Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter {Giveaway!}

Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter

Last week, my kids were out of school for spring break. I probably saw them less last week than any in our recent history. Between a wonky work schedule, evening activities, and wonderful grandparents, I essentially missed an entire week of their life. When I planned it all out, it didn’t seem so bad. When I lived it, it was quite sad.

After a week of rushing and missing life, I realized looking for lovely is vital to the survival of the soul. In Annie F. Downs’ newest book, Looking for Lovely: Collecting the Moments that Matter, she describes it like this:

I want us to learn to look for the lovely all around us and collect it, hold it close, and see how God drops beautiful things into our lives at just the right time to help us step forward on our own paths.

Looking for Lovely, Annie F. Downs

In the book, Annie journies through some of her own very deep struggles, and reveals glimpses of lovely in the simplest of things: sushi, Zumba, the farmers market. Each of these small lovelies helps her recognize God’s presence and remember His promises.

[The view] was the tiny bit of lovely that helped me hang on and show up. God was doing a big work. I knew it, I just had to keep showing up, even when it hurt or felt hard or wasn’t at all what I wanted to do. (Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely)

While Annie and I live very different lives, her search for lovely connected me to a truth I missed along my driven, primarily un-emotional journey. Internal drive will take you far. Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps will get it done. But without lovely, the destination is not worth the journey. 

This is what I lived last week. I pushed and accomplished the most important things on my planner–at least what seemed most important. But I didn’t get anywhere. I didn’t spend much time building relationships. I didn’t savor my time with God each morning. I rushed through the care of my family and neglected my own self-care.

I missed the lovely. 

I missed God.

There is a beauty to be found in the brokenness.

If you aren’t experiencing pain, you aren’t experiencing beauty. Darkness makes us appreciate the beauty of light. If you aren’t allowing yourself to feel the hurt, sadness, loneliness, and disappointment this fallen world has to offer, you probably aren’t feeling the fullness of the joy and beauty the redeemed moments have to offer. (Annie F. Downs, Looking for Lovely)

Missing lovely last week tuned my soul to all the lovely things around me. I became acutely aware of the small moments, the sights, the sounds—all the lovely things that ground me in my faith and my family.

Laughing at a clever comeback from my eldest child, knowing that making people laugh fuels her something fierce.

Watching an episode of Fixer Upper with my middle child, and watching the wheels of her imagination begin to spin.

The sweet smell of toddler breath in the early morning, knowing it will start to stink before I can blink.

That moment when I remember one of the things I love about my husband.

A hug from my mom and sister after a relaxed visit, so thankful for the strength of blood and friendship.

A message from a friend to keep trying, even when quitting would be easier.

My Bible, always in black and white, and always true—even when I struggle to understand and believe.

I didn’t know to look for lovely, how it would feed my soul in moments of hungry sadness. I didn’t always see God tucked away in the muscle fatigue after a run, the foam atop my latte’, or a co-worker’s comment that confirmed His plan. Now, I am hooked. I am a collector of the moments that matter. 

Looking for Lovely Giveaway

{{Looking For Lovely Giveaway!}}

I believe this book has value for you. I’d love to send you a copy so you can start your own collection of lovely. In the comments below, share some lovely you found today. I will randomly select one of you lovelies and send you Annie’s book. U.S. residents only. One entry per person. Entries close midnight CST Thursday (April 7, 2016).

Join the social media movement, #lookingforlovely. As you uncover lovely in your day add the hashtag to your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts. Let’s find lovely together!

If you would like a little sneak peak at Looking for Lovely, visit Annie’s post at The Glorious Table.

And you can pick up a copy for yourself at Amazon, Lifeway, or your favorite book retailer. Go ahead! It’s the perfect spring read!

Looking for Lovely quote

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Product links are affiliate links.

Photo credit: kazuend via Unsplash.


  1. As I journaled this morning the weight of my current days is heavy. I made myself list a few positives and it really wasn’t that hard. There is a lot of lovely even in the heavy if we’ll be intentional about looking for it. This morning, the lovely I found and journaled about was that my husband prayed with me before he left for work.

  2. My lovely is my husband bringing me my coffee in the morning and enjoying the quiet before my day starts.

  3. I found lovely already in this day by cuddles from my soon to be 11 year old son. You blink and they grow up so fast. I treasure the moments with my children because they will be grown way to soon! I also woke up feeling free this morning, I am taking master’s classes and I turned in my last assignment last night for this class and a weight has lifted!

  4. Nicci Ramirez April 5, 2016 at 7:28 am

    My lovely –> meeting with 6 other ladies at 5am this morning – running 3.1 miles together – all the while smile and laughing – and thanking God for life 🙂

  5. I have also been trying to find the lovely. I have to admit that it is much easier, this time of year, when everything is budding out then in the deep, dark winter.
    Annie’s quote from TGT reminds me of a song our choir sings
    “I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when I’m not feeling it. I believe in God, even when He is silent.”

  6. After what seems like endless rain, we are now having sunny and warm weather. Today, I am taking a walk with my little one in a stroller and having a picnic with my older ones and another family after school. Doesn’t get much more lovely than that!

  7. I sat on the back porch of my parents’ house and listened to the frogs and crickets. It was so very loud and God reminded me that each of those creatures on its own is tiny and fragile, but when they come together to raise their voices? Wow. They can be heard for miles.

  8. My lovely is that I get to go to a book signing tonight with one of my best friends. Really, I am not the book signing type. I prefer staying home in my cozy room and reading unsigned books to going out among all those people. But my daughter wants a signed book, and I am able to show her love in such a simple way. Plus, have fun with my friend.

  9. A couple of lovelies today:
    My students are excited at the prospect of having me as their teacher again next year, and my kids are excited about their ball games tonight. I especially enjoy seeing my six-year-old so excited about playing softball. They have pink and black uniforms and are the Pixie Stix. It is so cute!

  10. During this season in my life, it is hard to remember that there are lovely things all around me… I just have to take the time to notice them more! My 8 month old just started crawling a few days ago, so today we took time to explore the house together (after sweeping and caffiene for me of course)! I opened the blinds to let the sunshine in (even though it’s freezing outside) and lit a candle. Thanks for reminding me press pause during the bustle of life!

  11. My lovely:
    -quiet time this morning. Though short, I am trying to be more intentional about waking up a little earlier each day to begin my day as I should.
    -running with my toddler to our neighborhood park
    -exploring/discovering new things, conquering new feats at the park
    -marking items off my to-do list
    -feeling the sun on my face

  12. Having a pizza lunch with my daughter…she is lovely.

  13. Car trips to and from preschool with my son are always lovely – we talk about the world and work on spelling. 🙂

  14. My kids are on break this week, and we’re taking it slowly all week. We stayed in jammies until lunchtime, I read aloud with them for a bit. My husband had me meet him at the office with all the kids in tow, then gave me the keys to his car and sent me on my merry way . Quiet dinner, some shopping, now enjoying a decaf mocha in a bookstore before heading home. Lovely indeed!

  15. A little lovely in my day was spending time snuggled up with my boys reading stories.

  16. Hmmmmm. Something lovely. I would say I found lovely at the very end of my day today. All the kids finally got to sleep and I took a bubble bath. My bubble bath was filled with soapy baby toys bobbing in the water Nd it was lovely. I was cherishing the moment for sure because there will be a day when my bath will no longer have little toys. Those little toys reminded me of the precious gift and miracle that our sweet little girl really is to me. Such lovely. This mama would love to win the book!

  17. Lea Ann Smith April 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Not sure I found lovely. Not sure how to go about finding lovely. Struggling daily. I guess a day without crying about “the things” that have me twisted in knots is the lovely. Work & the stresses that occur. Mainly learning how to live with the fact that my mother has dementia and the journey will not get easier. Coping, stressing, her wants, needs, her being unreasonable. My head knows. I’m waiting for my heart to catch up.

    • Lea Ann, I am hurting for you. Dealing with dementia is heartbreaking. Praying you find glimpses of the faithfulness of God in the midst of all the hard things.

  18. God woke me up early to pray about a huge, complicated problem that only He could solve. He gave me lovely peace and faith that He would do it, lovely moments to pass it on to another person involved, lovely prayer time with that person, and lovely moments of seeing things fall into place in answer to our prayers. Praise to our God who cares and who answers prayer!

  19. Time spent at my parents house with my toddler. Lots of grandparent lovin and some breaks for this mama. And watching my son learn new things…today it was saying basketball for the first time.

  20. Reading a dinosaur book tonight to my six year old, not really my thing – but it certainly was his thing 🙂

  21. My lovely today… Watching my 3 babies (11, 8, & 6) hold, snuggle and lavish love on an 8 month old that is temporarily ours. As we await the outcome of a decision that is beyond our control, God so sweetly has reminded my soul that He alone holds her precious future in His hands and He is working all things for her good and for ours.

  22. I am in HI at the moment, working at a job beneath (if we are honest) my education and experience. It’s hard after how much in student loan debt to be making less than I ever have in my life. AND YET I love what I do. My co-workers are really fun and I get the chance to be a bit of light and love to the people who come in. I pray that God helps me be a bright spot in their routines. This job might not measure up in the world’s standards, but it’s something I really treasure here.

  23. One lovely I experienced was God bringing a wonderful resolution to an issue I unintentionally caused in a relationship and the other person’s grace and forgiveness toward me. Also, since I have severe health issues and am not able to work or do much, I struggle with feeling like I’m not making an impact in anyone one else’s life and even though I want others to see Jesus in me, I also feel like I lack the faith and joy that I want to have in the midst of my circumstances. But today it was encouraging to hear someone that I rarely see and don’t know really well say that she sees joy in me and my life. Though it’s hard for me to see this present in my life, Her comment was a blessing to me.

  24. Jamie Hankins April 6, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I do not have to work outside the home today. I get to make breakfast for my kids and take them to school in my pajamas. That is lovely.

  25. Lauren Douglas April 6, 2016 at 10:46 am

    My daughter asked today if she got to be with me all day. “No work today mama or leaving us with anyone else?!” The simple reminder that she loves me and desires times with me is lovely.

    • My daughter said something similar to me today. “I am so glad you’ve been home every day when I get home from school.” Melts my heart!

  26. Oh yes… this: “Missing lovely last week tuned my soul to all the lovely things around me. I became acutely aware of the small moments, the sights, the sounds—all the lovely things that ground me in my faith and my family.” I love that you are hooked now! Great post! I am stopping by from the launch team just to say hey and to look for lovely all among us… and it –He!– is just everywhere! Blessings!

  27. Misty Glasgow April 6, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    My lovely came today when I was able to carry one of my geriatric patients outside following our treatment session . Our facilities courtyard has pink and white azaleas in full bloom, and with bees a buzzing we were able to sit in the peacefulness of spring and all its newness. My resident was able to be outside after months of being in this facility . My lovely is providing them with a little bit of joy even if it’s short lived.

  28. My lovely today was getting to spend the day with my mom and dad…I live close but not close enough to just “run over” to their house. I was off for Spring Break so it was great to get to spend time with them.

  29. I’ve heard SO many good things about this book! Thanks for hosting this giveaway! One of the moments I found lovely today was when my ten-year-old girl crawled into my lap as I was typing and started reading her book. 🙂

  30. Lovely showed up today cuddling my baby boy, teaching a young lad how to read and 45 minutes of uninterrupted writing time. God is good, good, good!

  31. Putting dinner and house chores on hold today, just to go outside and play soccer with my 6 year old.

  32. Got Facebook note my niece had been found passed out with bloody vomit around her while her 11 month old was in the house alone with her. Her husband had found her and she was being rushed to the hospital. I almost got physically ill just thinking of the what-ifs. Then I got the presence of mind to go to God with my petitions on behalf of her little family. Is there anything lovelier than realizing that we have a God who loves us and wants to hear our prayers? A God who will take that fear and quiet it.

  33. Lovely is sitting beside be this morning – one of my grandsons. He is two and a half and was born with a horrible disease, but God has performed miracles in healing when it was impossible according to men. There is lovely everyday including the sunrise this morning. I had the windows open and that sky was blue and pink. I walked over and looked out the door and said, “Colt look at this beautiful sunrise God sent us.”

  34. running with a friend, who’s just starting to discover her potential

  35. I enjoyed reading your review and your list of all the lovely you’ve found. It reminds me to keep my eyes open too!
    (I found you through our Looking for Lovely launch team FB page!)

  36. Thank you for linking up with me on http://www.emptyplatefullheart.com, Kelly! I ALWAYS love having you over!

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