making me all weepy.

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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.

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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

the power of blogging. or, the day that paige came to town.

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if you’re reading this, then you must know a little about blogging. you may even have your own blog. and if you’re not a blogger yourself, then you at least appreciate the blog world in one way or another. perhaps you are simply a supporter and reader of blogs. perhaps you are a long-time blog enthusiast, or perhaps you just stumbled onto this page. most likely, though, you fall somewhere in the middle of the blog-lover spectrum.

no matter what kind of blogger or blog-reader you are, though, you are aware of the power of blogging. whether blogs are places to receive inspiration or information, or places that you go to, to share your thoughts and ideas, they are little corners of cyberspace that connect like-minded people and provide endless ways to feel a connection with the world.

they can be a way to keep in contact with family and friends that are far away (the reason i started this blog when i moved to sweden). or they can be a way to seek out new connections. but, if you think about it, it actually doesn’t require any commitment to read a blog, or to even leave a comment on someone’s blog. and, unless you are blogging for work, it doesn’t require any commitment to write on your own blog. it’s up to each one of us how much we want to put into or get out of the blog world. which is a good thing, i believe. it means that blogging and blog-reading is an individual decision that we can adapt and add to our lives in the ways that we want to.

no pressure. no rules. just inspiration and fun.

so, since blogging is so unrestricted and free, requiring no real commitment, can it ever be really powerful as a social tool? like, to make friends, i mean. of course, the content of a blog can be a powerful way to send out a message to the world. however, how many of you have considered that it is a place to form real friendships? i suppose we most often read blogs of people we don’t know, and assume we will never know. but, then, there are some of us who blog and comment and comment and blog on each others’ blogs for a while, and actually feel like we have become what i like to call “blogging buddies”. we know little bits and pieces of each others’ lives, but we don’t know what it’s like to be together IRL (in real life).

until we do…

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i suppose it can seem a little creepy to follow someone’s posts and thoughts online for a while, and then decide to meet him or her in real life. it’s creepy because, there is that “no rule” rule with blogs. what if you plan to meet someone and you, or they, have not been totally honest? what if in real life the person (or you) is not how they “appear” or present themselves online? what if you don’t get along? or if it’s awkward? or dangerous – most likely it won’t be if you have actually formed an online, long-term relationship of comments and emails and support back & forth.

plus, there’s the whole distance issue. so many people that i am blogging buddies with live all over the world, so it’s not very practical to meet up. practical? it’s not possible.

but, every now and then, something serendipitous happens, and it becomes possible to meet a blogging friend face to face. and, in my opinion, it’s a good idea to just go for it! especially if that person’s blog, photos, and words have been an inspiration. especially if that person has been someone that you’ve followed and read for a long time – and the feeling (stalking. hehe.) has been mutual.

i had my first opportunity to meet a blogging buddy last fall. lanie and i had been reading & commenting on each others’ blogs for about 2 years before we met face to face. and it was soooo much fun meeting her. the bonus thing was that i brought along my love and she brought along her love, and the four of us girls became fast friends (IRL). so much so, that we keep in contact with each other and even spent new year’s eve together this year. it’s been such a blessing to have taken that leap of faith! the four of us are true friends now  – and my life is richer because of it.

about 2 weeks ago, i had the opportunity again to meet a fellow blogging buddy of mine. fortheloveofwanderlust is a blog i’ve been following for more than two years. i have no idea how paige and i found each other, but we immediately became supporters of each others’ blogs, and more importantly, lives. our friendship then extended to instagram, which allows you to be able to connect with someone in a more daily, intimate way. we kept in touch through our blogs, photos, comments and emails, and have even snail-mailed each other a few times.

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i just knew that this wanderlusting, travel-loving chick was an awesome person, and definitely someone i’d love to meet one day. well, one day became possible a few weeks ago, as i found out that she was doing a solo road trip across the southeast in january. of course i invited paige to stay with me & lina so we could meet and so she could see asheville – i knew she’d love it here.

so, the day that lina and i returned from walt disney world, my amazing blogging buddy paige made it to asheville to spend the weekend with us!

what has happened because of that little weekend – which was extended to 4 days because we were having so much fun and because there was so much to see & do – is that we have formed a very real, very tight, amazing friendship, keeping in touch via texts and phone calls every day since she left asheville. this amazing chick totally clicked with us – and it actually felt like she just belonged here.

all this to say:

  1. we had a ton of fun together!
  2. our friendship grew because of a chance to meet face to face.
  3. we got along so well, that we have exciting plans to share more things in the future. eeeek!
  4. liz (me) & lina (my love) love paige, who is an amazing travel blogger (go check her out at for the love of wanderlust by clicking here).
  5. if you have a blog and it is at all possible to meet a fellow blogger… DO IT.

so, while blogs are fun little hobbies, they can also be powerful ways to strengthen and form relationships. i had no idea when i started blogging that i’d make actual, real friends. i had no idea that spending time with someone that i had “met” through similar interests on the internet could become such a great friend and support. but, it’s possible. and it’s powerful. and i am so thankful. paige, you have reserved yourself a special place in our hearts. we love you to pieces.

now, it’s time for y’all to enjoy some fun photos from the amazing time that we had when paige came to town! hopefully it’s inspire you to go out and meet new friends!

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alrighty, peeps. who do i get to meet next?!

peace and love. xx

* photos with me & paige taken by my love, lina. thanks, baby.