meditation mondays: as faithful as the light

did you feel it? did you see it? did you notice that the sun rose just a tad bit earlier today? the dark half of the year is over for those of us who live in the northern hemisphere, and the season of light is upon us. isn’t it just amazing how year after year after year we dread and endure the dark + cold. and then, year after year after year, nature does her thing and brings the light back, making the days ever so slightly longer as each one passes.

whether you celebrate nature or christmas or hanukkah or kwanzaa or some other religion or nothing at all, this is a powerful time of the year. we cannot deny what we see, what happens to our days, how the earth is faithful to her patterns. for me, personally, the celebration of christmas, is a beautiful metaphor for the same things that we see in nature. light comes, new life begins and grows, and then dies. darkness takes over, and just when all hope is lost, we remember that the light will return again. always. it is a faithful cycle – this christian story and the story of nature herself. ultimately it is all a story of hope. it is the story of what the world is supposed to be, and how, in the end, love always wins.


i woke early this morning, in the darkness, and decided to watch the sun rise. i had a cup of coffee and the living room all to myself, as everyone else still slept soundly. i just love these long, dark december mornings alone. and even though i was inside and it was completely cloudy outside, making it not the most spectacular sunrise i’ve ever seen, the light still arrived. and it was beautiful.

as i watched and waited, i listened to my song for the day from my december photo challenge: oh come all ye faithful. {you can listen to the song –> here} as i listened, the word “faithful” kept tugging at me, as if it was a message to me. mixed with the message of gathering to adore the newborn christ child, there was something deeper i felt. a call to my soul.

every year i choose a word to guide me through out the year. this year, the word has been paradise, somewhere along the way, it became the word wild. i’ve been spending the past week working on discovering my word for 2015 – and i came up with empowered. it felt so big, and whole, and complete. balanced, i suppose. empowered and inspired, and empowered to act. i know that i need a balance of being + doing in 2015. i need a kick in the ass, and i feel it will be a very practical, nose-to-the-grindstone kind of year. but, that feels very focused and good to me. of course, it will all be supported by my mediation practices. so, yeah, empowered feels quite nice… powerful + inspired.

but, today, this word faithful seemed to spark something in me. and i wondered, is that a better word for me?


as i watched the sun + the light return faithfully to the earth, i began to feel that faithfulness is exactly what i need in 2015. the sun, the moon, the stars, all of nature are faithful to their calling to bring forth their light. the christ child is born + remains faithful to his calling to share a message of love and hope for all people – regardless. perhaps, focusing on being faithful – faithful to my authentic self + to my calling to be the light  – is exactly what i need…

i’m going to think about it some more. and just let this holiday week, with its celebration of light + love come as it will. i’ll let the word faithful roll around in my head and perhaps take hold of my soul. and, then i will decide.

for now, though, the light has returned to faithfully inspire and warm and remind us that we, too, are children of the light. it’s time to bask in its glory.

light + love to you all. xx

balcony meditation

my morning mantra

on wednesdays last spring i did a whole series inspired by the dalai lama’s 18 rules of living. as a result, i became a huge believer in his simple, yet profound, ways of being. his words always rang true with me. this morning i ran across this little quote below and i thought it was the perfect way to start my day – i think it sums up what i am feeling/what i have been feeling about my life for a few years now. do i actually accomplish these things? oh noooo. but, i can damn well try. and, try i will.


light + love xx

medicine for the soul

good morning, lovelies. i thought i’d share with y’all the inspiration that i received from my meditation time on the beach early this morning. it was just the perfect thing to fill my soul. i hope that it does the same for you. namaste. 
reeds sunrise beach sand dunes beach beach waves beach morning

“the medicine we need grows all around us.” – tina & her pony

love and peace to you all. xx

the magic of the winter solstice.

happy winter, northern hemisphere family!


“There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”  ~ Edith Wharton

i woke up really early this morning. like about 5 am. of course, it was dark, and would stay dark for almost 3 more hours. i have been thinking of the winter solstice ever since december began… and i found it on my mind again this morning. and as i lay there, exhausted and cozy, i decided that i would spend the entire day today celebrating the  winter solstice with rituals and cozy moments.

i may sound a bit pagan to you right now, and if i do, then that’s fine, because there is nothing wrong with celebrating nature and the cycle of seasons, in my mind. in fact, given that i believe in a divine being, creative creator of all that is and was and will be, then nature is naturally (ha!) a part of the divine creation. religions, faith, spirituality, myths, and pagan traditions/rituals all seek to explain that divine being and our place in this world. seasons are a very concrete way, in my opinion, to demonstrate and embody the divine spark found in every living thing.

anyway, i lay in bed early this morning, wondering what little traditions and ways of celebrating the winter solstice i could create today. soon, i fell back asleep. but, i awoke again, still before the sun was up, and decided my first act would be to greet the day by watching the sun rise.

so, i made some chai tea, lit a candle, wrapped up in a blanket, and curled up in a chair on my balcony. it was chilly and very windy, but not uncomfortable. in fact, it was quite magical and mystical. all of my neighbros’ windows were dark. there were no people stirring or moving about. only a few cars passed on the road nearby. it was as if i was the only one awake. just me and nature.

IMG_6882as i sat there, the miracle that occurs every morning occurred. and i soaked in every magical, breathtaking moment. 

IMG_6883 IMG_6884 IMG_6888 IMG_6897 IMG_6904

today, the winter solstice, is the perfect day for slowing down and reflecting. the perfect day for celebrating the return of light back to the top half of the world. and this day is the reminder that the light, does indeed return, just as it does every year. it is the light that brings hope;  the same light that i also believe we find within each of us.

well, i spent about an hour and a half, alone, on my balcony. watching the sky brighten and turn colors, feeling the wind on my face, and hearing the chiming of wind chimes, as if they were announcing the arrival of light over the next few days.


for me, celebrating the coming of light is literal and metaphorical. today and for the next six months, it is literal. the days begin to get brighter as the earth continues its rotation around the sun. light literally returns. and as these next few days pass, we also move ever closer to the celebration of christmas, the celebration of the light that comes to earth in a person. for me, this is the celebration of that light that is found in everyone of us… a light that makes us who we are, that connects us to each other, and calls us to live lives of peace, justice, and love. christian, jew, muslin, pagan, hindu, buddhist… whatever. that light, that divinity, is what makes us spiritual, amazing people.


after the sun had risen and i came in, i decided to continue my celebration all day. so, i lit the christmas tree and the stars we have in our windows. i turned on a cozy playlist of christmas music, and settled down with my journal. on tap for the rest of my day, for the rest of my celebration, is a little of this and that: snuggling with the cat. reflecting on the past year and creating a photo journey of my 2013. meditating on my intentions and hopes for 2014. more christmas music. wine and glögg. and pj’s all day.


celebrations of the winter solstice are thousands and thousands of years old. and people from all parts of the world have celebrated the fact that nature’s cycle continues. it is a beautiful remembrance that our lives are part of a larger order, always chaining and renewing.

so, if you have a chance, today or tomorrow, spend a few moments giving thanks for the light that brings hope. and take part in whatever little ritual, tradition, or moment you wish to slow down and mark the passing of this part of the cycle of life. this time of year, where, when all seems lost and that death & darkness have a firm grip on us, the sun returns. the light comes to us. all is not lost. life continues and hope abounds.

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.” ~ Joseph Campbell 

“I will love the light for it shows me the way.  Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.” ~ Og Mandino

peace and light… to the world. xx


balcony blogging at sunset.

 i cannot decide what my favorite space is in our new home. i literally wander from room to room sitting in different chairs. the chaise lounges in the living room. the bar stools. the dining room table. the bed. the desk. there’s all so comfy and special. and each of the spaces makes me feel good.

but, there is one place that i keep going back to. i begin my mornings there. and end my nights there. and in the in-between hours, i find myself there…

a9c818e0f38f11e2980e22000ae90a1f_7our balcony. i. love. it. i am sitting there right now as i type to you. wine glass on the armrest. legs folded & crossed in the chair.  computer on my lap. a breeze blowing. people chatting around the fire pit. the smell of food grilling just below me. the pool flickering in the lights. and the dark blue of twilight above me.


lina and i have been yearning for and drooling over balconies for years now, since we didn’t have one in sweden. and it was really, really tough to not have one. like really. to be able to access the outdoors so easily was a dream of ours. and to just have a place to just be. you see, there are no distractions on balconies. at least not for me. it’s a simple space, with simple furniture. just enough to make do. and because of the simplicity of balconies, they lend themselves to being places of reflection and relaxation. a place to soak up the moment. to gaze at the sky. to watch people. read. listen. write. breathe.


in just 5 short days, our balcony has become just that for me. i love my little corner chair. i love the view… overlooking the pool, the fire pit, the grill, and a few mountains off in the distance. i love that i can see the sky, stars, and the moon. i love that the sun moves across the sky, but never shines directly on the balcony for more than an hour, so it is bearable to sit here all hours of the day. i love that i can breathe here.


yes, this may be my favorite spot in our entire home. and i am so very grateful that i have the opportunity to open my door and sit down in my own little outside space in the world.


what’s your favorite place in your home? do you have a favorite corner? room? chair? outdoor area?

find a little space to just be you today. peace & love, my friends.

tiny moments to celebrate.

april keeps moving right along. and as each day passes, i am confronted with the challenge of finding a way to capture a glimpse of life in a photo. i’m challenged to find something to celebrate and to share that tiny little moment with you all. overall, this past week has been not so great. still… true to the way that life is, there is always something i can find to celebrate, even if it is miniscule some days. even the hardest, worst day has something worth celebrating hidden within it. and you know what? the more you seek to celebrate, the more you find to celebrate. this i discover more and more as the days of april pass by.

here’s a peek at the moments i celebrated this past week:

15. passion

wanderlust: a strong desire to travel, to understand one's very existence.

wanderlust: a strong desire to travel, to understand one’s very existence.

16. favorite moment of the day

off to visit my love!

off to visit my love!

17. fresh

loving my new organic face products!

loving my new organic face products!

18. morning

rain on my window this morning. still, it's a new day. a new start.

rain on my window this morning. still, it’s a new day. a new start.

19. grow

trying to be patient and wait for my hair to grow. missing my long hair big time.

trying to be patient and wait for my hair to grow. missing my long hair big time.

20. sun

having a little mocha frappe while i sit in the sun. yum!

having a little mocha frappe while i sit in the sun. yum!

21. bud

every day i am desperately looking for a tree or bush that has just one, little #bud on it. today, i found it!

every day i am desperately looking for a tree or bush that has just one, little #bud on it. today, i found it!

did you have any moments worth celebrating this past week? share with me! i’d love to know!

here’s to finding even more reasons celebrate next week! peace.

celebrating renewal!

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

“the secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possible can.” ~ mike dooley

“i have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” ~ j.b. priestly

“easter is the demonstration of god that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.” ~charles m. crowe

“there is a fragrance in the air, a certain passage of a song, an old photograph falling out from the pages of a book, the sound of somebody’s voice in the hall that makes your heart leap and fills your eyes with tears. who can say when or how it will be that something easters up out of the dimness to remind us of a time before we were born and after we will die?” ~ frederick beuchner

“things are always better in the morning.” ~ harper lee

“i couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. it was a giant reset button. you could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.”
~ Avery Sawyer.

“reshaping life! people who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. they look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. if you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”
― boris pasternak

“i believe that when you stop renewing and are no longer open to change and the possibilities that continually unfold, you stop being alive and are just getting through the years. transformation doesn’t happen unless you’re willing: it’s your choice.” ~ oprah winfrey

“perhaps the earth can teach us. as when everything seems dead, and later proves to be alive.” ~ pablo neruda

come out of the darkness. celebrate the light. a new day is upon us! with the morning, life is renewed once again. we have a new beginning.  a new chance to follow our dreams, to live life, to be who exactly who we are. the question is… what are our dreams? who are we? and what are we going to do with our life today?! one thing is for sure, we have one more opportunity to celebrate life!

happy easter, everyone! peace, light, & love.

the 31 day journey begins. belovelive’s march photo a day!

who’s doing it? who’s out there snapping some photos of your journey in march?!

it’s been a tough week of photos. a little depressing, i’d say. but that was my intention. not to depress you and me, but to make us aware. it was my intention to be honest about life… and let’s face it, life ain’t all that great sometimes. can i get an amen? but, since there is so much symbolically going on with nature this month, and since this is the time of year that christians also celebrate the journey of lent, i thought, “why not?”. why not make a photo challenge centered on a theme about journey? why not take a few moments each day and think about how the journey seems bleak, long, dark, and lonely at times before it gets easier, better, and lighter?

so, the first 15 days of march are a little more focused on the challenges of journeys. we allow ourselves time in the beginning of march to be aware of and dwell in the tough stuff. we admit that it’s ok that everything is not ok. and we keep plugging on. i have to be honest with you, focusing on these tough words is actually getting to me. it is bringing me down a bit… but only to the affect that i am embracing the tough stuff in life. i am not excited about it, but i know that take a good, long, hard, honest look at my life only gives me a chance to grow even more. i need this time to turn inward a bit. to be a bit gray and melancholy. not that i’m walking around depressed, or that anyone could even tell. but, inside, for a least a few moments of each day, i am just thinking. just being. letting myself fell what i feel… and knowing that the light is returning. every day we are getting closer.

with all that said, here come my first week’s pictures!

7am on march 1. not too dark, but not quite light either. and so, the journey begins.

7am on march 1. not too dark, but not quite light either. and so, the journey begins.

zola thought it was a little scary at times last weekend because we had 4 guests in our apartment with us. the other part of the weekend she spent snuggling with them.

zola thought it was a little scary at times last weekend because we had 4 guests in our apartment with us. the other part of the weekend she spent snuggling with them.

a lonely, but super sunny walk to work sunday morning.

a lonely, but super sunny walk to work sunday morning.

"flee to the wilderness. the one within if you can find it." ~ utah phillips. (a photo i took in nc during christmas)

“flee to the wilderness. the one within if you can find it.” ~ utah phillips. (photo from nc during christmas)

it's way too easy to stumble & fall these days here in sweden. be careful, out there!

it’s way too easy to stumble & fall these days here in sweden. be careful, out there!

spending tons of my time getting sidetracked by looking for our new home in asheville. hehe. yes, we have begun that part of the journey.

spending tons of my time getting sidetracked by looking for our new home in asheville. hehe. yes, we have begun that part of the journey.

looking up & down one fo the city streets. so beautiful.

looking up & down one fo the city streets. so beautiful.

so, who of you out there is taking part in the photo challenge? what are you seeing on your journey this march? paste a link to your blog or your instagram name in a comment below so we can all keep up with/get to know each other. it’s super fun! and i have to say… the blogging and instagramming communities are truly amazing. so,join in, if you’re not already a part of either!

now, it’s friday night (woo hoo!) and it’s time for a cozy evening with my love. i think it’s been a month since i’ve been home on a friday night, so i’m gonna soak it up tonight. first, we gonna make tacos, then drink a little wine, and perhaps watch a movie. hope you have a great weekend.

peace & love.

one word wednesday.



“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 
― Jim Morrison