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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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