Posts tagged strength
Series Introduction: Identity

How many times have you found yourself lost in a search for who you are? Or, in the middle of a trying season, you look in the mirror and hardly recognize yourself? I think we’ve all been in and out of the “Who am I?” phases of life. This world is constantly trying to knock us down and wreck our spirits. It’s in those moments of barely hanging on, we can feel so far away from our true selves. When we talk about identity, we either feel confident and empowered or uncertain and fearful. Feeling good in our own skin makes us brave, while not knowing who we are scares the heck out of us. Maybe, for some of us, we are lingering in the space between.

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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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Intentional Joy Leaves No Room for Grief

Loss and grief is a painful season life brings. Enduring those tear-filled, heart-shattering moments when reality sets in can absolutely alter anyone’s spirit. Although when 31-year-old Sarah Sligar lost her mother to metastatic lung cancer in 2011, her hurt led to unsurpassable amounts of joy. Like most precious mother-daughter relationships, Sarah and her mom, Nancy were incredibly close — best friends even. Whether it was having a conversation two or three times a day or hitting the mall for a bit of shopping, every moment together was undoubtedly cherished. So, when Nancy’s two-and-a-half-year-long battle with cancer was laid to rest, Sarah couldn’t help but feel devastated, lost and a bit angry.

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Displacing Worry with Thanksgiving

Worry knows no bounds, limits or exceptions. Each and every one of us experiences worry — for some, it’s every single day. One moment we’re cool as a cucumber, the next we’re such a hot mess it’s a wonder we survive the day without blurting out four-letter words. OK, maybe we don’t… it’s fine, no one is perfect. But, worry and anxiety is a beast. It consumes every thought, and sometimes our actions. You might be asking, “Nikki how does worry tie into thankfulness?” Bear with me, I promise I’m getting there. I recently attended a ladies night at a local church and the amazing woman on stage discussed peace in reference to Philippians 4. She touched on this chapter with perspectives and teachings I’ve never heard before.

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Finding Fatherly Love Amidst Heartache

When I was a little girl, my dad had a wife who hurt me deeply with piercing words of my worthlessness for years. Even though I only spent a few months with her each year as I was growing up, she had one of the greatest impacts on my heart and self-image as a child. She hurt my heart deeply. She convinced me I was lacking value — that I would never be as good as her daughter, that I was a liar and a waste of space. Each day my dad would leave for work in the summer, I felt abandoned. I felt left behind.

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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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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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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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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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Being Vulnerable is Actually Beautiful

The most beautiful people aren’t those who always come across as confident, successful and put together. True beauty can be found in the moments when a long day finally gets the best of you and you allow yourself to have a full-on breakdown. True beauty is admitting you made a mistake and accepting the fallout. True beauty lies in the moments when you embrace your faults and accept the fact that you’ll never fully live up to other’s standards. Because letting yourself be vulnerable is just as hard as achieving the perfect winged eyeliner or molding your body to fit into a size two.

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Crowned with Independence

Let’s begin with a bit of self-evaluation. Would you consider yourself to be independent or dependent? If you aren’t sure or you’re thinking maybe you fall somewhere in the middle, that’s OK. Perhaps you answered that question without hesitation, knowing your personality type full well. It took me years to nurture a spirit of independence, so feeling on the fence about the subject is totally normal. We all develop at different speeds and walk very different paths in life, so only time can truly tell.

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Trouble in the Tight Places

Have you ever been in a tight spot? Awakened one day to find yourself in some kind of trouble? If you’re anything like me, I imagine you’ve answered yes. Absolutely yes, a hundred times over, yes.

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Crowns Earned by Experience

I strongly believe my childhood and life experiences set me down the path to earning my “crowns” in strength, wisdom, creativity, love, and compassion. In order to understand how I came to be as a person, we need to take a quick trip back down memory lane!

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It's OK, Even Warriors Struggle

There's a great big lie that I bought into pretty early in life. It's a belief held by most of us but made no truer by its popularity. And I/we go even further than simply believing it. We strive to redirect, refocus, reform, reconstruct our lives until they fit into this fallacy.

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Have You Earned Your Crown?

As women, I firmly believe we are the master crown-wearers. We endure, persevere and come back stronger. Since you were a young girl, you’ve worn a crown but, over time you’ve traded it in for another (and another). In life, we walk through seasons and in those we have the opportunity to take off one crown and put on another.

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