Hi sweet friends!
I feel like I’m walking into an old house, swiping at cobwebs and blowing dust off all our picture frames. How has it been SO long since we’ve hung out here on my blog!? I promise you, that’s going to change soon here. I have lots of fun things planned, and I can’t wait to share them with you!
But the first piece of big news that I have to share with you is that this is our very last Loveliest Things post here on my blog. I know that doesn’t sound like fun news, but it is because while I LOVE The Loveliest Things, I have something coming that I feel hits the heart of what we’re about much better. I can’t tell you what it is quite yet (I have some ducks to get in rows before I do), but I will soon. In the meantime, I want us to celebrate our very last Loveliest Things contributor and soak in her lovely reminders that the world is good, God is good, God is here, and there’s beauty to be found if we just take the time to see it.
So without any further ado, I want to introduce you to my new friend, Valerie Keinsley and her (and our very last) Loveliest Things.
Reading a book, taking a walk, sitting poolside, baking brownies, taking a nap. The Lord has totally done work in my heart over the last year and has taught me the value and the goodness in rest. In filling yourself up so you can pour out for others. In treating yourself well, and not as an afterthought. I feel most alive, most like myself, most able to give and serve and love from a cup that’s running over, when I intentionally pursue self-care. It’s worth it! And it’s truly lovely.
2. Everyday dates
Whether it’s a game of SkipBo at the kitchen table, curling up to watch an episode of Master Chef or walking around the neighborhood hand in hand, the everyday, ordinary, no-fuss dates with my husband are my favorite. Finding time to connect, to set our phones aside, to have a real conversation, to look each other in the eye, to unwind after our days. These are the moments I cherish so much, and the moments that make me so grateful for the gift of marriage.
3. Fresh flowers
There’s just something magical and luxurious about having fresh flowers in the house, isn’t there?! Whether it’s roses from your love or Queen Anne’s Lace picked from the side of the road or a perfectly mismatched, whimsical bunch from the Farmer’s Market, having fresh blooms in our home just fills me with joy. It makes me feel so fancy! And I smile every time I walk into the kitchen and see a rinsed out pickle jar filled with fresh-cut stems. I’m a flower lover for life. In fact, in another lifetime, maybe I’ll be a florist. That’s a secret dream of mine that actually isn’t a secret anymore because I just told the internet! So, there you go.
4. Morning quiet time
Sometimes it’s three minutes and sometimes it’s thirty, but starting my day in our ancient, oh-so-cozy blue recliner chair, wrapped up in a knit blanket clutching a hot cup of coffee, with prayer, the Word and gratitude sets the tone for my whole day. Before I pick up my phone. Before I check Instagram, email or my calendar. Before I sit down in my studio chair. Before I glance at my to-do list. Before I reminder how stressed I was the day before. Before I jump back into the never-ending rat race. A chance to take a deep breath, center myself, jot down a few things I’m grateful for, remind myself of God’s goodness and bigness and love. A chance to remind myself that it’s not what I do or make but who I am. That I am loved, without needing to strive or achieve. I absolutely feel a difference when I skip it!
5. A pretty studio
It’s a tiny space, but it’s filled with natural light, photos of my people and reminders of just how beautiful life is. It’s bright and colorful, and in the morning the sunlight illuminates every corner, making me so excited to walk in, set down my coffee and pull out my lists. It’s the one room in the house that is all mine, filled with my favorite colors, everything organized and in it’s place. I feel most creative within these four walls, most able to concentrate and dream and create. Essentially, it’s an office, a place to do work, but it feels like a retreat and a gift each and every day and for that I am so grateful!
Valerie Keinsley is a 25-year-old wife, a mama to a baby boy arriving any day and the Snuggler-in-Chief to a rescue dog named Scout. She lives right in the middle of flyover country, in her beloved home state of Indiana, where she loves working on + decorating her 100-year-old home, creating stationery for her shop Vallarina Creative and walking to the coffee shop downtown for iced vanilla lattes. You can usually find her without shoes and with a brownie in hand. She blogs about family, marriage, finance, and celebrating life at vallarinacreative.com/blog.