Tag Archives: inspiration

Real Religion

July 9, 2017

 Photo credit: Ismael Burciaga

It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth day of feeling deathly ill that I decided to pray. Deathly ill is a bit exaggerated, but I was sick for over a week with strep throat. “They” say it hits adults harder than children, and I believe that now. Alone in my apartment trying not to get anyone infected, I prayed. And I prayed hard.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the last time that I had prayed.

But I do remember the first time. I was an innocent eight year old girl, holding the Sunday School teacher’s hand as I “asked Jesus into my heart” – what the Baptists call being saved. Prayer became second nature to me and so did doing right.

Church and singing became my life. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night the doors opened, I was there along with my two sisters and faithful mother. Alone in my bedroom with my initialed Bible, I often prayed for my father who didn’t attend with us.

Over the short twenty-seven years of my life, my faith has evolved. It (faith) has always been a part of my life, not just a small part but a large part. Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, the issue of right and wrong was pounded heavily in my head. In high school, I attended a charismatic church and always was the lead star on the praise team. We were preached to about sin until our faces turned blue and slathered with oil at the altar when in time of prayer. They viewed prayer as powerful and life changing and so did I.

As a college student, I discovered a new found freedom, questioned my faith and rarely attended church. Along the way, God always pulled me into his arms whether through a friend or song heard on the radio. Often prayers were spoken in times of stress and guilt.

My eclectic background had me confused. My faith in God became more about appearance and doing right. How to overcome temptation and live in a real world was not something I had been equipped to do. But I knew the right words to say, the perfect flowery words to pray.

As the years have passed on, I have faced reality in more ways than one- through the loss of close loved ones, loss of jobs and the end of a marriage- my heart has been bumped, pushed, torn and broken and sometimes all at the same time.

Living for the Lord stopped being about what others expected of me. It stopped being about doing what others thought was right and stopped being about praying what the preacher taught me to pray.

Many times it feels like there is a label on my forehead that reads “failure.” I’m not the perfect example of Christian that I once claimed and others thought of me. I’ve made mistakes, big mistakes and often appeared as just another face in the crowd.

I’ve learned to pray differently — from a heart that knows I’m nothing without him. I’ve learned to pray without fancy words. I’m appreciative that I have a mother that made sure I was in church and a grandmother that prayed for me daily and often recited Psalm 23 as she drove me to daycare. I’m appreciative that I experienced eclectic styles of worship. But I have found what works for me.

I’m reminded of the song that I once sang as a child, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” My faith is simple and so is my prayer life. I know who He is based on my own experiences. From that I pray. It may not be a pretty prayer- just me, raw and transparent.

Brittany Windle

Photography credit: Ismael Burciaga

The “R” Word

June 20, 2017

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“Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day,” this song rings loudly in every bride’s ears on her wedding day. Unfortunately, avoiding this word will not make the dark clouds hide and the sun appear.

Becca Bell, owner of 2b Photography, says, “Some of the most beautiful and creative images come from getting scrappy and being resourceful when faced with the challenges of the day.”

On her blog, she provides five tips to help lessen the anxiety of rain on your wedding day. I had the privilege of helping her style Part 2 of this series. With the use of stylish umbrellas and cute rain boots, there may just be a silver lining when it comes to a bride’s worst nightmare.

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To see the complete gallery of photos, click here.

Brittany Windle

Photo Credit: Becca Bell of 2b Photography 

The Inspire Us Project: Kim

June 20, 2016

In February of this year, we introduced you to The Inspire Us Project. We have enjoyed reading the stories of women – stories of strength that have led them to a life of believing in themselves and feeling comfortable in their own skin.

We will be sharing a few of these stories as a source of inspiration. Stay tuned for our very own to be shared in this project as well.

Kim::

Inspire Us

The story behind my smile…

I guess you could say that my life started out as that of most little girls. Days were filled with lots of love, pretty dresses and dance classes. Quite the spoiled little thing, it still tickles me to hear the story of how my maternal grandparents once stood outside “spanking” the rain because the thunder had made me cry.

My parents divorced when I was really young. They had been childhood sweethearts who grew up as neighbors. Now that I’m grown myself, I think they simply weren’t mature enough for true “adulting” at the time. My mom remarried shortly thereafter, and so did my dad. It was my stepfathers suggestion that we needed to move. Unable to fully cope with my grandmothers untimely death, my mom went along with it. So off we went, along with my little sister, to live in Colorado. I’ve always been the intuitive type. So without reason and at the tender age of four, I can honestly say that I had never liked my stepfather. Upon moving across the country, I soon learned why.

For the first time in my life, I was exposed to alcoholism and abuse. As a little kid I wanted nothing more than to escape, but I couldn’t. Since I couldn’t physically escape, I would lose myself in books. From Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, to The Chronicles of Narnia, I would get away to better places through reading. I guess that’s the one good thing from that time that I’ve never lost. We moved around a lot, but wherever we went the story never changed. It was a horribly ugly cycle that was stuck on repeat. Somewhere along the way we all moved back to Alabama. But that didn’t suit the manipulation of an abuser who thrived on isolation to carry out his domination. There were simply too many family and friends here, to not notice all of the battles and bruises on the mend.

There’s so much more to this story, it would take a book to truly tell. Fortunately, my sister and I were able to get away. It took a while longer, but my mom and now three more sisters would eventually follow. It takes a long time to truly be free from the chains of abuse, but I’m happy that the chains have finally been broken. Although there are still some residual difficulties at times, I choose happiness in spite of it all!

I choose to live in a way that shines the light of love in all that I am and all that I do. When you see my smile, know that it is broad and bright by choice. It is the freedom song of a sweet little girl who once didn’t have a voice.

For more stories, visit The Inspire Us Project website.

Shop Talk: Engaged

May 31, 2016

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Stephanie Whitacker, own of Engaged and publisher of Birmingham’s The Perfect Wedding Guide

Situated in the quaint neighborhood of Edgewood, Engaged welcomed me with its sea-foam green walls and light touches of cream and white. Just as welcoming and warm as the room, Stephanie and Katie greeted me energetically. This dynamic duo, down-to-earth and personable, are the types you’d want to have as your best girlfriends. I felt as if I had known them for years.

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Engaged is a Wedding Library. I wasn’t familiar with the term before but intrigued with what they do. With hundreds of sources at their fingertips, Stephanie and Katie make wedding planning stress free and fun.

Stephanie Whitaker, the owner of Engaged, first began in 2007 when she left the accounting world to become the publisher of Birmingham’s Perfect Wedding Guide. This guide provides brides with a list of vendors from photographers and venues to bridal shops and florals – all the necessary elements in making that special day perfect.

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Although the guide provides the premier wedding vendors in Birmingham, Stephanie took it one step further and opened Engaged which is a store front that offers one-on-one consultations for brides. The guide and consultations are free. What’s the catch? There isn’t one!

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Katie Calhan, bridal consultant of Engaged

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Katie Calhan is one of the consultants with seven years of experience. When meeting her, it’s evident that she loves what she does. “My job is to educate brides on price points and give them the why’s and how’s on what to do. Sometimes they don’t know that Aunt Sally shouldn’t do the flowers, ” she jokes. “We help build a team to make the wedding successful and stress free,” she continues.

Katie suggests that brides should come in with a vision, but if they don’t, not to worry: “They will leave with three things no matter what: 1. A plan 2. Feeling less stressed and 3. The knowledge of the best vendors in town.”

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Engaged and The Perfect Wedding Guide host two bridal shows a year. These shows provide inspiration for brides of any style.

There will be a launch party on April 7th at 6:00 pm for the spring book edition at Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market.

Engaged should be every brides “first stop after he pops the question.”

Photo Credit: Becca Bell of 2b Photography

Article by Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter

 

7 Musts to Look for in a Spouse

July 29, 2015

2b PhotographyLast night I met a close girl friend at the eclectic Mexican restaurant one street over from where I live. We normally have our weekly talks at the gym after church on Sundays.

“I realized that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with someone like that,” she confessed as she was telling me about the ex that was reaching out to her. We all saw that coming. He’d realize he made a mistake and come crawling back. We, humans, are so predictable.

The first three to five months are what many people call the “honeymoon” stage: sweaty palms, butterflies, and blindness. Seriously, we are blind. It’s not because the person is always hiding their flaws or bad habits, although some do. My girl friend would often smell cigarette smoke in his bathroom. The funny thing is that smoking was not a deal breaker to her. Even if they aren’t hiding anything, we are blind because we simply don’t know that person yet.

We often can only see the good and admire the qualities we like in that person. The focus is what they are offering us and what we have in common. Although common interests are nice, they are not paramount. This is a revelation to me.

I admit that I’m a sapiosexual. “What the heck is this?” you may ask. By definition, it is one who finds intelligence as the most sexually attractive feature (thanks, Urban Dictionary.) I’ve become so fixated on one quality or two that I overlook red flags that are waving and yelling, “Mayday, mayday!” My focus has been on our common interests and my likes and dislikes of that man (his style, his interests, intelligence, etc.)

This, to most, doesn’t seem like a problem. However, recently, I read an article in Elephant Journal that made me change my whole perspective:

“Love is more than a series of likes and dislikes, attraction and interests. If attraction is based on what you like or dislike about the person, it is a setup for failure. Likes and dislikes change over time, and remain at the surface level of human expression. Common interests change, appearances change, language change.”

Ten years ago, I didn’t know that I would absolutely love sushi and coffee. They are now my two favorite things. Ten years ago, I also bleached my hair too blonde. We change. We grow and evolve. If the sole reasons we are with someone are based on likes and dislikes, then overtime, we may not still appreciate or like those things.

“The only constant is change,” Artisan states.

So what exactly do we look for in a person if we are aren’t looking for attraction, likes and common interests alone?

Here are 7 Musts to Look for in a Potential Spouse:

1. Character – What is the integrity of that person when no one is watching?

2. Chemistry- Physical attraction. This seems self explanatory.

3. Competency- Can this person hang on to a job? Or are they always going from thing to the next?

4. Culture- Can your cultures blend? Do you have similar views on finances, education, and spirituality?

5. Commitment- If a person can’t keep a commitment with other things, then something is wrong.

6. Communication- Can you identify your own feelings and the other person’s feelings?

7. Core Values- Are your core values the same? Do you have the same beliefs?

Although intellectual conversation about literature and art is fascinating to me, it is not what will see a marriage through during its most turbulent times. And as a close friend said to me, “That type of conversation all the time sounds exhausting!”

It is the core traits that are sustaining and nurturing that should be most sought after.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

(Photo Credit: 2b Photography)

(Resource: Family Life)

TED Talks: Inspiring Women

June 25, 2015

Stories of great courage and lessons learned are the themes of these TED Talks. These speakers will remind you that no matter your story, it can and should be used for a greater purpose.

Piper Kerman

You will want to watch this TEDx talk from Piper Kerman, the woman whose memoir inspired the show Orange is the New Black.

In the talk, Kerman tells the story of how, at age 34, she was sent to federal prison for delivering drug money a decade earlier. She shares the lessons she learned on the inside — lessons about prison survival, lessons about a broken justice system, and larger lessons about life.

Leslie Morgan Steiner

Leslie Morgan Steiner was in “crazy love” — that is, madly in love with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. Steiner tells the dark story of her relationship, correcting misconceptions many people hold about victims of domestic violence, and explaining how we can all help break the silence.

Meera Vijayann

This talk begins with a personal story of sexual violence that may be difficult to listen to. But that’s the point, says citizen journalist Meera Vijayann: Speaking out on tough, taboo topics is the spark for change. Vijayann uses digital media to speak honestly about her experience of gender violence in her home country of India — and calls on others to speak out too.

Sarah Kay

A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project VOICE, an organization that uses spoken word poetry as a literacy and empowerment tool.

Brittany Windle

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Hayden + John

June 10, 2015

Hayden and John of Tuscaloosa, AL wed at the beautiful location of Stonewood Farms. With a touch of southern charm, the chateau style home made for a lovely location. Blush pink was the feature hue of the event.

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The Details:

Photography: 2b Photography 

Florals: Connie Taylor

Venue: Stonewood Farms

Makeup: Anna Catharine Rutherford

Hair: Danielle Ivy

Wedding Planner: Taylor Crute of Mobile, AL

Dar + Matt

March 12, 2015

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Spring is around the corner and that means wedding season is in. We are excited to begin a new series of Birmingham brides and weddings. There are many unique and beautiful venues to choose from in the city, and we want to share with you what other Birmingham brides are doing.

Our first feature is of a multicultural wedding featuring Darshika and Matthew. “The wedding was the perfect blend of American and Indian tradition and celebration! The photography style followed suit of the ceremonies with a beautiful dance of candids and portraits. A peacock inspired color pallet, delicately beaded gowns, sapphire studded ring set, and the golden rays of the sun made for an elegant day, ” said Becca Bell of 2b Photography.

The Details:

Photography: 2b Photography
Wedding Planning & Design: Tres Beau Weddings
Venue: Aldridge Gardens
Catering: Happy Catering
Florals: Studio Flower
Cake: Magic Muffins
Wedding Henna: Blue Lotus Mehndi
Hair & Makeup: Morgan Ashley Salon
Cinematography: Main Street Productions
Officiant & DJ Services: Dr. Kelsey Graham

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Article by Brittany Windle

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Timeless Beauty

March 2, 2015
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My grandmother and mother

I love words! What can I say? I’m an English teacher. I love the juxtaposition of old and new, which is where the name Modern Lace was derived. Over coffee, Brynlea and I knew exactly what modern and lace meant to us.

How do we live in this modern world yet keep the values and ideals that our grandmothers and those women we admire taught us?

I love “old” things from furniture to small nick knacks. I keep them. I look at them, and I imagine who once used them. As a matter of fact, my great grandmother’s cookbook sits atop the antique curio cabinet in my dining room.

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My grandmother taught me grace. She taught me how to move forward joyfully when things didn’t always turn out the way I expected. She would often recite poetry and sing sweet songs to me when I was a child. Sitting in her front yard on a handmade quilt with my sisters, we would look at the clouds and feel the warmth of the sun on our hot skin. She taught us how to appreciate the small joys of daily life.

To be truly beautiful in a modern world full of new technology, photoshopped images and unrealistic expectations of body images, we must remember and never forget what those timeless beauties taught us.

What women do you admire? What have they taught you?

Brittany Windle

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Favorite Four to Follow

September 5, 2014

Whether you are looking to stay up-to-date this weekend with New York Fashion Week or to simply be inspired, these four are the ones to follow.

Sophia Bush

@SophiaBush- You may remember her from the TV show One Tree Hill. Actress and activist, Sophia Bush, is one to follow. We’ll admit that we have a girl crush! We love her “do good” attitude, exciting travels, and just the every day postings of her life.

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Chelsie Birks

@ChelsieBirks - For the best of New York Fashion Week, stay tuned into Chelsie’s account. When she’s not capturing moments like these, you can still be inspired by her outfits and travels.

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Kendi Skeen

@Kendieveryday - We have been a fan of Kendi’s for several years. Her quirky sense of humor and great style are the reasons we keep following!

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Kelli Murray

@kelli_murray- Graphic designer and illustrator, Kelli Murray, is definitely a favorite! We wish we could spend a day with her picture-perfect family! What will you see if you follow? Interior design ideas, outfit envy, and pictures that will inspire you to be more creative! (Isn’t her daughter adorable?!)

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Article by Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.