep following his heart, living his passion, and sharing his talent with those of us fortunate to hear him. he is a dreamer, a believer, and dedicated to seeing his passion lived out. and he’s got all his dreams safe & sound in his dreamcatcher.

i have dreams too, you know. i dream of writing & taking photos full-time. of sitting at my desk, with an inspiration board in front of me, filled with colorful, beautiful words & images, sipping on coffee & tea, and writing all day long. i dream of using photos that i take in the books that i publish. of traveling to far away places, reflecting on those travels, and sharing my thoughts & experiences & photos with the world.

i have put that dream in my little imaginary dreamcatcher. it’s sitting there, safe & sound.

and i’m working on it. trying to write when i can. and trying to find ways to incorporate photography & writing into my daily life. and while i have a way to go to reach the dream i described above, i think i’m actually on my way.

thanks to my dear friend and his band/group, blackbyrd, i’ve had 3 photographs in 3 different local papers. and now…. i am honored & humbled to say that my photo is the cover of blackbyrd’s new cd (pictured above)! yep. the raindrops are a photo i snapped one morning earlier this fall one from my kitchen window. i am so overwhelmed & overjoyed that they wanted to use my photo on their cd! it feels quite amazing.

all this to say, we all have dreams. and, i encourage, challenge, and support you in following yours. whatever your dreams are, don’t give up. fight for them. keep fighting. and imagine that they are there, safe in your dreamcatcher, simply waiting for you to make them come true.

whatever you do today, whatever you face… find one moment to do something that you deeply love doing or being. follow your heart. feel your passion. believe in yourself. and make your dreams come true!

peace & love.

i can feel it in the air.

it’s unusually warm today. like 20/21 celsius or 72ish fahrenheit. and really weird out. sunny, stormy, damp, rainy, humid. like something’s coming. like a change is gonna come. but, i guess changes actually are coming, aren’t they?

it feels like today is the last day of warm weather. i can feel it in my bones. today’s warmth is the last hurrah, the last day to walk without a jacket. after this, fall is settling in. for good. here in sweden, we’ve been seeing & feeling the beginnings of the changes. the wind has turned chilly, and the nights have been down right cold sometimes. the skies have been deep blue, and the tips of the leaves are beginning their colorful changes. not much, but just a tiny bit – like they’ve been dipped into paint. and, of course, the days of light are fading into darkness.

and i am so ready for this change. i absolutely love this season. true, the days are noticeably shorter. gone is the season where there is never a need to turn on a light at home. gone are the sunsets at midnight. now, the lights come on about 6:30 or 7 pm. now, the afternoon sun casts its long shadows before dinnertime. still, i am ready.

ready to buy candles. ready to pull out my blankets & curl up every night under them. ready to make hot chocolate. ready to hunt for pumpkins. ready for gloves, scarves, & boots. and ready to begin to gather my thoughts and prepare for the long season of swedish hibernation. cozy, cozy nights of peace & quiet. a time where life speeds back up in some ways (back to work & all that), and yet slows down at the same time. at least for me. i may be busy, but i slow my pace. i relax in the light of warm candles glowing. i smile as i stroll through the crunchy leaves, counting how many different colors & shades of red, golden, orange, & brown i see. in september, i begin my season of nesting.

and today, although it was warm outside, my love & i have left our  little apartment on the 4th floor and walked the few blocks downtown, to celebrate this changing of the seasons in one of our favorite cafes. computers in our bags, creativity on our brains, and chai latte steaming on our table… we are ushering in the season of fall for 2012.

so, go ahead… grab a blanket, make some tea & coffee, and light a candle. it’s time to get cozy.

wishing you comfy fall days ahead. peace.

ending july on a good note.

it’s the end of july and another month of photos are done! and yes, i’m up for another challenge tomorrow. but first, here are the last three pics for this month:

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hope your tuesday night is beautiful! mine’s been filled with tacos, a girl’s night of music, and now a showing of “rent”!!

see ya in august! peace.