Posts tagged real stories
How Vulnerability Saved My Life 

For me, there was no way to write this article without adequately paying homage to the master of understanding and embracing vulnerability: Brené Brown. Four years ago, I was sitting in the office of a psychologist as he tried to break down my outer protective shell and figure out exactly why I was there. Sure, I felt out of control, was dating someone who was damaging my mental and physical health, and was working over 30 hours a week plus taking a 19-credit course load, but “I was fine.” Sitting in the doctor’s office that first day, I was so nervous. He told me to look up a researcher/storyteller/general badass named Brené Brown and that she had a particularly great Ted Talk about vulnerability.

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Affirmations of Others Cannot Measure Your Potential

Everyone has potential. We excel in different fields, but there is a place for each of us to succeed. When measuring out our potential, the greatest influence often comes from the observations and opinions of those we respect. If our boss says we have potential to move up in the company, our perception of our potential brightens. We strive for affirmation and encouragement from the experts. The problem is that human observation and opinion are often flawed. People make judgements based on subjective experiences, which don’t always lead to the best instincts about others. Basing our level of potential and worth on someone else's views can misguide us or even cause us to lose sight of our goals amidst our need to impress.

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Nikki Openly Shares Her Heart, Struggles, Vision

It was at this time last year our founder, Nikki Michelle Charnstrom embarked on the incredible journey that is Crowned Chics. By following the Lord’s leadings, Nikki made this dream a reality when she launched the website on May 1, 2018. In celebration of the year-long victory, our founder created a heartfelt, honest message just for you. In this video, Nikki reveals some never-before-shared thoughts, revelations and hopes for the future. Through opening up about recent struggles, Nikki also gives a word of encouragement you need to hear. After all, Crowned Chics is about YOU and for YOU.

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Grace in Which I Stand

In my much younger, teenage years my greatest desire was to belong and be longed for. I found confirmation in the acceptance of others and their displays of love towards me, whether genuine or not. From wearing my one pair of clearance Abercrombie and Fitch shorts (because I was too cheap to buy an actual pair of pants) to carrying my school books in a purse rather than a backpack, I was desperate to be seen like every other “cool” girl. Come freshman year of college, seemingly all of that changed.

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Threads of Identity

Identity is at the very core of who you are. It’s what makes you… well, you. How you identify yourself shapes your personality, your “look”, and ultimately your heart. From a young age you have had the choice to become and grow into the person you hope to be. Of course, over the years your idealistic self changes and evolves. That’s natural, healthy even. Although, there is one thread of your identity that can never be pulled, ripped or frayed. This seam is strong and without give. The best part is, it exists within you and me.

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Why God Must Be at the Center of Our Quest for Identity

Growing up, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about my identity. I didn’t sit at home and ponder why I was the way I was. I didn’t spend much time contemplating my decisions or trying to be a certain way. I was just me. For the most part, I really liked who I was. But as an adult, I began to process my identity more and more. Why did I act a certain way? Why did people say hurtful things about me? Why did that situation bother me so much? Why was I the way I was? What was my identity?

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Stop with the Negative Self-Talk

For the month of April, I did 30 days of prayer and fasting. I focused on trying to find my identity in Christ and figure out where my relationship with God is. If I’m being honest, it has been a struggle. Finding my identity in Christ has been such a journey. One thing I want to say to all the people reading this is… finding your identity and who you truly are takes time. You’re not just going to discover who God created you to be overnight. Hair, makeup, clothes, and stuff like that is NOT your identity. Your identity is who you’ve chosen to be in life and who you’ve decided to be in Christ.

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Unrefined, but Loved, Creation in Progress

There are dozens of versions of me I imagined as a child. Research scientist, doctor, gymnast, and a dozen more before I graduated high school. Even when I thought I had figured things out in college, my path changed again. The older I got, the more reality hit, and the more I worried I would see myself as a disappointment. I wasn't in med school. I wasn’t on my way to six figures. I didnt know how to reconcile the dreams I had as a kid with the reality of my desires and abilities as an adult. How could I look at myself in the mirror if I just became "this?” Who would care about the girl who does "that" for a living?

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Your Habit Might be Toxic If...

We are a mixture of both healthy and toxic habits. Some of our routines serve us well, while others don’t propel us forward. So, why do we hold onto those that set us back? Good question… Perhaps, it’s because we tend to ignore our flaws. Or, maybe, we’re just downright ignorant to the things we’re doing that are actually hurting us. For the next few minutes, let’s take a good, honest and hard look at how we spend our days. Girl, put your pride aside for a second, and let’s be real with one another. We cannot fully embrace change if we don’t first give ourselves the time to take inventory of our day-to-day operations and rituals.

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The Miracle that Changed Everything: A Car Wreck Survival Story

“I distinctly remember my hands turning the wheel to the right and my car was resisting and still going straight. Next thing I knew, my car was over a cliff and the last thing I saw was a stream of water below me before I tightly closed my eyes.” Have you ever lived through an experience you cannot find the words to explain? Born and raised Montana girl, Chaeney Latimer survived this deadly car wreck of 2010 completely unscathed — a miracle merely unexplainable. Despite the ways this accident defied all laws of gravity and science, one thing remains true: Chaeney’s life was not destined to end that day. After finishing her sophomore year of college, Chaeney packed all of her belongings into her red Toyota Cobalt and set her sights on home.

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Peace in the Eye of the Storm

I used to think I was a pretty peaceful person who took the chaos of other people’s lack of peace as it came at me. But, in this current season of life, I have been very unsettled by things happening in the lives of those closest to my heart — as well as within myself. All sorts of feelings have been stirred up that have resulted in an overwhelming sensation of anxiousness. I cry even more than I normally do, which was already nearly every day. I scream at the top of my lungs at God when I am driving. I cannot even sit through a full day of ministry school without abruptly leaving to go battle out my frustrations elsewhere. I don’t want to specify exactly what trials are hitting against the walls of my heart, but I will say they have caused me to question my Heavenly Father.

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5 Steps to Lowering the Volume in Your Life

Silence is deafening to me. In fact, it’s one of my biggest fears. I find it terrifying because, to me, it means something is being forgotten: maybe it’s an errand, maybe it’s plans I made weeks ago and forgot to write down…maybe it’s me. The thing is, silence could—and for most, does—mean peace of mind. It could mean it’s time to relax or stand for fulfillment, or be the gateway to the best sleep I’ll ever have. For now, that kind of silence is unfamiliar. Whether it comes to work, side projects or even bettering myself personally, it’s undeniable that I’m a busy bee. There is so much buzzing that my silence could very well not be silence at all, so I’m taking steps to lower the volume—and, in case you’re like me, or on your way to be—I wanted to share exactly what those steps are.

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The Day I Traded Peace for Panic, and How I Got it Back

My heart was racing. I couldn’t catch my breath. What was happening? Was I having a heart attack? I’m in my thirties, and I’m a runner —certainly my heart is fine. But why can’t I breathe? I took my phone into the closet and frantically searched Google for the signs of a heart attack. What I found made me feel better and worse all at the same time. Thankfully, I was not having a heart attack! Unfortunately, I was having a panic attack. I had never experienced this before. I laid on the floor and focused on breathing in deep, trying to get this horrible feeling to pass.  Life was so out of control. We had just made our second big move in three years. Starting over again. New friends. New jobs. New places. I was just beginning to feel settled in our last town, and now I needed to start all over.

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How Can You Love What's Been Lost?

I’m at a loss. I really am. When I sat down to write this, I didn’t think there would be an issue. Self-love? That’s simple. There are hundreds of step-by-step articles on how to love the person you are. But, the more I think about it, the more I realize I don’t love me at all. This is my fourth attempt at writing something, and it’s a struggle. Respect, admiration even, is felt, but I do not love the woman I see in the mirror. Everything about me has changed since becoming a wife and mother, and I’m not sure who I am. I’m not sure what I look like without my husband and son. I feel as lost as I did the first time I went blonde in middle school. My hair was mustard, and I was blindly searching for identity. I have wandered so deep into my roles at home I’m almost certain I’ve given myself away.

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The Great Pursuit

In the last few years, there has been a spiritual war on peace within my household. My husband and I both struggle with finding peace and contentment in the midst of his work and raising a child that needs a little more care than the average kiddo. The days have been full of triumphs, but we are constantly fighting the spirits of fear, frustration, and even FOMO. That's what the kids call the “fear of missing out.” Our life is much more restricted than the lives of our friends, and it's hard to ignore the isolation. Since this struggle with peace has gone on so long, it has begun to feel hopeless. I start to think if it hasn't changed by now, we will always live in this chaotic bubble of loneliness and frustration. It was not until the last couple of weeks that I've been focusing my prayers on what I can do.

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Series Introduction: Peace

Experiencing solitude among nature, or creating a space for personal relaxation are my go-to solutions for feeling at rest. In a world where anxiety and immediacy rule, it’s often difficult to find true, long-lasting, genuine peace. Thankfully, I don’t tend to carry much worry or anxiety with me. But, in high-stress situations, I usually let peace fall to the wayside. Here, my circumstances steal my composure and I’m led by an anxious space of my soul known for not seeing things clearly. Stress clouds our judgment and hinders our ability to see a situation for what it truly is. Often times, we dig ourselves into a worry pit that was never initially there. Yet, we continue to grab the shovel and allow the littlest of things to take us deeper into the dirt. 

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Anchored in Love: My Healing Journey

Then, years later, the crash came. I’d managed for so long, but in the fall of 2016, my weary body started firing symptoms like sirens. I reluctantly put myself back into the hands of a doctor, and after running another panel of tests, she found the mysterious bacteria that had been oppressing my body for almost a decade. We were shocked and relieved, and I immediately entered into the necessary but brutal treatment. Love carried me through those months. The love of my husband who wrapped me in blankets every day just to get me into fresh air. The love of my friends who met me where I was at — in my bed. The love of my family who helped care for me. And mostly, the love of my Creator, who planted a peace in my heart not even the tears could wash away.

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Why Applause Doesn’t Make You Somebody

In a recent episode of America’s Got Talent, Paul Potts, the first winner of Britain’s Got Talent, talked about the impact winning had on his life. He said, “I walked onto that stage a nobody and left it as somebody.”  The crowd erupted in applause, and the judges nodded in agreement — but my heart broke. I wanted to reach through the screen and tell Mr. Potts he was a somebody long before he walked on the stage of Britain’s Got Talent. Perhaps, he was not well known. Maybe he wasn’t asked to sing for the queen or to perform all over the world. Likely, only a handful of people knew he could sing and appreciated the gift he had been given. But, he was not a nobody.

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Learn to Say ‘No’ and Put Yourself First

This year, I have made one resolution: put myself first more often. Sometimes self-love is easier said than done. I would love to get a biweekly mani/pedi or read more books but finding the time to do these things can be hard when you have commitments to your loved ones and your job. This last year, I found myself more stressed than I had ever been before due to the fact that I wasn’t taking enough time to decompress and enjoy my time off. We’re almost a month into the new year and although it’s been difficult to change my ways, I’m learning to take more time to gather my thoughts and do the things I love.

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I Am All He Says I Am

If I were to treat others the way I treat myself, I wouldn’t be the nicest person. I am so hard on myself as I am sure most people can relate to. I don’t take compliments from others well and I am even more so challenged in the area of complimenting myself. It is so much harder for me to look inward than it is for me to look into the hearts of others. I love telling people how wonderfully made they are. I’d even say I have more recently developed a sixth sense of seeing people through God’s eyes. To look at people and ask God to show me who they are growing into is one of my favorite pastimes.

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