celebrating summer

this weekend is the first day of summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere. *doing a little happy dance* the longest day of the year is upon us – a day filled with light (and hopefully sunshine!). a day where we celebrate the joy of the warmth, glow, and life that the sun brings us. it’s the kick-off of the season of relaxation, joy, free-spiritedness, laziness, and slowing down. i love this season, and everything that goes with it – especially the chance to be outside and enjoy moment after moment with friends and family. we throw caution to the wind, act just a little bit crazier and bolder, and remember the importance to balance our lives. for just a little while, we may set aside our schedules and routines to participate in the act of just being and living.

almost all of the past 4 or 5 years i have spent in sweden during the summer soltise, otherwise known as midsummer. i’ve spent the day celebrating a traditional midsummer celebration with traditional midsummer activities filling our day, such as gathering flowers, making crowns from those flowers, dancing and singing around the midsummer pole, eating strawberries, and staying up as late as the sun = practically all night because the sun doesn’t really set before it begins to rise again.

i’m going to miss those celebrations this year. but, we will be celebrating in the best american way that i know possible – for this first weekend of summer, my family (most of us) will gather at atlantic beach for our annual reynolds family beach week! it’s a crazy, hilarious, relaxing week filled with sun, sand, and surf. all we do is eat, drink, swim, chat, sit, sip, and laugh – a lot. so, if i can’t be in sweden celebrating midsummer, then arriving at the beach to celebrate and begin our 30th year of the reynolds family beach week is exactly how i want to spend the weekend.

in honor of the sun, at some point in the next few days, i will turn my face toward the big, golden ball in the sky and offer up my own prayers of praise and thanksgiving. i will soak up all of that energy and light, and harness it, using it to continue to work to make my dreams come true. on the first day of summer i will pause to reflect on the beauty and amazingness that the light brings to our life. and i will laugh, and dance, and love.

my summer gift to you is this little collection of photos from my american & swedish summers past, and a few favorite summer quotes to go along. slow down, read them, and receive these summer vibes – from me to you!

lina ocean


my love on a bike

“I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl,
From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl,
I’d love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl,
But I’m never warm enough for my lovely summer girl,
It’s summer when she smiles, I’m laughing like a child,
It’s the summer of our lives; we’ll contain it for a while
She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand
I’d be happy with this summer if it’s all we ever had.”
― Maggie StiefvaterShiver



ego me tree hugger

“summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. for those few months, you’re not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don’t have the rest of the year. you can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out.”
― Deb CalettiHoney, Baby, Sweetheart

relaxing washington square park


“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John LubbockThe Use Of Life


“Maycomb was a tired old town, even in 1932 when I first knew it. Somehow, it was hotter then. Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon after their three o’clock naps. And by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frosting from sweating and sweet talcum. The day was twenty-four hours long, but it seemed longer. There’s no hurry, for there’s nowhere to go and nothing to buy…and no money to buy it with.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

flowers summer


“Sweet, sweet burn of sun and summer wind, and you my friend, my new fun thing, my summer fling.”
― k.d. lang

wedge beer outside summer


“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”
― John KeatsBright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

midsummer pole dance

beach family

“Summer afternoon – to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

rooftop empire NYC

central park nyc

“New York is strange in the summer. Life goes on as usual but it’s not, it’s like everyone is just pretending, as if everyone has been cast as the star in a movie about their life, so they’re one step removed from it. And then in September it all gets normal again.”
― Peter CameronSomeday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

happy summer! soak it up! xx

from the mountains to the sea.

hey folks! today i’m writing from my parents’ beach house. specifically their deck which overlooks sea water. yay!! that’s right, after two very long years without the north carolina coast, we are finally back. back to one of the places that i consider home. one of the places that has remained a constant in my life, when everything else around me has changed.

we left the mountains yesterday morning and made the 7 hour drive across the state, stopping several times along the way. sometimes out of necessity, and sometimes just to soak in the moment.


we almost ran out of gas at one point (i was over confident), but our trusty navigation system took us on a little countryside tour to find a little country gas station in the middle of nowhere just in time. we literally rolled in on fumes. oops.

20130730-115528.jpgwe stopped at a roadside stand to buy fresh, local fruit and veggies. which, i’ll be cooking for lunch very soon!

20130730-115551.jpgand we stopped at the famous wilber’s barbecue in goldsboro… a family and downeast favorite for bbq and hush puppies. deeeelish!

20130730-115610.jpgwe made it to the beach just in time to see this amazing sunset. eat dinner. and then snuggle up in our cozy little room. i can’t believe we made it to my parents’ place… after all the dreaming and longing to be here for two years.

20130730-120000.jpgand so, this morning, i have the ultimate pleasure of sitting here, feet up, sun baking my skin, gazing out over the water, watching boats go by. and man, is it hot. and peaceful. and perfect.

20130730-114128.jpgafter a long and crazy month, we are bringing july to a close with a little vacation time. work in sweden is over, the flight and move to the states is done, and our asheville apartment (and all other practical details ) is complete. so now, it’s a week of vacay for us before back to real living in our new life.

while i’m a beach bum, i’m planning on doing quite a few blog posts, creating august’s photo journey (check back tomorrow!), riding boats, reading books, eating yummy food, and just being me. connected. relaxed. in love with life.

oh, my gosh, i’m a lucky girl.

sending peace & love all around the world (och många kramar till alla mina släkt och vänner i sverige! jag saknar er!).





full of archipelago love.

oh, how i’ve missed y’all!

but, the time away was absolutely perfect. sweden delivered perfect summer weather the entire week that we were in the archipelago. we were surrounded by friends & family, which made everything that much more fun. there were moments of solitude and silence, crazy moments of high energy and laughter. singing, dancing, walking in the woods, rowing on the sea, soaking up the sun, scratching mosquito bites, smothering our skin with sunscreen, reading in our cozy room… and i even got some work done! all in all, i must say, that this was the perfect way to spend our last full week in sweden. i could not have asked for a better week!

here come a bunch of photos… sending a little archipelago love to you:

skeppsgården i mitt hjärta (skeppsgården in my heart).




path camp

teenagers dock

summer archipelago

sunset archipelago

oar archipelago

lina rowing

time to go into the wild.

hi friends, near and far!

it’s down to the wire now. there’s not that much time left before the big move, and the time that is left, i’m gonna be a little sporadic here on belovelive. so, i’m going old school with my journaling for a week or 2. the little back moleskin notebook & a black pen will be my best buddies during this transition time. ok. my camera will be my third best buddy, of course. but, i’m gonna be checking in here every couple of days. and hopefully have a post or 2. but, you’ll survive. so will i. it’ll be good.

here’s what’s coming up (besides the move):

IMG_3238photo from last year’s camp. the one really good day of weather. when it’s good, it’s goooood.

today i am leaving for the swedish archipelago. this is an annual trip for families & church friends (the church where i work – yes, i still work there). lina’s family has been going to this particular camp for like 30-some years, so it’s a major tradition that you don’t want to miss. of course, it’s also a camp for the church, as i said before, so i’ve got duel roles going on this week. i’m the camp’s “official” minister, which means i plan 2 worship services, and then a devotional hour every day. other than that, it’s all about relaxing & enjoying the people, nature, and relaxation. and let me tell you, the wilderness, the water, and the simplicity is an amazing part of this upcoming week. and then, there’s the fact that this is a great chance to hang with important people before we jet over the pond.

so, this coming week, i’ll be on the coast on sweden, in the island/archipelago area, and there’s no good phone service, and of course no WIFI out there. this is a good thing. a chance to be off the grid and into the wild. and to just be. especially right before our move. gonna soak up every little moment i can. now, it’s just to ask the weather gods to provide us with sunshine & warmth… and to take away all mosquitoes and ticks. ewww.

anyway, i’m back on the grid next saturday sometime, and then it’s only FOUR super duper intense days until we fly! crazy!

i’ll be thinking of you… sending you lots of love & peace.

on today’s agenda.



celebration is my theme for today. woo hoo!! got my sermon all done last night. based it on jesus turning water into wine at a wedding. wrote about learning to celebrate in every moment, because there is always, always something worth celebrating. it’s always the right time for a party. it’s alway the right time to take something ordinary & make it something extraordinary – like jesus making water into wine. and now, i’m gonna work really hard to practice what i preach. hehe. because, i mean, seriously, things may not be perfect; but perhaps i would celebrate more if i looked at what i had, instead of what i don’t have (and i’m not talking material things). life is too short to go around feeling sorry for ourselves. little slivers of beauty & joy exist even in the darkest places & moments. celebrating does not mean being dreamy, unrealistic, and naive. not. at. all. it means embracing all that is wrong, difficult, scary, and horrible in the world & in our lives, and still finding a reason to dance & laugh & sing.

so, instead of wasting my life away, i’m gonna celebrate all that there is to celebrate. and what better time than now. if not now, then when?!

there y’all have gotten the gist of what i’m talking about today at work. wanna join me in celebrating later on?!

happy sunday! throw a party! (even if it’s for yourself…. you’re worth it!). peace & laughter.

it was more than a house. it was a home.

this is a tough post to write.

i have moved a lot in my life. so, i’ve said goodbye to many houses, many homes. and each one has left me wiping a few tears from my eyes as i closed the door for the last time. it’s a really emotional thing for me to move, to leave a home behind. on the one hand, i always feel deep sadness because so many memories have been made within the walls of the home. but on the other hand, i am most always ready for the next adventure that comes.

even if it’s difficult, i’m pretty good at closing doors and moving on. but, true to my sappy self, i must always pause for a moment and soak in all the memories. i must take a few minutes and spend some time grieving for the loss and feeling thankful for all of the experiences and life that has been lived behind the doors of the home. i must, in other words, say goodbye.

and then i’m ready to move on.

today my parents are moving out of their beach house.

for the past 10ish years they have had a house at the beach & a house in the mountains. they’re retired, and they’ve been back & forth, basically living in both places. it’s been amazing how things worked out like that for them. and, of course, it was great for me & my brother (and our families) as well. hehe. it’s been a place that we’ve gone during the summers and even during christmas sometimes… always to just relax.

the best thing about the beach house was the fact that it was on the water, and that it had a dock. it was the place to be – alone or with others, to find true, quiet peace. the dock was the place for so many important moments… sipping coffee early in the morning with my love. having chats with my mom. hanging out with my dad, as he played with his boats. watching my brother fish. sitting & drinking a beer or a glass of wine in the afternoon with family. watching the little crabs crawl on the dock and the fish jump in the water. and every now and then, seeing a dolphin swim by. a place to begin the day in silence and solitude. and a place to end the day, with the sea breeze blowing, the stars up above, and the quiet of the night. the dock was my place of peace, a corner in the world that was all mine. i always felt safe, whole, calm, and completely grounded when i was there. such a tiny space, just big enough for 3 or 4 chairs. but it was the simplicity that made it so special.

but, today i say goodbye to that place. and i say goodbye all the way from sweden, after not having been there in a year and a half. the last time i was there was the summer of 2011. and right now, that feels like a good thing and a bad thing at the same time. i think it makes this transition easier. but, i never had a chance to stand there & say goodbye for the last time.

while i feel a hole in my heart now & my soul is crying, as i imagine another family taking over the home & making their own memories, i also feel ok.  i feel ok because i realize that my connection to the beach is not gone. not at all. the beach where my parents lived for the past 10ish years, is a place that has been part my life for the past 38 years. yes, that’s my whole life. some of my ancestors are from there. and, for the past 28 years, my family (including 3 cousins, 2 aunts, & 2 uncles) has gathered at the beach for a week every summer. it has been a tradition that has been perhaps the only thing that has remained constant in my life (seeing as i have moved around so much).

i don’t know my childhood friends, i don’t ever see people from high school, and i have no real hometown. but, i don’t regret any of that. i love that i’ve moved a lot. however, the beach, with or without my parents’ house, has and always will be part of my life. the one thing that always remains is my family and our commitment to meeting there every year.

this summer lina & i did not make it home to north carolina, so there was no trip to the beach for us. but, there was actually no beach week for the rest of my family either. very, very sad. however, here & now, i am making a promise to my brother, nick (and his wife) & my cousins, lindsey (and her husband & kid), and kat & tom, that i will… we will find a way to continue this tradition. this is too important to let fade away. this is part of who we are, the reynolds clan. we will not give up. my family & our traditions are priority to me. beach week lives on!

so, while i’m are saying goodbye to my parents’ beach house today, i am not saying goodbye to the beach, to the place that holds an incredibly special place in my heart.

it has been an amazing gift to be able to make the memories that we’ve made there, and now it’s time to move on. time to make new memories in the midst of holding on to our old traditions.

with a heavy heart i bid you goodbye… beautiful, peaceful, fun, memory-filled beach home.  thank you for all of the amazing moments in life that you have given me. i will miss you so much, more than i can say.

but, now. i am ready. i dry my tears from my cheek and close the door behind me. and with my family, i move on to the next adventure.

peace & love.