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August 9, 2016

Officially Streetlights at Midnight

You may have noticed that KV Designs has suddenly (though not so suddenly on my end ;) become Streetlights at Midnight. Streetlights at Midnight existed briefly on its own last year and then morphed into just one big collection at KV Designs. But now at long last, my cards, prints, and printables have taken over and morphed into one big shop and I am so happy!

Can you walk into a store, browse the card aisle, and find a card specifically to encourage someone who's dealing with a chronic illness? Nope. Even though an astounding number of people (I am finding more and more and more...) deal with some form of chronic health problems, invisible or not. And while you can't find Streetlights at Midnight cards in a retail store (for now! ;) you can find them in my Etsy shop.


The lack of chronic illness cards out there is reason enough for this shop to now exist. But combine that with the fact that chronic illness is very isolating (I would know this well) and the fact that I've gathered that it's very difficult to know how to help someone you care about who's dealing with such issues, and the need for Streetlights at Midnight is all the more apparent.


So we've got:
  • A gaping whole in the market
  • The chronically ills' need for encouragement
  • The eternal question of how to help
Problem solved! :)


There's a secret about helping those we care about who are going through any kind of trial that took me a long time to realize was a secret. It's that saying, "I don't know what to say," is a good thing. I think that often, people want to help but because they don't know how or don't know what to say, for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing, they do nothing. *Insert game show buzzer.* Wrong choice.


I promise. If you want to help but don't know what to say or do, a card that says just that is perfect. And once you send it, you can check out this post for more ideas or good ol' Google it. There are many posts on the subject by people like me who realize how tricky it is to help.


At Streetlights at Midnight, in addition to cards focused on faith and chronic illness, you'll find cards for every occasion, like birthdays, anniversaries, and just because, and more broad encouragement cards that can apply to more than illness. And extra perk: these printed cards are 5x7" so they can easily be framed for continued enjoyment!


Even better, all the cards in the shop are also available as digital downloads! One (really small) price gets you the image that you can print over and over however and as many times as you want. (You just can't sell it, 'hear?)


In addition to greeting cards, in my shop you'll also find original quote printables, many of which focus on Chronic Illness, that I've attempted to condense into three categories: Faith, Life, and Love.







I'm very excited to say that each of the quote printables will soon be available in printed form also! In the meantime, if there is a printable or two that you really want in printed form but can't wait, please just message me and I will set up a custom listing for you!

And an extra tidbit: I was honored to be interviewed recently by my new friend Kami at Living Grace about life with chronic illness and my two shops, and if you're interested in either of those and snagging a limited time sale or two, I highly recommend you check it out! :)

I'll leave you now with the new Streetlights at Midnight commercial ;) and please feel free to browse around the shop and find something for yourself and also something to encourage someone you care about.

Follow Streetlights at Midnight:

June 14, 2016

Drops of Summertime Has Arrived!

I thought I was excited about my Spring Collection at Katya Valera in March, but I think I am even more excited about the Summer Collection, and it is officially now available for purchase in the shop!


"Drops of Summertime" is inspired by the quintessential moments of summer days and nights, from beach breezes to campground stargazing. 

Cirrus Sky necklace | $30

Honey Strands convertible bracelet/necklace | $40.50

Sunbeams earrings | $23

Sea Moss earrings | $22.50

Golden Waves earrings | $25

That's right--each piece is inspired by one of summer's most-loved events, elements, and memories, and you can find your favorite moment in the 35 necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in silver, gold, gunmetal, and bronze. I'm sharing just a few of my favorites here, but you can of course see them all on Etsy.

Watermelon necklace | $37.50

Iris necklace | $40.50

Sea Breeze bracelet | $33

Fruit Salad bracelet | $39

Sunkissed necklace | $54

Tea Party necklace | $48

Lemon Meringue necklace | $46

Pool Blue earrings | $24

Strawberry Picking necklace | $42

There are so many more not pictured here, so be sure to check out the rest of the collection in my shop!

Which is your favorite? See them all here!

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June 8, 2016

Are You Forfeiting the Extra Value of Your Prayers?

When someone you care about is sick, especially chronically, it is often difficult to know how to help. And I have said before and will continue to say that one of the absolute best ways you can help, and maybe even the best way, is by prayer.

I know I am still quite sick and we have a long way to go toward my optimal health. But I can now look back at specific points of my past and realize that I am truly better now than I was then. And that is because of the treatments I am doing for all of my body's many issues, but they are only working because God is allowing them to. He is answering all of our prayers for these treatments to work.

And while these treatments continue, my days are still full of ups and downs, but they hold far more moments of encouragement than they have in years past. Because not only am I improving the most obviously that I ever have but I am also being told fairly often that people are praying for me. Whether it's my grandmother telling me that an old family friend tells her every time he sees her that he's praying for me, or a fellow church member informing my husband that he prays every day that 2016 is my year, or a mother telling me that all of the children in her huge family pray for me every night. I know that every single one of those prayers is heard and that they are all effectual in my healing process. And I cannot help but be encouraged, at least smile and shake my head in amazement, and sometimes even cry when I hear these statements.

Here's the thing: I know that even if I were not aware of all of these prayers, they would still be "doing their job." I know God would still hear them--I am sure there are plenty of others praying for me that I don't know about--and I would still be just as far along in healing as I am now.

But here's the bigger thing: if I were not aware of all of these prayers, I know I would not be nearly as encouraged.

I very rarely get to go to church. I rarely get to go to weekly Bible study. So when Daniel comes home from these things, he patiently gives me the play-by-play of what I missed. And when he walks in the door and there I am balled up in the recliner, too dizzy to move, my muscles screaming in pain, wearing baggy clothes and days' worth of unshoweredness, upset that I once again was not able to go no matter how much I had been planning on it, and he tells me that ten people prayed out loud for me at Bible study that night ... it's an amazing thing. It is priceless.

Let me be clear: prayer is incredibly powerful. It brings us closer to God and it's a chance for us to intercede for others. But I feel very strongly that in many cases we are forfeiting half our intercessory prayers' value by not letting those we're praying for know that we are. Prayers without letting who you're praying for know that they're prayed for are just as powerful. But we're losing an extra level of value: encouraging the person to know that someone cares enough to remember to pray for them. The people who receive the effects of your prayer will still be grateful for what God is doing, but they will also be extra encouraged to know that you're praying. It shows them that they are seen, that their suffering is not ignored by everyone around them, and that they are cared about.

I don't think I have ever been prayed for by as many people as I am since we moved to a new state and found our church. Or maybe that's not really the case and it's just that now people are telling me that they're praying in addition to doing so. But either way, I am astronomically more encouraged because I have been made aware of their prayers.

If there's someone you're faithfully praying for (especially if they've requested it) but you've never said anything to indicate that ... as far as they can tell, you don't care about their suffering at all.

Praying for those you care about is a priceless way to help them--but why not double the value by encouraging them with the knowledge that they are being prayed for?

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May 3, 2016

Summer 2016 KV Wishbox

It's that time again! I'm so excited to announce that Katya Valera's Summer 2016 handmade jewelry subscription box, KV Wishbox, is now available!


The Summer Collection that you'll get to browse is called Drops of Summertime, and it's inspired by the quintessential moments of summer days and nights, from beach breezes to campground stargazing. 

Just like with the Spring KV Wishbox, purchasing this box lets you browse this upcoming Summer Collection weeks early at a huge (and I mean huge) discount! (We're talking a savings of as much as $100 with three purchased wishes depending on the items, as opposed to buying them individually once the full collection is available for individual sale.) You'll get the option of purchasing one, two, or three wishes, and then you'll get to browse the new Summer online catalogue to your heart's content. When you're ready, you'll make three wishes--for the three pieces you want most--and then you'll receive however many of those wishes you purchased. So best bet? Buy three wishes so you know you'll receive all the pieces you love!

And if you love more than 3? No worries--all the pieces will be available when the full collection hits the shelves on Etsy on June 13th.

There are a few important changes to the box this season. When you purchase a box, you'll get to browse all of the pieces--you won't have to choose between gold/bronze and silver/gunmetal. So even more options for you! There are only 7 boxes available. And once an item is claimed (both wished for and granted), it's no longer available to be wished for--so only one granted wish per item. The summer box is only available until May 29th, and of course the early bird really gets the worm (or at least has the most options!) with this one, so getting on this box right away is definitely a good idea!

I am extra excited about this collection--you'll just have to take my word for it--and I highly recommend taking advantage of this season's Wishbox so you can see all 35 pieces for yourself! Read all about KV Wishbox at its website, and get your box in my shop here!

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April 21, 2016

Why "Everything in Moderation" Is Ridiculous

If you spend any amount of time on social media, particularly Facebook, you've probably (hopefully) noticed articles sharing how studies have found that refined sugar causes cancer, that gluten is harmful, and that lots of other "foods" we Americans know well are actually causing all sorts of sickness and disease... and in my opinion, all for good reason. Where there's smoke there's fire. I follow lots of pages and people that share such information and, with good reason, I've found I believe much of it.

You realize everyone used to think smoking was harmless, right? Now we laugh at such ignorance. How do we know in a few years (or for some of us, now) we won't find that there are things we're consuming on a daily basis that are causing cancer and all sorts of diseases?

In short, if something was found to cause cancer, why on earth would you put it in your body? And yet ... our society continues to. Why? Because it's familiar. It's comfortable. And in our puzzling human minds somehow familiar = safe. Which is terrifyingly inaccurate. See smoking example above.

So back to all these articles being proliferated throughout social media ... I can't help taking a few seconds to glance over their comments. There will always be the people that agree, then the people that lament how "everything" causes cancer so we might as well just ignore all findings and eat whatever we want (yeah, have fun with that...), and then there are always, always the people who impart their golden rule of "Everything in moderation," with sentiments like "You only live once, so you might as well enjoy it," following close after.

Such a view as "everything in moderation" bothers me greatly. And I'm beginning to figure out why. I've boiled it down to three reasons.

The more I learn about mainstream medicine versus alternative medicine, the more I see how looked down on and stereotyped alternative medicine is. And yet I also see just as clearly how hope-filled and, for lack of a better word, miraculous the latter is. Like it is little short of buried gold--buried in the big-bucks world of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies making customers out of patients. And yet I also see one more thing: how Americans as a whole seem to be pretty oblivious. And they also seem to prefer it that way. Why? Because in regards to life as they know it, even if they're "just" having to nap every day or dealing with weekly migraines or hardly able to walk from arthritis or tied to the bathroom with malfunctioning insides, they think that in theory they want to get better. Who wouldn't? But in reality, they only want to do so in the ways that are familiar to them, that in the past few decades have become so doggone second nature even though we've all learned the hard way that they're not actually helping. They would rather take a pill that claims eased symptoms but never a healed cause. Or two. Or twelve. Because that's just how it is, don't you know? And they would rather run to get a burger or two and a large fry and their diet pop after they pick up their prescriptions because that's just how it is, don't you know?

I grew up in that world, I've eaten fast food a billion times in the past, I've been on antidepressants and muscle relaxers and special pain medicine in the past, like most of the country evidently. But I've learned and I know better now. I know the above is "how it is" just as much as anyone. But I also now know that's not how it should be. And I can do something about it ... so ... I do.

So heaven forbid we pull our heads out of the familiar sand, do some research, and actually come to terms with these earth-shattering findings on gluten and sugar and all their friends being bad for us. Because that's just how things are.

"Everything in moderation." Think about the sweeping acceptance of that phrase: how does it feel? All warm, fuzzy, and content, with a nothing-is-off-limits, all-forgiving lenience. It's a feel-good cop out for people who deep, deep down feel guilty when they're enlightened by newly (or maybe even not newly) found truth but don't have the gumption to do anything about it. It makes them feel better, and not just better but justified even. It's a lot easier to accept everything, in moderation, than draw the line anywhere.

But I have to ask: If this rule is good enough for your eating habits, why not apply it to your whole life? If everything really is fine in moderation, cancer-causing qualities aside, then why not have a little poison in your food now and then--not straight up, or every day, but just a little sprinkled on your food every week or so? What's the harm if it's in moderation? Surely all the non-poisoned food you're eating will just balance it out.

And why draw the line at what we eat? Why not steal a purse or some lipstick in moderation ... you know, once a month or so? Or why not shoot yourself, in moderation? Crazy, right? Pardon the extreme comparisons, but you see my point: If something is known to be wrong or, further, harmful, doing it in moderation really isn't much different than doing it faithfully. You eat poison, you'll at best be deathly ill. You shoplift once, good chance you'll find your rear-end in jail. One bullet can kill as well as a few. You get my point. So why would you eat something "now and then," you know, just once a week or so, that is proven to be harmful?

And I cannot help but draw this correlation: If everything is fine in moderation, why not sin in moderation? Surely just doing what you know is wrong once in a while, you know, on a special occasion or after a long day isn't harmful. And yet ... sin is sin. It doesn't matter if you only did it once or every now and then--that doesn't make it good, or at best harmless.

Since, after all, we only live once, and if that rule is good for determining what we eat, why not let that determine everything we do in life? Just lie in moderation. Just look at porn in moderation. Just cheat in moderation. Apply the moderation rule to the rest of your life, and watch your world crumble. Along with your compromised body.

All of this to say, if "everything in moderation" is your warm-and-fuzzy rule, please think about its implications. Are you going with that thought just because it keeps your familiar world familiar, if deadly, and because it's easy and lets you, in your mind, off the hook to ignore the warnings out in the open for you to heed? Would you actually apply that rule to your whole life? And Christians, would you let everything else slide in life just because it's comfortable and common?

How about new rule: Great things often, good things occasionally, and bad things never. I promise you won't starve, and your body will thank you.

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