When Peace Comes Just Where You Are

A part of me would like to devote more time each day to writing. Perhaps this blog could  evolve into more of a true sanctuary, a safe pocket of peace where political, religious, and vocational identity markers could fall away and souls could rise to say to each other:


The space here could be decorated with less romantic bedroom decor and white kitchens in order to explore an alternative meaning of “tranquil interiors.” If I built it with peace, would people come?

Today, I’m sharing personal reflections and meditative photos snapped in my kitchen and in my favorite Japanese garden.

Sourdough bread on my Viatera quartz countertop. Come chat with me in the kitchen for When Peace Comes Just Where You Are. #sourdough #hellolovelystudio #merci #gratitude #faith #spirituality #peacefulliving

It still amazes me that so many of you read every single word I type. I know this because I can write a 1,500 word ditty about French country finds on Amazon and sneak in “July has not been kind to our family,” and I will receive: blessings in my inbox, prayers in the comments, and love sprinkled across media. I count this as a rich blessing; nothing less than manna from heaven.

Here’s the thing.

On certain days, the world can feel like a gravity of darkness.

Tending to our spirits helps.

 I so desire to lighten your load.

Hafez quote. I once asked a bird How is is that you fly in this gravity of darkness? She responded Love lifts me. #hafez #hellolovelystudio #encouragement #poetry #inspiringquote

Today I am sharing personal reflections from a remarkable morning on my journey toward wholeness a couple of summers back. It is worth revisiting. While it was the easiest thing to write (I just closed my eyes and allowed the words to fall from my heart), it took courage to publish something so random and raw. Most folks turn to the internet for quick fixes and problem resolution rather than imperfectly crafted expressions of deep calling deep.

Rumi quote. What you are seeking is seeking you. #rumi #inspiringquote #beautyquote #poetry #hellolovelystudio

Today, in particular, I needed to re-visit the words I wrote. Too many days I find I am only sleepwalking with amnesia for very real, very miraculous supernatural moments unfolding around me. I wonder if the reflections will turn your thoughts toward Holy communion or memories of moments when the light broke through for you?

No matter what your spiritual milieu, I hope you will sense I am only muddling through, not terribly wise, but sweetly open.

Photo of hands by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio and Rumi quote. Life is a balance of holding on and letting go. #hellolovelystudio #hands #rumi #encouragement #quote
Mom, Dad, my son, and me

My hope is that someone, somewhere out there, will taste the honey and sincerity of these words and feel a sense of peace.

I honor this quote from Mother Teresa I painted on a canvas many years ago. (That painting went to live with souls I love within this modern farmhouse I shared recently.)

It has me wondering. Can a humble blog post become an act of love and a work of peace?

Hello Lovely Studio painting with Mother Teresa quote (Every act of love is a work of peace) and model with distressed ripped jeans. #hellolovelystudio #art #motherteresa #beachy #rippedjeans

Bread, Beauty, and Healing

Yesterday was a tough day.

The days prior were not too lovely either.

But oh, this morning.

This morning, after a meditation sit,
I entered the kitchen and took one look at the beautiful sourdough
I baked last night, and all was well.

Sourdough bread stamped with "merci" by Hello Lovely Studio. #gratitude #hellolovelystudio #bread

This is the sourdough I have been making for
family and friends for almost 25 years.

A beautiful soul in St. Louis shared
the family recipe, and what a gift it is.

It doesn’t come together quickly.

There is a lot of waiting.
It begins with a starter, stored in the frig
and fed weekly to stay alive.

Lately I have been baking the bread in an old brioche pan
which helps it look more artisan.

Everybody here loves cinnamon bread so I usually bake a loaf of that too.

My sourdough rising in pans on the stove. #hellolovelystudio #sourdourgh #bread

I have had a love affair with dough my entire life.

During my childhood, my parents were busy in their career
as ministers and activists within The Salvation Army.

Waterfall at a Japanese garden.
Mom and Dad in the garden.

A family from Sweden in our neighborhood
who worked in the bakery downtown, took us kids under their wing
(I was allowed to help in the bakery’s kitchen where the magic happens!).

Michele of Hello Lovely Studio by Jody.
Photo by Jody Stella for Hello Lovely Studio

I remember being four years old and waking up one morning with fright
upon realizing I had forgotten to put my rising yeast dough
in the frig before bed.

As my 4-year old self rushed down the stairs,
I had this vision of discovering
the dough had risen all night long,
filling the entire volume of our little kitchen.

Sourdough bread cooling on a rack. #hellolovelystudio

This morning when I saw the bread, I saw beauty.
And because my spiritual container is Christianity,
I saw the bread of life, the body of Christ.

While it may have been just another Tuesday morning
for you, for me it was kitchen church where a
small miracle happened in my soul.

I sliced the loaf, and it smelled so delicious
I felt compelled to cut a heart shape
from a slice, with a cookie cutter.
But I could not locate a heart shaped cookie cutter in my drawer of
baking supplies…Instead, I glimpsed a MERCI cookie stamp
purchased at the Merci boutique in Paris a few years back.

Sourdough bread with a stamped 'merci' by Hello Lovely Studio.

As I stamped the slice, I sort of felt my
heart stamped with MERCI at the same time.
I took a bite and then came undone.

These pics with the Merci stamped bread
were snapped quickly on my iPhone
in that moment.

My sourdough bread on the counter. Hello Lovely Studio. #sourdough #hellolovelystudio

I hope gratitude comes easy for you.
I hope your heart is etched boldly with
m e r c i.

But please know some of us must
fight extra hard to recover it.

Photo by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio and Rumi quote. Love is the bridge between you and everything. #rumi #lovequote #hellolovelystudio #bridge

It’s not that we don’t want to live in it everyday.

We do. In our minds, we know it’s everything.

But sometimes a variety of hurts, human frailty, and hunger
braid together, creating a barrier through which we cannot pass.

Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. #domi #whitepajamas #HelloLovelyStudio
Photo by Jody Stella for Hello Lovely Studio

Sometimes depression is the barrier. Sometimes it is addiction. Sometimes it is shame.

It is often life’s twists and turns, the need to forgive,
anxiety, or unwellness of the mind and body
blocking the way.

My body and mind are healed, whole and healthy, without pain. #ahealingspirit #hellolovelystudio
These affirmation cards from A Healing Spirit are a balm.

Sometimes like the dough upon my kitchen counter, we must wait before we rise.

Sourdough rising in pans in my kitchen. Hello Lovely Studio.

As soon as I tasted the bread,
gratitude returned in a precious flow with tears.
I suddenly remembered so many highs and lows over
the quarter century this special family bread
has graced our lives…how the bread has become
a symbol of love and connection.

My whole being felt awash in light and mercy.

I glanced down at the kitchen floor and saw the
little feather above, which may be goose down
from a pillow…I’m not sure…and I thought about
all of the things which give their life or feathers
or labor or freedom or tears
for our comfort, for our joy…

Photo of ducklings at a Japanese garden by Hello Lovely Studio and quote by Rumi. Your legs will get tired - then comes a moment of feeling the wings you've grown, lifting. #rumi #encouragement #hellolovelystudio #ducklings

And this thought sent me spiraling into more
thankfulness and reverence for
the Divine DNA and Deep Mystery
inherent in every living thing.

Photo of bridge in a Japanese garden by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio and Rumi quote. Your heart knows the way - run in that direction. #rumi #quote #bridge #japanesegarden #hellolovelystudio


I am rich beyond measure with love,
and the reality of my wealth emerged
in one solitary bite of sacred sourdough.

Physically and emotionally, I have seen
easier times, where my heart was full
and dancing
with light.

Michele of Hello Lovely Studio.
Photo by Jody Stella for Hello Lovey Studio.

But today’s daily bread came in my brokenness.

Today’s bread is re-teaching me how it is
possible to transcend, to awaken, and to surrender
to a trustworthy love that longs to make me whole.

HOPE. Hold on pain ends. A photo of bronze sculptures in a Japanese garden by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. #hope #hellolovelystudio #quote #encouragement

After the spiritual breakfast of goodness,
I began to work on some re-organizing projects
long overdue.

And the work felt sacred.

This afternoon, the flow continued as our
family celebrated just the most beautiful good news.

Hafez quote and photo of duck by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. Now is the time to know that everything you do is sacred. #hafez #quote #hellolovelystudio #spirituality #nature

And see, I don’t ever want to keep  this flow to myself
because my heart is full of love for you…

so in every word of this
stream of consciousness post,
and even in the white space between them,
I am sending you peace.

Right where you are.

Rumi quote and photo of hands by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. The wound is the place where the light enters you. #rumi #healing #quote #hellolovelystudio #hands
I love these hands so much.
White Slipcovered Sofa
French Basket
Courtney Lamp Base
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Rustic Reclaimed Elm Cabinet
French Chaise
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Hand Carved 4 Door Sideboard
Black Metal Accent Table
Galvanized Console Table
Gabriel Chevron Quilt Set
Metal Martini Table
Marble Subway Backsplash in My Kitchen
French Wire Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
Gustavian Tub Chair
Handmade Sunburst Mirror
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp
Venetian Mirror
French Lidded Baskets
French Panel Mirror
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
Antique Chinese Weathered Bench
Helmsley Bronze Door Hardware
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Rococo Floor Lamp
Gertrude Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Colleen Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
White Ruffle Quilt Set
Avignon Coat Rack With Hooks
San Jose Handleset for Front Door
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Adele Dining Chair
Campaign Style End Table
Louis Upholstered Bench
Oak Laminate Flooring
Knotty Alder Interior Door
Alabaster 30″ Lamp
Louis Ghost Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Linen Dining Chair
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
PARIS Framed Print
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
Tulip Style Modern Round Dining Table
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Holborn Lantern Pendant
Rustic End Table
Faux Bois Candleholders
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Bridge Kitchen Faucet (Stainless)
Jute Area Rug
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
Venetian Etched Mirror (24″ x 36″)
White Ruffle Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Polished Carrara Subway Tile
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Belgian Style Lamp
Modern Farmhouse Lamp
White Slipcovered Sofa
Round Woven Placemat Set
Antiqued Sunburst Mirror
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
Boheme Madera Bench
Round Marble Side Table
Linen Slipcover Dining Chair
Wicker Patio Chair
Teak Farmhouse Stool

If you have a few more minutes, come chat in my kitchen where I just added a wonky industrial cart!


The news our family was celebrating that afternoon? Our eldest son, a high school English teacher at the time, was awarded a full scholarship to law school.


Mary Oliver poetry. It doesn't have to be the blue iris...it could be weeds in a vacant lot or a few small stones. Just pay attention...#maryoliver #poetry #quote #hellolovelystudio

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  1. Anne Nina Muss
    July 19, 2018 / 5:42 pm

    The answer to your question is, yes. Yes. It can.

  2. Susan
    July 20, 2018 / 1:45 am

    Good morning Michele
    Thank you so much for sharing your very valuable time in your thoughtful posts. You help me through my days. Much love, Susan x

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:38 am

      Good morning, friend. It feels good to help. Peace to you. 🙂

  3. Mimi
    July 20, 2018 / 5:15 am


  4. July 20, 2018 / 5:27 am

    This is beautiful. And yes, I do read every word, even when I don’t comment.
    FYI, the school where I taught in Africa was sponsored by the Salvation Army. It’s more than vintage clothes and Christmas Santas!
    There are many ways to make the world a better place. This blog is one.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:36 am

      Wow! The Salvation Army is dear to me, and my folks were in ministry for over 40 years. The reason my mother became involved with the organization? France. Her father, my grandfather was a teenaged soldier and part of the battalion in the Argonne Forest so pivotal in WWI. He was a very stern, tough, no nonsense man, and The Salvation Army made a positive impression on him in France because of the love and compassion shown through acts of kindness and mercy. Many years after the war, when he became a father, he allowed my mom to attend church services. My mother grew up to be an influential leader and though retired, is still ministering to thousands of folks! Thanks for reading and the encouragement – you’re a blessing to me.

  5. Suzanne Doin
    July 20, 2018 / 6:25 am

    Your words are an inspiration, very moving, very emotion filled, touching. Please, always, keep writing and sharing. Thank you!

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:22 am

      So happy to have you here and for the encouragement.

  6. Debbie
    July 20, 2018 / 6:41 am

    Isn’t that what blogging originally started out to be….a place to share thoughts and feelings and happenings? Now, though, you’re expected to entertain the masses with the latest decor or DIY. I don’t know how a person can do that on a consistent schedule and not lose the enjoyment of blogging in the process.

    Though I do look forward to your posts, always finding something to pin, I’ve wondered how you can keep on. The research required, time spent in front of a computer, on so many sites….! You lose yourself!

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I don’t know what you’re facing, but I DO know in whose hands your family is. Peace to you, Michele….right where you are!

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:21 am

      Blogging has certainly become many things other than a daily diary. Forbes predicted it years ago. Blogs and brands would begin to be indistinguishable. One of the tricky parts for me has been blogging about what I am interested in versus blogging about what my audience seems to want. I have varied interests that cannot be contained in a short list of blog topics. Also, I need to be out in nature to feel balanced so time unplugged is a must. I’m grateful for your feedback and peace.

  7. Judy Mearing
    July 20, 2018 / 7:16 am

    God Bless you and keep you. God gave you peace right where you are.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:12 am

      Peace to you. 🙂

  8. Darcel
    July 20, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I’ve read your blog infrequently, just sort of skimming through looking at pictures. With posts such as this I will visit more often. I needed this. Others need this. Pretty pictures are pretty, but what you’ve written is beyond that. It’s a blessing. And yes, people will come.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:11 am

      I’m grateful for the feedback. Thanks so much for your support.

  9. Lynn
    July 20, 2018 / 7:31 am

    Thank you. And yes it can.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 8:10 am

      Thanks for reading, friend.

  10. Anna
    July 20, 2018 / 8:44 am

    I’ve signed up for daily Bible verses in my email inbox. I read your posts nearly every day.

    Today both the Bible verse and your post have been as if God Himself said “This is what you need to make it through today’s special trials. These are the words from my own Son and another child of mine, that will help you in your times of uncertainty.”

    …..and God Himself actually DOES know what to provide.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 9:16 am

      What a beautiful outlook, full of trust and surrender. Thank you for inspiring me.

  11. Cristie
    July 20, 2018 / 9:08 am

    Your Words are your Mission to Many.. God’s message comes in the light of your words! May God’s Peace be Always with you

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 9:13 am

      Oh that I may shrink so the light can shine brighter! So grateful for your kindness.

  12. July 20, 2018 / 9:25 am

    You write so thoughtfully Michele! Thank you for sharing your personal journey because it helps everyone reading it! Very special, I don’t know many four year olds who bake bread❤️

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Hahaha. Supervised by professionals though! I was a sassy girl with a giant imagination. 🙂

  13. July 20, 2018 / 11:34 am

    Oh, Michelle, this is so lovely! I am going to allow your thoughts and words to bathe my heart and mind this morning before I start out on my day. Thank you so very much.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      You honor me. Thank you for reading with such a lovely open heart. xox

  14. Mary
    July 20, 2018 / 12:06 pm

    I am sending you a hug and whispering a prayer into your ear. Keep moving forward with that blessed bravery He has given to you. Beautiful post, words from such a beautiful soul. You are a daily gift as you mirror His sweet heart. And never forget that the best is yet to come.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      The best is yet to come! I can count on your wise whispering and prayers, and I don’t take any of it for granted. THANK YOU, beautiful soul.

  15. Kathy
    July 20, 2018 / 1:52 pm

    What you write is beautiful, Michele. Your personal observations/stories always bring me peace. I thank God that I “stumbled” across your blog one day. Though, I must admit, I believe that His hand is always guiding us to what we need. God bless you and your family.

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 3:47 pm

      A beautiful thought relating to stumbling to guidance – thank you for this food for thought, and thank you for reading. 🙂

  16. Karol
    July 20, 2018 / 3:54 pm

    Just wonderful and so lovely!

    • michele
      July 20, 2018 / 4:16 pm

      So kind of you to take the time to read – thank you. 🙂

  17. Marilynn
    July 20, 2018 / 5:09 pm

    Thank you for your lovely thoughts..everyone has trials in life which can bring bring him/her down, but God never gives us anything to bear that He doesn’t also give us the power to overcome and rise above. Believe in Him, and our Savior will lift you up, and grant you His Eternal Peace.


  18. Karen H.
    July 21, 2018 / 8:52 am

    Thank you Michele for sharing your tender words with us. Your writings bring peace to my soul, and the pictures are so beautiful. Clearly, the posts you pin speak to so many here. The love of Christ shines brightly through your words. Congrats to your son! Xoxo

    • michele
      July 21, 2018 / 12:56 pm

      Thank you so much, Karen. So happy to have you here adding another layer of lovely. xox

  19. July 23, 2018 / 10:35 am

    Good morning my friend,

    I would love your blog in any form because each post is infused with your spirit, kindness and energy. I might comment on every post but I enjoy them all, especially the ones like this!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    • michele
      July 23, 2018 / 10:45 am

      I feel the same about your blog! You’re such a bright light at a time the internet can feel awfully unfriendly and even lonely. Thank you, beautiful soul for the encouragement and support. xox

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