The Art of Being Broken Open

So often the notion of being “broken-hearted” is negative. It’s the thing nobody wants, the passed over gift at the white elephant, the untouched dish at the potluck. If you have a broken heart and show it you are often avoided because nobody wants what you’re having. When I read our theme for this month, my first thought was, I don’t want to write about that. But the more I thought about it, the more I had to, but not about heartbreak and what we go through — but what comes out of it.

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Be Broken No More

Life comes with a load of brokenness. Depending on the season we’re walking through, sometimes our haul is manageable and other times we find ourselves huffing from exhaustion. Brokenness comes in many different forms and takes on personas we hoped it never would. I’ve experienced brokenness lately in an array of different shapes and sizes, each carrying its own burden. A few weeks ago I received a rejection letter for a fellowship I applied for. That thing took every little piece of me. I had never worked so hard at something and to see it all fall away is hard to accept.

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The Prayer of the Heart

I still remember the last time I held his hand and watched him sleep. Told him I loved him, not knowing when I would see him again. Although it might seem like I'm talking about a breakup, and this same situation has happened before in my love life, I'm talking about another kind of love. Almost four years ago, I lost my grandfather. Growing up, my dad's parents were a second set of parents for my brother and me. When my parents needed a well-deserved break, for all of our recitals and sporting games, every holiday and birthday and really any day in between, my grandparents were always there.

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The Day My Marriage Broke My Heart

I remember sitting on the bed, six months pregnant with our second son, feeling as if my world had stopped. This person who had promised to love me for the rest of our lives just told me he wouldn’t choose me. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. My heart was broken that day. My dreams for the future seemed so very far away. What was I supposed to do? I felt so very, very unloved. And yet, I had made a commitment to love this man for the rest of my life. How could I love someone who didn’t love me back? I made the choice to honor my covenant, even when it hurt so very much. Even when I wanted to leave. Even when he wasn’t honoring his.

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Series Introduction: Heartbreaks & Band-Aids

Hearts are the very source of life. It keeps blood, character and passion pumping through our veins. Our hearts beat with love for that which brings us joy — and, for the moments that inspire us beyond measure. Although it’s an organ with so much strength and capacity for happiness, it is no stranger to the slightest bit of pain. The human heart is incredible but yet, it can be frail and unsteady at times. I’d like to believe every emotion we feel stems from the heart. Think about it — in times of utter excitement, it feels as if your heart could explode. Or, in a moment of hurt, the heart feels heavy and burdened.

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Burn Survivor Wears Her Crown with Victory

Scars, both physical and emotional don’t have to be a negative reminder of pain. Their very image shows the body’s strength and resilience. Dawn Monique Brown has bore her scars with confidence for the last 14 years after a traumatizing allergic reaction. While this experience altered her life forever, Dawn has claimed her victory — scars and all. Back in 2004, Dawn paid a visit to see the doctor about her cold — or, so she thought. She was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given medication to take for the next two weeks. Unfortunately, her symptoms worsened and she returned to the doctor.

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Once a Victim, Now a Victor

Roughly three years ago, I faced one of the darkest times of my life. I was finishing up college in a beautiful mountain town just two hours from home. I flourished here. I found out a lot about myself I hadn’t known before and I felt so strong, so independent. Then, one night, everything changed. I am struggling to tell you this because this is a story I have never told publicly — and most definitely never in writing in such detail. But, Crowned Chics is a place for honesty and I promise to always communicate with you in a real way. OK, here it goes…

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Fighting for Happiness Amidst Anxiety

I am a firm believer that you cannot fully enjoy life without struggle. After all, the struggle makes the good parts in life that much better. While attending Northern Arizona University, I ran into a lot of mental health issues. Long days of classes, homework, work, and bad relationships quietly snuck up on me and before I knew it, I was in a downward spiral I couldn’t make my way out of. Restless nights and constant knots in my stomach kept me from seeing things clearly and everyone around me knew there was something deeper going on — especially my parents. After sitting down one spring afternoon and opening up to them about my current struggles, it was clear I needed help.

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Choosing a Lifestyle of Body Positivity

I can remember looking into the mirror saying the most mean things to myself. I truly felt unworthy of love. I felt alone, friendless, ugly and trapped in my own body. Disorders do NOT have a look. I did not look unhealthy, or unhappy. I looked fine. I acted fine. I did not look like I was starving my body of nutrients or binging late at night because I was so hungry. I did not look like I was sad. I became the master of "I’m fine."

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Finding Victory from Fear

Fear is sneaky. It creeps in when you least expect it. It tags along when it is most unwelcome. It shows up when you are dealing with loss, with grief, with frustration, with pain. Fear knows no boundaries. It is no respecter of persons. Rich people fear. Poor people fear. Men fear. Women fear. The educated fear. The uneducated fear. It doesn’t matter what religion, what race, what your family looks like, what town you live in — fear will try to find its way in.

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New Girl No More

While I’d always considered myself a friendly person, it was pretty intimidating starting high school and seeing cliques had already formed. Many students already knew each other from middle school. I was that new girl I’d never wanted to be. I bounced around from group to group that entire year, but nothing felt exactly right. I was never quite happy. After feeling sorry for myself for a while that summer, I promised myself sophomore year would be different.

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The 'Why' Behind the Struggle

I’ve always been a worrier. Even when I was little, I would periodically go through different habits and quirks that helped me deal with the anxious feelings I experienced. It didn’t feel like anything abnormal, so I never considered it a unique issue. I worried. So what? I dealt with it. Well, then, I had my first panic attack. In May of 2017, just hanging out at my house, I started to feel like something was wrong. I was shaking, I felt all tingly, and my heart rate seemed to be racing. I was convinced my heart was giving out or something similar.

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Series Introduction: She is Victorious

Pause for a moment to recall a time in your life where you came out victorious. Remember how you felt, what thoughts were running through your head, how did you suddenly view the struggle you conquered? Did you take a sigh of relief? Did you find yourself standing a bit taller? Victory has a way of boosting our confidence in a way nothing else ever could. Holding that trophy of triumph feels so good after trudging through a difficult season. It’s easy to look at the struggle with a smirk when we’re standing on top of it. Although in the midst of the battle, what keeps us going? Behind every victorious woman is a story... 

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Nikki CharnstromComment
Lipstick Artist Creates Beauty with Every Kiss

At the sight of a kiss print, you might feel an overwhelming amount of positivity, passion or even empowerment. It symbolizes femininity and beauty — a mark usually given out of love and adoration. This is the mission behind every work of art Alexis Fraser creates from her vibrant collection of lipsticks. Residing in Sarasota, Florida, Alexis has been working at her craft since 2012 when she was first challenged to create a portrait of Marilyn Monroe using a nontraditional artistic method. Using shades of lipstick and her kiss prints, she suddenly found a technique to be proud of. This moment in time, six years ago, is what motivated Alexis to launch an entire art brand called “Lipstick Lex.”

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What's in a Name

Naming my kids was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. How do you choose what a child will be called her entire life? How do you know from the moment you look at him, what name will fit his personality? It is a huge responsibility to choose what name a child will answer to, what name she will write on every form, what name she will speak over herself every day for the rest of her life. “Hi, I’m…” I believe there is power in a name. What is spoken over you matters. The words you use are incredibly valuable, and a person’s name is spoken over them again and again from birth until death.

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Adornment Isn't a Requirement

Sometimes, I think back to my college years, and I really want to apologize to my hair. In those days, I would never leave my dorm room without my hair and makeup done; sometimes, fixing and touching up my look multiple times a day. I was so convinced, on a campus where half of the population showed up to class in their pajamas, that I needed to look put together at all times. I have a little bit of an idea why I did this to myself and why so many of us put ourselves through so much beauty torture. Since we’re all friends here, I’ll let you in on a secret. I’m super self-conscious.

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Those Lies in Your Head Don't Know Beauty

I am sure you have been bombarded with all the clichés about self-love and how your truest form of beauty lies within. If you are like most women you might have even saved a motivational quote to your phone, laptop or printed it out and hung it to your wall. If you are like me, these reminders may sit on your heart — yet so many times I will forget they pertain to me. Many times I forget my own beauty. I fall into the trap of lies that I am not enough, or I am too much.

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God Defines Beauty, Not Me

Before I fell in love with Jesus and took the time to learn the truth about who He made me to be, I was always desperately searching for ways to become beautiful. I thought beauty was something to gain outwardly. Every morning I would wake up, watch YouTube tutorials on how to beautify my face (since I had no idea how to do makeup without assistance) and put on an outfit I had spent hours planning out over the weekend.

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No Makeup, No Worries

I recently participated in my first photo shoot. I’m definitely not a model, but I was happy to help our very own Crowned Chics founder Nikki Charnstrom with a project she was working on for Angelic Magazine. It wasn’t just any photo shoot, though. It was a photo shoot without *gasp* makeup — and I didn’t think twice about saying yes. Don’t get me wrong; I’m definitely a girl who loves her lip-gloss, eyeliner and more. I’m even that girl who brings my makeup to work in the morning, so I can put it on before everyone gets there and not be late for work — but there was definitely something empowering about not having to wear anything!

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For the Girl Who Feels Self-Conscious Without Makeup

You probably woke up this morning to begin your day just like any other — start a pot of coffee, brush your teeth, tame your wild, out-of-control hair, and cover your imperfections with concealer. You would argue there’s nothing wrong with your routine and at surface level, there isn’t. However, I’m here to tell you it’s OK if you don’t want to follow your daily routine to a tee. On those mornings you wake up unexcited about the time it’s going to take to put on a full face of makeup, guess what — YOU DON’T HAVE TO. I give you permission to use that extra 30 minutes or an hour to instead find something spiritually and emotionally fulfilling.

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