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IMG_4179It’s that time of year, when I will find ANY excuse to get outside and enjoy the weather. Just before sitting down to write this, I flung open my windows to breathe in the warm breeze and listen to the crickets sing. It’s spring–summer is just around the corner!–and I have JUST the book to help you ring it all in.

Looking for Lovely is Annie Downs‘ latest book, and this is the beach read you’ve been looking for. BUT, probably not for the reasons you’re guessing. Looking for Lovely is funny and easy to read because Annie is a wonderful storyteller, but it’s not without depth. Annie shares her deeply personal struggles with self-image and fear, and how she journeyed through them. She overcame the darkness by focusing on the “lovely” in her life–everything from good friendships to a beautiful window view–and God used her focus to change her. That’s one of the reasons you’ve got to read this book on a beach, because what’s lovelier than the beach??

But here’s what else I loved about Annie’s book. Annie is a hysterical person. Her personality is larger than life. She seems like the kind of woman who is always strong and brave and everything rolls right off her back. When you talk to her, she’s confident and fun.

That’s why this book is such a gift. In these pages, Annie unveils her vulnerability. She let’s us peer behind her humor and charm to see her brokenness. For every person who has looked at Annie–or women like Annie–and thought, “She doesn’t struggle like I do,” Annie exposes that lie. We’ve ALL got our junk, which is why I so appreciate Annie for having the courage to share hers.

This week I am thrilled to be giving away a free copy of Looking for Lovely. To enter, just leave a comment sharing a “lovely” moment from your week. I will draw names next Monday, and whether or not you win, I hope you will check out Annie’s book!

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 9.59.09 PMSharon




  • Alyson Tamer says:

    My son’s third birthday was Monday, but Sunday night before bed he let me hold him and rock in the glider while I told him about his birth story. Sharing how Thankful we were to God for giving him to us and then we prayed. It really was lovely because most days he doesn’t sit still for longer than a second! 😉

  • Jennifer Craven says:

    Yesterday my son, who is obsessed with all things Lego & Star Wars, heard my mom talking about a boy in her class who reminds her of him because he talks about Star Wars all day and wears the same Star Wars shirt every day. Except he doesn’t own a single Lego piece or figure because they’re too expensive for his family. When Noah heard that, he dug through his Legos and gave my mom a handful of his Lego Star Wars guys to give the little boy. The heart of my children can make the worst weeks better!

  • Salem says:

    I’m an attorney and I am not the biggest fan of court because they are so many unlovely moments…but this week I got to witness a Judge speak some truth into the life of a teen who has been through some difficult situations (similar to what the judge went through as a teen). seeing someone with so much power & influence using that as a tool to assist someone else that is still struggling was my lovely moment. So blessed to have witnessed that

  • Liz says:

    My oldest son turned 5 this week (also on Monday:) and when my husband came home from work to take him out for a birthday lunch he asked if he could invite his 3 year old brother. I loved that he wanted to share the experience with his little brother.

  • On Monday, Annie spoke at my school – THAT was lovely. She spoke about being brave, but the thing that stuck with me was the idea that we are brave TOGETHER. When I’m brave, I give women around me the inspiration and support to be brave themselves. Not only did she set that awesome idea loose among my school and friends, we got to start right then – locked arm in arm, praying for bravery and faith.

  • Kate says:

    This week, my oldest boy has had homework of reading chapters of Charlotte’s Web. He has been reading it aloud to us at dinner. He is so expressive and it is so lovely to sit and listen to him be such a great storyteller. I don’t know which is better…listening to him read or watching my husband beam with pride of his son’s gift.

  • Anastasia says:

    Well a few weeks ago I went to visit my little cousins. I have never really been able to have precious moment with her ( she is 5 ) because she is always running around and playing with toys, you know the 5 year old things. Anyways when she does something that isn’t right I unusually let her mom handle it, but this time her mom was making lunch and we we’re is the little girls bedroom playing,but then I asked if they wanted to play tea party. So they brought everything out and the youngest one (who is 1/2) started playing with the toys and her older sister got mad so she ripped it from her hands and told her no. At this point I knew I needed to step in so I looked at faith and said ” honey God doesn’t like us to be selfish and take things from people, you know that wasn’t nice to your little sister can you give it back and say sorry?” So she gave the toy back to her sister and gave her a huge while apologizing. That was my sweet/heart felt moment.

  • caroline says:

    Driving my three-year-old daughter to preschool this morning, I had the radio on then realized she was singing something different. So I turned it off to listen to her creating her own song about “wolfs” and to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. I love it when she shows her creative side!

  • Katie Sweeney says:

    Lovely for me was sitting up till almost 1am with my 13 and 11 year old daughters talking and laughing about anything and everything. I know they have school in the morning but these are precious bonding times that I cherish.

  • Laura says:

    My son saying thank you for something simple I did , completely unprompted yesterday. Lovely!

  • laura jean says:

    I had a new friend over for the first time today, and it went better than I could have hoped for! I’m new to my area, and it’s been hard to make friends, but to have someone over who shared in common with me a struggle we both are experiencing within ourselves was more affirming and encouraging than I could have imagined!

  • Nicole says:

    I’ve been recovering from surgery, and my husband (despite having a higher-than-normal workload and prepping for a marathon on Sunday) has lovingly helped with everything from making dinner, cleaning up dinner, walking the dog, washing my feet, and helping me put on socks. It is a picture of gospel love in action!

  • Sarah says:

    My lovely moment was skyping my fiancé who is away right now with the Army. Those moments are so rich and special to me.

  • Chris says:

    It was my birthday on Monday and my husband had my mom recreate my wedding bouquet! (We also just celebrated 5 years of marriage.) It was especially sweet to me because they worked out the idea together and I am so blessed that my mom and husband (my two best friends) love each other, too!

  • Jenna O says:

    I have been dating one perfect guy for a few months and now we decided to make it official. Im so happy 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I got a surprise bonus from my boss this week. He wrote a very kind net as well letting me know that I am doing a great job.

    Thank you for this opportunity to win a fabulous book!


  • Christy J says:

    I was finally able to come out the other side from a 6 day long fight with a BAD anxiety/panic attack that just wouldn’t give up. I also decided to share w my friends what’s been going on, and I was so heart-glowingly surprised by the support I received.

  • Janel says:

    My oldest is only 2 1/2 yrs old but she is the most naturally empathetic person I’ve ever met! So in touch with her feelings and those of others. This week I asked her if she was tired, and she said, “No, I’m not tired. I’m just happy.”

    But my favorite lovely moment this week was finding earthworms and a little frog in our front yard and letting her hold them. Watching little ones discover God’s world renews my appreciation for His genius and goodness. Yay summer.

  • Justine says:

    My lovely moment this week: Sending and receiving encouraging text messages today from my parents living in another state. Much needed as this week has required a lot of soul searching.

  • Melissa B. says:

    After having a rough day at work, I was greeted at the door by my youngest. He is five, so the world is so simple to him. Upon seeing it was me at the door, he ran down the hall with arms outstretched to me, exclaiming, “Mama!!!!!”

    It was the best thing I could have come home to. We may have hugged for a few minutes because that innocent, true happiness, and unconditional love just had to be soaked up and cherished. My dreary day immediately seemed to be wonderful instead.

    Thanks for your posts, Sharon. I enjoy reading your articles. Can’t wait to read this book, too!

  • Katherine says:

    I had two of my students from school run up to me after church. I didn’t know that they were there, but they were happy to see me. It made me feel good about the work God is helping me to do!

  • Sharon says:

    Congratulations to Melissa, who won a free copy of Looking for Lovely! I wish I could have given a copy to you all, but I hope you will check it out. xo!

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