Last year I signed up for the B&H Blogger's program. It sounded like fun to read books and then get to review them. Right up my alley. And then... life got busy, other things took precedent, and I never really go down to reviewing books. They sent me a few, and I failed, horribly.
But life is about redemption, am I right? Last month, I saw the email from the blogging team, and requested a copy of Looking For Lovely by Annie F. Downs. So yes, this is a review of a book I got for free from B & H, but the words are definitely my own. Now Annie is someone I've enjoyed for a long time! I've always loved her writing style. It's so candid and down to earth. I loved her book Let's All Be Brave, and Looking For Lovely didn't disappoint either, in fact, I may have enjoyed it even more!
Annie encouraged me to really seek out joy in my own life, to come to terms with some things, and to see to be more complete, more the woman God created me to be. In this book, Annie share about her body image struggles, something I can definitely relate to. She writes how, when she found Zumba, she finally found an exercise she actually enjoyed. Something that gave her joy, and made her feel good about herself: "I could feel that God was restoring things to me-- confidence in myself and my body, gratitude for how He made me" (p.124).
I have been on a very similar journey, as of late. Back in March, I happened upon a Pilates challenge and took it on a whim. Since then, I've found something that I'm excited to wake up and do each morning. I'm excited, because I love doing it, and I can also feel myself getting stronger and more confident through the process, more the woman God created me to be, not someone hiding behind body image issues, but free, lovely, joyful.
Annie brought such words of encouragement in her book. I found myself seeking out moments of lovely in my own life, sunshine, dancing with my children, the details at a Ladies Tea at my church. It's all so beautiful, and I'm blessed to live such a life. Here encouraging voice and easy reading style was exactly what I needed during this crazy season of my life. So yes, pick up Annie's book when you get the chance and be encouraged :)