making me all weepy.

Screen Shot 2014-02-09 at 4.55.12 PM 2

think of this post as a little celebration on a completely random day.

one year ago today, i wrote an important post (click here to read it). it may not have been important to anyone but me. but, nevermind that. it was one of those serendipitous days that occurs every so often when you just know that everything is right. when your soul is not whispering to you, but shouting with joy and you feel as if you might burst. a day when everything makes sense and life seems exactly as it should.

it was a very powerful day for me. a day where i realized that i was ready. ready to really chase my dreams. ready to accept and understand and move forward. ready to admit that i would never go back – i could never go back – to simply living my old, “regular” life, but i knew that it was time to embrace the calling and the feeling that i was meant to write. no matter what.

and while it made sense to me, how any of that would be possible, i had no idea. i knew that i was going to do it. i had no idea how, but i believed. lina and i were already committed to moving to asheville so that lina could follow her dreams, but this time last year, i embraced that this move meant that i would also be following my dream as well.

it was as if i gave myself permission to just jump. to take a leap of faith and risk it. and that’s what last year’s post was all about.

this week, Facebook turned 10 and they created little videos for users based on their photos and updates – things they had posted on Facebook since they first began using it. i joined Facebook in 2007, just a few weeks after meeting lina. and i actually joined so that lina and i could keep in touch. so, our entire relationship was based on a friendship started in sweden and developed through Facebook messages and webcam chats.

hug

when i clicked on my little one-minute video to see what Facebook had created for me, i was brought to tears by the photos and words that appeared before my eyes. it was a collection of beautiful moments from the very beginning of our relationship to now, in addition to some great highlights of my family and other amazing memories. i was so touched by my little video, and it brought to mind this incredible journey that i have been on throughout the past year. well, actually the past seven years…

so, i just had to share it with you. i wanted to share it as a way of honoring my life and reminding me of how overwhelmingly grateful i am. i wanted to share it with you to “prove” to you that you can make your dreams come true, that it is possible to live the life that you dream of and to find your passion. and i wanted to encourage you to never give up.

i hope that you, too, can look back over your life, whether it be 10 years or 10 days, and find things to celebrate as well. but, more than anything, i wish for you to feel hope and excitement and peace as you look forward.

click below to watch the video:

 peace & love. xx

learning to love yourself through a photo challenge.

february photo challenge 2014

 

 

february. the month of love. awww. and a new month for a new photo journey. woo hoo. now, i know that we all have mixed feelings about february and the holiday represented by flowers and chocolate and a little arrow-toting baby that creeps up on us every year. depending on our life’s circumstances, it can be the most beautiful, romantic day or the most heart-breaking, gut-wrenching day. for most of us, though, it’s probably somewhere in between the “high in the clouds” or “in the depths of hell” feelings.

well, this february, i’m being practical. i decided that, in the interest of learning to love others, we would focus on our selves. that’s right. i said it. this february it’s all about you. just to clarify, this is a strong belief that i have… the belief that we nurture our souls first, and then the love that we want to share with others, the ways that we want to make a difference in the world, will simply grow from our self love and self care. it makes sense, right? we have to learn to love and accept and appreciate ourselves before we can really put any true, real energy out there that is good for others.

so, for our february photo journey, we are gong to love ourselves. we are gonna combine selfies, body image, self-love, self-confidence, and acceptance all into one photo challenge.

and here’s how we’re gonna do it:

february photo challenge 2014

 now, i can hear your moans and groans from all the way over here. you don’t want to focus on yourself for 28 days. it’s embarrassing. it’s scary. it’s revealing.

it can be those things, yes. but, that’s why it’s called a photo challenge and a photo journey. because after challenging yourself to take this journey, there will be a transformation – or at least some lessons learned. so, while it is all of those things above, it is also these things: empowering. inspiring. freeing.

admittedly, we all have things that we don’t like about ourselves. things we wish we could physically change or are not satisfied with. and things we wish we could internally change. ways we want to grow. and we don’t want to capture these things in a photo, much less share them with the world through social media. and speaking of media – we get so many twisted, messed up, wrong messages about what it means to be beautiful. and we think we don’t measure up. we are scared to not be perfect. so, we do not want to take part in any photo challenges that focuses on ourselves for 28 whole days – putting all of our flaws and real-ness out there.

but, my friends, i say “let’s do it anyway!” let’s claim ourselves as the beloved, amazing, beautiful, unique people that we are. let’s show the world that we know that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, ages, and nationalities. and ultimately, beauty comes from within. how about it, my friends?let’s claim february 2014 as the month that we begin to learn to appreciate who we are – exactly as we are!

how to play:

the ways to participate are the same as always. but, if you’ve forgotten or if this is your first time participating, here are a few tips:
here’s a link to instagram so you can sign up & get started! click here to join in.

and if you want to become part of the bllphotoaday community, just follow me at @_belovelive_ on instagram. and use the hashtag #bllphotoaday when you post your IG photo. then, you’ll see everyone else’s photos too. and there are some amazing people taking part from all over the world. check ‘em out!

if you don’t have or don’t want instagram (which is totally fine!), then simply post your pics on facebook or on your blog. but, let me know, so i can follow along. i’ll do my best to spread the word that you are participating. however, the best way to create a photo journey community is actually on instagram. buuuuut, there is one more option… you can post your photos every day to belovelive’s facebook page! perhaps we can get that community growing as well! invite your FB friends to “like” belovelive’s page and then our community will spread even further & wider! think of all the inspiration! click here to go to belovelive’s page.

 are you in?! 

peace and love. xx

a little reminder from an old friend.

IMG_3209

48d9c6a1af585a82a0fb61d971c91132

i opened up my facebook feed a few minutes ago, and saw an amazing status update by a person that i admire greatly. jason was my theology professor and mentor when i was in seminary… challenging me, listening to me, and teaching me every day. i remember sitting in his classes and feeling as if all of these thoughts and beliefs that had always been inside me, finally had words to describe them. theology became my passion while i was studying, and i think it’s safe to say that practical theology is still a passion in my life. in seminary, under the theological influence and inspiration of jason, i came to understand myself as a contemplative theologian, drawn also to the mysticism of eastern christianity (and other religions as well).

now, years later, jason is my friend; and yet, still a mentor, even though we are the same age. he has been a very influential person who has been a real truth speaker in my life, never letting me settle for second best for myself. he has pushed me, believed in me, and been someone that i simply enjoy being around. he is an amazing theologian and author, and i have soaked up anything he has written that i have read. sadly, we have lived very far apart from each other, so we have not been able to keep in contact that much over the past few years.

when i read this update from him this morning, i was inspired as usual. but, even more than that, once again (as he did so many years before) his words seemed to express deeply my thoughts and feelings. i sent him a message and told him this (and let him know how much i missed chatting with him), only to end up finding out that he’d be in town next week. so, now, we have planned to catch up over a coffee or a beer.

i share his words with you now… because, while they speak to me directly, but that are applicable to us all. the message is so timely and perfect for me as i seek to accept my own path in life right now. jason, describes that search beautifully. so, read. and soak up this wisdom and beauty.

“About six months ago, I began a journey that I am still on. For years I had been walking a certain professional path. I knew what my goals were, where I was headed, how many miles I needed to make each day. Most of all, I had singleness of mind and purpose. I was intensely focused and therefore highly productive, that is, until the destination toward which I had been moving suddenly and dramatically lost its appeal. And so I left the path I had been on for so long and ventured out into the woods. Suddenly, there was no path and no destination. And for months, this was incredibly disorienting. Where was I going? What was I doing? For what purpose? The loss of a sense of control was at times difficult. And then I came into a sunlit clearing in the middle of the woods. There were no well worn paths anywhere in sight, only trees and mountains in every direction. And for the first time, I understood that it is a good and beautiful thing to have no particular path, no particular destination. It frees one to explore, to take one’s time, to enjoy, to care deeply and to not give a damn. And so my journey continues. But I am no longer without purpose. Once my purpose had been to arrive at a particular destination. Now, my purpose is simply to remain lost in the woods.” ~ Jason Vickers

IMG_3209

sometimes, i need to remember to slow down and trust the process.

sending you thoughts of peace and love today.