sharing is caring

coffee love

there are a couple of things i have been thinking about lately. one, a little selfish and narcissistic, and the other, much more loving and outside of myself. let’s get the narcissism out of the way first.

i’m pondering what’s happening with my blog. the comments and likes have seemed to drop off so far in 2014. and when that happens, i begin to question what i’m doing and writing. am i doing something wrong? am i boring? or is this normal? i also end up getting “tagging anxiety” after i write every post. can nobody find my blog because i am a sucky tagger? what about you all? does this happen on your blog – have you ever experienced a lull in comments and likes? and do you freak out about it – and begin to question yourself? clearly, i’m not handling myself well.

you know, my readership/views are generally the same (= good), it’s just that i’ve got no interaction going on right now. and i really miss that.

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which leads me to the second thing I’ve been thinking about…

yesterday, i ran across a new-to-me blog that had an interesting link in her top menu. it was called “random kindness blog tour”. intrigued, i clicked on it. and, lo and behold, as i read the post (read it for yourself here), i became more and more a fan of what the author was proposing.

at the beginning of 2014, the author committed to discover & read one new blog per day throughout the whole year. and then to comment on it and add it to her ongoing list of blogs. but, these blogs aren’t just any blogs. the author, meg, has chosen to only include blogs that are positive and uplifting. so, in a sense, she is paying forward the effort of all the authors of all the blogs she discovers who are trying to create positivity and inspiration on their blogs. and by doing this, meg, is not only finding new people who inspire her, but linking all kinds of people and all kinds of blogs. it was such an awesome idea, i thought.

meg also talks some about our fast-paced nature and how it shows up even on the internet. how we don’t take the time to leave comments to others, but instead quickly skim blog posts and then move on. we may be inspired by someone’s words or photos, but we often just move on to the next thing, without thanking the author for touching something in us. sometimes we even feel stressed because we are “behind” in in our reading.

DSC_0867when did blogging and reading blogs become a chore? this is not at all what i intended when i created belovelive. i only wanted to share my everyday life and find others that inspire me and are willing to let me sneak in on their lives just a little. the relationships that formed through blogging were an unexpected gift – like a cherry on top. as a fairly well-established blogger(read: been doing it for a while, not that i am doing it right), i realize that any relationships i have formed have been because of a willingness to leave comments and engage other bloggers in conversation. but, i too, have fallen into letting blogging, and more often, blog reading, become a stressor – something that i just need to get done.

but, all that ends today. right now. with this post.

today, i reclaim blog reading as a joy and as a place to interact and connect with people from all over the world. i reclaim it as an inspirational, spiritual act that i have the privilege of adding to my day. basically, all i am doing is resetting my attitude.

but, more importantly, in honor of the amazing blogging world and all that it has given to me throughout the past 3 years, i commit to paying it forward. i plan to take one day each week to focus on new blogs that i discover. i am taking a page from meg’s book and letting myself peruse the blogosphere, soaking up the beauty that i find in new blogs and enjoying the wisdom and inspiration in the ones i have faithfully followed for years.

here’s what i’m going to do:

  • i pledge to visit a new blog every day
  • i pledge to leave a positive comment on each new blog i discover.
  • i also pledge to highlight one blog a week on my blog, either through a post that i write or through a guest blogger.
  • finally, i pledge to create a “random kindness blog tour” page on my blog to highlight the new blogs that i encounter & comment on. hopefully, all of you readers will then have a list of new blogs that you may want to visit. hence, spreading the love.

i want to connect us to each other. i want to support you and all of those other blogs out there. i want to, like meg, lift up people who are writing and photographing and sharing posts that encourage, empower, challenge, and uplift. god knows we have enough difficulty and depressing things in our lives. and, as a response to the darkness, i hope to shed a little light and a little joy.

little did i know, as i read meg’s post yesterday, knowing that i would find a way to incorporate her idea into something on belovelive, that my blog would show up on her list. that’s right, on february 5, meg visited this blog, belovelive, and included it in her blog tour, labeling me a positive blog. what a surprise. and what an incredible honor!

it’s only right that i share that love and acknowledgment with others now. and i can’t wait to get started! let the fun (and love) begin!

now, what was that narcissistic thing i was worried about at the beginning of my post? you know, it’s not about how much i receive. rather, it’s all about how much i give. and i can’t wait to share so much good stuff with all of you!

peace and love. xx

let’s get started!

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hi friends! for the past few days i’ve been working on organizing my blog a little – making it more user-friendly and such for all of you faithful readers and all of your newbies, as well. hopefully, it makes the blog a little more interesting and pretty to look at too. of course, it’s possible that you may not notice any of the new designs/additions, so this post is designed to point them out to you. hehe.

it all started when i read this post over at gallivance.net, a couple’s blog that inspires me  with every post. they had decided to revamp their blog and add a “start here” page to their top menu. i commented on their post and the addition of that page, and as usual, they commented back, giving me a few tips & a little pep talk to do my own version here – such sweet bloggers they are!

so, this is my new “start here” page! welcome! it’s a place where you can begin and get a little snippet of what belovelive is all about.  i’m posting it as a blog post right now, but you’ll be able to find it in the top new menu from now on (look up there now. see it?).

i also created links over in my left sidebar to my three main categories (be, love, & live). just click on the photos to see the posts in each category. they are also in the top menu in word form. hopefully this streamlines everything and makes it even easier to navigate in the belovelive world.

so, here ya go! presenting my new “start here” page:

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hi! i’m liz. and welcome to belovelive!

i’m your host in this little corner of cyberspace. i started belovelive in the spring of 2011, soon after i married a swede and moved from the united states to sweden. since then, i have just recently moved back to the states (july 2013) and i brought this blog with me.

in the three years i lived in sweden, i hoped to keep in touch with family & friends and give them a glimpse of what life in northern europe was like. well, i did just that. however, i had no idea that i would be sitting in asheville, north carolina in 2014, 900 blog posts later, with so many new friends and connections from all around the world – all because of this little place where i write down my thoughts and share my photos as i process this amazing journey called life. this blog has opened up so many amazing opportunities and been such a gift to me. i hope it will be the same for you.

if you are new here, then take a peek at this page and click on any links you find interesting. these are the basics, or a little snippet of the kinds of things that i post.

here at belovelive, i share my philosophy of life and my adventures in life on an almost daily basis. i am simply a pilgrim on a never-ending, adventurous, blissful journey toward inner peace – and i choose to chronicle that journey through my writing and photos. for me, that journey toward inner peace is found through being, loving, & living. the real journey, though, is sharing that journey with you, here on the web, and with other family & friends in my daily life.

if you want, click on the “you’ve got mail” button on the left sidebar and get my posts in your email, or click here to follow me on my facebook page. of course, there is also instagram and twitter – i’m pretty active on (addicted to) social media. you can find links to everything just to the left in the sidebar.

so, let’s get started…

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LIZ AND BELOVELIVE

meet liz
word of the year
celebrating two years

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BELOVELIVE’S TOP POSTS  FROM 2013

skulls and flowers
open hearts? no. open minds? no. open doors? no. open wounds? yes!
what’s your motto?

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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT BEING

“there’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be”
star-gazing
i’m rested & i’m ready
observe all that is around you
wednesday wisdom: how to live
different people, same spirit

finland lake

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LOVING

same love
the lost art of snail mail
her words
a closet is no place to live
the beauty of a woman blogfest

tattoo

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LIVING

how to have an adventure every day
i’m ok. even though i got an email
don’t get so busy
own your moments
a restaurant that feeds your soul
the top ten lessons i learned i 2013

mojito at pappa grappa

FIND OUT MORE ABOUTPASSPORTS & ROAD TRIPS

travel confessions from a pilgrim
dublin 2.0
a time to remember in berlin
sunrise over the mediterranean sea
a magical swiss-irish wedding
lindos, greece
when i said adventure, i didn’t mean this
rhodes city

lindos, greece

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHY I LOVE ASHEVILLE

nothing is weird in avl
who i am an north carolina girl
i left my heart in asheville
big big big news!

asheville alley

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE SWEDISH WAY OF LIFE

pinch me, i’m an expat
just for you, mom & dad
i wanna graduate from high school in sweden
midsummer love
st. lucia day: the girl with the crown of candles
full of archipelago love
immigration said yes

skeppsgården swimming

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT MY OBSESSION WITH COFFEE

a girl and her fika
a cup of coffee cures everything
making dreams come true over a cuppa

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i hope you’ve enjoyed this little introduction into the belovelive world. please hang out for a while and explore more deeply. or become a follower and receive emails whenever i post something new – which is pretty often. so, go ahead, make a pot of coffee or grab a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. curl up in your little corner of the world and spending some time… just being, loving, and living.

namaste.

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.