Hi. My name is Amanda and I am Annie Downs‘ #1 fan. With every word she writes, I want to call her up and invite her to dinner because we have so much in common and I feel like we would be the best of friends. In a totally non-creepy way, of course.
After finishing Remember God, I swapped books with a friend of mine. And when she, too, got hooked on Annie, she purchased two more from her repertoire and gifted me with the first she finished: Looking for Lovely.
I remember her text when she was about halfway through: “I wish you could’ve read this book eight months ago.” I couldn’t wait.
Divided into three sections, her first section lists heartbreaking titles, like checkboxes set ‘just so’ to mark my story thus far:
- COCAINE (I identified with this one the most! She recounts watching an admission from a cocaine addict and realizes her own addiction — not to drugs, but food.)
Three chapters end in a quest to find beauty; to look for lovely in everything.
“There is a correlation, I’m finding, between beauty and perseverance. It feels like beauty might be knots in the rope you are climbing, gas stations along the cross-country journey, the water stations strategically set up on a racecourse. Beauty is what makes it possible to keep going.”
–Annie Downs, Looking for Lovely
This might explain why I’ve been devouring books and podcasts; why I’ve settled into sponge-self, soaking up all the inspiration, encouragement, and beauty I can get my hands on.
I’m reminded of a surreal Forrest Gump-esque moment I had in Akumal a couple of months ago. One of my most favorite expressions of self-care is a quiet time in the morning and we had a beautiful balcony with a table & chairs + a soaking tub that overlooked palm trees and wispy wind-swept clouds in the Mexico sky. So, even on our anniversary vacation, I was determined to hold this time sacred.
On October 11, I used my journal and camera to capture an odd moment —
The strangest thing just happened as I’m sitting on our patio in 86% humidity. These small, white feathers floated through the air. Birds are always chirping and screeching here, but there was no sign of a scuffle. And yet, I looked up to see them falling in front of me, drifting with the slight breeze — one by one, like snowflakes.
It’s weird, right? I know these were feathers falling in the middle of nature, but something about it felt significant. Lovely! I’ve seen it. I know it exists.
I am determined to continue carving out time to look for more moments like these. Not just hoping, on the off-chance, I might catch them, but expecting. It’s just a question of when.
And, as we notice more lovely in the world, we might even surprise ourselves by noticing more lovely close to home: in others, in our own thoughts, and maybe even in the mirror.