Tag Archives: life

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

Why Self-Acceptance Is So Hard

March 30, 2016

singlematters.com I just celebrated another birthday. Not much has changed in a year, and yet everything has changed in a year.

I still struggle not to be completely awkward in unfamiliar social settings. Sometimes I say too much, and other times not enough. There are some life lessons I still have to learn over and over again. My brows are still uneven. My nose is still crooked. My body is flawed, and my mind often messy. Yet I have learned there is beauty in the mess. I have allowed myself to be taught the art of flawed acceptance.

To accept myself, my whole self, the flawed, the weak, the awkward, the crooked and the messy parts, God gave me permission to accept — to actually see — the beautiful, the strong, the brave and the supernatural parts of me as well.

For years I felt unworthy of a holy self-acceptance. I don’t mean “holy” in any type of religious reference. I mean that to be “holy” is to be whole by definition. I was light years ahead of others when it came to accepting the negative things about myself. Oftentimes I would find comfort in my flaws and mistakes, cradling those ghosts like a little girl rocking her doll. I thought I was being kind and honest to myself and to the world by willingly raising my hand and taking full ownership of the messed-up parts of me.

To be partly honest isn’t to be honest at all.

I had actually been lying to myself and lying to the world. To have been honest would have also been owning up to having blue eyes for days, a contagious smile, a heart for people, tears for the bound and a relentless tenacity to change the world.

After much work and conscious effort I found space for me within my own flawed heart. I have discovered that to choose me — all of me — allows me to choose all of someone else. In the process, I realized I couldn’t fully accept others until I fully accepted myself. I could not make the world a better place until I made me a better place. I have learned, and will continue to learn, the grace of holy self-acceptance.

I will keep finding room for me within my own beautifully messy soul.

I will keep requiring that I choose myself so I can choose others.

I will keep demanding that I be honest, yet gentle, with myself.

I will keep praying that I provide myself with kind attention where it is needed.

Finding room in my heart and holy self-acceptance are beautiful things.

They are energetic and powerful. They are healing. They do a work from the inside out. They are bold. They are brave. They give permission to change the world.

They were my gifts, and I pass them on to you.

Be brave enough. Be strong enough to make room in your heart for a holy, flawed acceptance. Your bravery might just spark a relentless tenacity to change the world, uneven brows, contagious smile and all.

Article by Cheslie Birks 

Follow Chelsie on Twitter and Instagram

Originally published on singlematters.com 

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Life with Intention

September 9, 2014

LifeWithIntentionOnline

Today, Jess Lively launches her online course Life with Intention. I’ve been anticipating its arrival for a couple of months now. I first came across Jess several years ago when introduced to her lovely, thriving jewelry business. Jess Lively is a woman that I admire for her entrepreneurial spirit, positive outlook and the desire to help others build a life of value based intentions.

“This six week course ditches traditional paths to “happiness” and “success” and rebuilds your approach to POSSESSIONS, PERSONAL HABITS, RELATIONSHIPS, and CAREER
from the ground up.”

From Jess herself:

“The truth is, I searched for this course my whole life.

I grew up as a kid who wanted to do it all, a college student who tried to do it all, and a 20-something who realized “doing it all” wasn’t actually that great.

Mostly, it left me feeling empty inside.

No matter how many things I accumulated, or goals I reached, I never had enough. I had to keep inventing new dreams, goals, and visions in order to get ‘there.’

Wherever ‘there’ is.

But the truth is, it didn’t work. I never got ‘there.’

With the same longing in my heart. The same feeling that I wasn’t enough. And the same desire to find a way out of the Rat Race I constantly fell back into.

One day, during a particularly difficult period of my life, I stumbled upon a quote about Michelangelo. People once asked him how he created the stunning statue of David with a single piece of stone.

Michelangelo replied that it was much simpler than they were making it out to be.

He simply saw the potential within the stone, and removed the layers that concealed the potential within.

In that instant, everything clicked for me.

All the guys I dated, candy bars I (binge) ate, and lipsticks I bought, were never going to reveal my full potential. They were merely adding to the stone instead of subtracting the excess.

I decided in that moment to find a way to live from Michelangelo’s perspective. I wanted to approach my life from a place of revealing my potential, instead of obscuring it.

I wanted to understand why the way I had been taught to ‘succeed’ in life led to so much heartache, struggle, dissatisfaction, and distraction from the present moment.

This class is the culmination of those eight years of study. It weaves together truths taught across several genres, including personal development, spirituality, Eastern/Western philosophy, psychology, and business (with a healthy dose of design, of course.”

Have you ever felt like you were in a rut- personally or professionally? This course seems to help you navigate through that. I’m excited to see what it’s about.

What do you think? Could you use something like this?

Brittany Windle

When Good & Bad Happen at the Same Time

September 2, 2014

WhatToDoWhenGoodAndBadThingsHappenAtTheSameTime1

 

Living in Austin has been wonderful so far.

In a lot of ways, making a big move like this is truly allowing us to set the proverbial “reset button.” As quickly or slowly as we feel like it, we can reincorporate aspects of our old life here and start new habits as well.

One of the new habits I’ve wanted to cultivate in Austin is yoga.

I’ve done it on and off since high school, but wasn’t really digging the workout-focused classes that I went to with friends in Chicago.

Coming here, I knew I wanted to find a class that not only was physically beneficial, but mentally as well.

Thankfully, I happen to live just over a mile away from a fantastic yoga studio with this more spiritually minded slant.

In my first class last week, the teacher discussed the concept ofsantosha, which means contentment, or harmony.

As he went deeper into the term, he explained that santosha involves using the word “and” rather than “but” to describe our circumstances.

Contentment is not achieved, in a santosha sense, by only having “good” things in our lives.

Santosha is about allowing the good and the bad circumstances in our lives to live together without overshadowing one another.

(Finish reading here.)

30 Observations at Age 30

July 20, 2014

It’s not often that we have a male contributor here at Modern Lace. Tim Sayles shares with us his 30 observations at 30.

Screen shot 2014-07-20 at 3.03.31 PMIt’s not often that we have a male contributor here at Modern Lace. Tim Sayles shares with us his 30 observations at 30.

1. Although we never believe it at the time, high school popularity really doesn’t matter. #butIdomissthatpowderbluepromtuxedo

2. College really is the most carefree, fun time of your life. #gunsup

3. Making and keeping friends after college is extremely more difficult than when in college. Regardless, make the effort. #thankGodforgoodfriends

4. The common cliché “life is short” starts to make a little bit more sense once you look up and you’re thirty years old. #1/3lifecrisis

5. Marrying the right person is very important. #caitlinsayles

6. Trying daily to be the right kind of spouse is also important. #sheispatient

7. Facebook is exceptionally more popular than anyone in my college dorm could’ve ever imagined. #facebookusedtoonlybeforforcollegekids

8. From an outsider’s perspective, raising children seems totally hard but totally worth it…most of the time. #just2dogsfornow

9. Like my parents promised, I actually became friends with my siblings.
#josh #abby #micah

10. There is much to be said for a traditional education but I am shocked at the amount of success some people have without it.
#youstartedwhatkindofbusinessinyourgarage

11. Loving what you do for a living is a true blessing. #thankGodigotintoPAschool

12. On the other hand, a job really is just a job. It only defines you if you let it. #muchmoretolifethanthose40hours

13. That previously pathetic 10:30 PM bedtime has become an absolute necessity. #nomoreallnighters

14. I sometimes look back at photos from my youth with the same head-shaking disbelief I did when looking at photos of my parents at the same age. #myhair #notbesthair

15. I appreciate how shockingly invaluable a good childhood and great parents have been to my path in life. #mesquiteTXintha90s

16. As much as I hate to admit it, sometimes my body feels like it’s thirty years old. #rest #ice #compression #elevation

17. My aspirations of being a decent golfer will always be just that.
#iblametheclubs

18. Saving for retirement is weird considering I feel like I just started working. #401what

19. The idea of a mortgage payment that will last the same amount of time that I’ve been alive is both confusing and terrifying. #almosthomeownerproblems

20. Cross country moves are unavoidably chaotic; Almost as chaotic as trying own a home in the Bay Area.
#isthatpricetagforreal
#escrow #morelikemesscrow

21. Trips to Costco with my wife are strangely exciting and always more expensive than anticipated. #thatllbe$400sir

22. The cell phone I’m writing this on is ten times more capable than the desktop computer I grew up with. #wemissyoufloppydisk
#oregontrail

23. I would take Golden Eye over Call of Duty any day. #N64

24. Taxes go up, policies change, and social issues evolve but, ultimately, we have it very good here in the USA. #fiftynifty

25. After living in California for a short time it is even more clear to me that “Texan” truly is it’s own demographic identifier. #comeandtakeit

26. As a follow up, it’s hard to deny that California has a leg up in the weather and scenic beauty department compared to my beloved Lone Star State. #lubbockTXisoneofakind

27. My hairline really is receding. #Itsnotjustparanoia

28. If you’ve never traveled outside the USA, you should. There are some amazing things to see and experience on this planet. #Guatemala #South Africa #Brazil

29. Regardless of your current perspective or predisposition, try reading the Bible. It’s a truly an enlightening piece of literature.
#theGoodBook

30. I hardly ever use hashtags. In fact, I don’t even understand their purpose. But I used them here to prove I’m still cool at age 30. #whostillsayscool

What are your own observations? Share with us by commenting below.

Article by Tim Sayles

Comparison is the Thief Joy

July 1, 2014

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I must be the only one who struggles with social media. I have a love/hate relationship with it, especially Facebook. I find myself posting little but scrolling through the news feed a lot, mostly out of boredom. I seriously don’t know what I’m looking for, and I act as if ten minutes of time changes the outcome of the next time I check it.

I’m pretty transparent. So here goes… I compare. I compare my life to my “friends,” possibly to you if you’re my Facebook friend. And you know what? I have no clue what is going on in your life besides your highlight reel. Don’t lie. You only put the good on there. It’s okay. I’m the same way. Why would I tell you about the argument I had with a family member last week or the time I over drafted my bank account? And God forbid, I put a picture of myself on there unless I’m standing just right to make myself look the smallest and my skin the clearest. (Ugh, adult acne). Well, some of you write about the negative, and if you do, you’ve probably been deleted or at least removed off the feed.

But back to comparing. I’m guilty. I am the only one who knows my struggles except for some of you who are in my inner circle. The circle is small. So as I struggle with my own issues and I only see your amazing reel, I compare. And “comparison is the thief of joy,” according to Theodore Roosevelt. I agree.

I asked my younger sister if she found herself comparing, and she said she often thought, “Wow, he/she is on another vacation again. I wish I could travel more!” She actually just got back from the Bahamas.

I deleted my Facebook… again. If I were to reactivate it, you’d see only a smiling face. You’d see my recent fun and interesting activities- only the best, course!

You wouldn’t see that I dealt with anxiety and depression for several years. You wouldn’t see the ups and downs of dating after divorce. Quite honestly, I don’t think you’d want to hear it (at least not in a rant form on Facebook).

As we post only the best of the best of our lives, sometimes we get caught up in the appearance of it all. I’m not encouraging a boycott of Facebook, but as for now, I am taking a step back, a closer look at the mirror. And I’ve decided to cultivate the grass on my side of the fence, rather than wondering what it’s like on your side.

I’m imperfect. My hair is on top of my head. I need a shower, and my face… Well, I look like a 13 year old that just started puberty. At least, I can be honest with myself. And as for now, Facebook, I love you, but I hate you. I’m sure I’ll be back.

article by Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.

Hide Your Crazy

June 27, 2014

hide your crazy

You’ve been wronged. Severely wronged. Falsely accused. Judged. Hurt.

You want justice, right? You want to see that person get what’s coming to them. YOU WANT THEM TO SUFFER BECAUSE YOU ARE SUFFERING. I think we’ve all been there-we become defensive, run our mouths, get loud, seek revenge, plot out the oppressor’s demise. It feels grrrrrrreat! Sound the Rocky theme song!

But then what? What gets accomplished? Are you truly satisfied?

In my experience, the eye-for-an-eye/take-off-your-heels-and-arm-yourself method never puts out the fire blazing in my heart, mind and soul. Never. It simply causes a wildfire not only within myself, but it consumes everything and everyone around me. My testimony is ruined. I am simply not a better person. I am not healed. I am not satisfied.

In March, I went through one of the most trying times in my life. Wait, let me correct that- THE most horrible time of my life-especially as a teacher. Wrongly treated is a complete understatement. I never knew that people could be so unjust, prideful, illogical and down right cruel. I definitely experienced a teacher’s worst nightmare-parent/student anonymity, a meme posted on social media taken out of context, unsupportive administration and politics. After the incident happened, I felt my heart sink like the heaviest ship on the sea. Waves were crashing around me. I was drowning. Can’t. Get. Air. Feeling abandoned,I was left out in the cold to defend for my livelihood, my career, and my reputation.

I truly didn’t understand why God was doing this to me-why he was letting it happen. I could understand if I was in the wrong, BUT I WAS NOT. And it SUCKED. I was an amazing teacher (yes, I’m tooting my beautifully-polished horn because it’s true). My evaluations (18 for the year to be exact) were all glowing beacons of light illuminating my success as a teacher in the classroom. I loved my kiddos of all races, backgrounds, personalities and abilities. I simply loved teaching. But sadly, in today’s education world, that isn’t enough.

And if that drama wasn’t enough, my beloved grandma passed away, and I was in a fender-bender-all within the same month. It was just too much. TOO MUCH.

crazy girl

I had two paths to choose from-the one less traveled or the jam-packed highway of human nature. How I chose to handle this situation at school truly made all the difference-not only in my professional life, but as a person. Was I hurt? YES. Was I angry? YES, YES. Did I want to run up and down the halls revealing the story of my injustice and the truth to every single teacher and student? YES, YES, YES. Did I want to slap the teacher who started running her mouth spreading gossip about something she knew nothing about? YES, YES, YES, YES! But what good would it do for me to allow all of this fuming anger, betrayal and sadness to control me? Nothing. So, I chose to rise above. I chose to handle everything and everyone with dignity and class. I chose to hide my crazy and act like a lady. I chose to trust God with it ALL. I allowed HIM to be my defender, my judge, but more importantly, I allowed Him to be THEIR JUDGE. And you know what?

It was the best decision I’ve ever made.

I finished out the year in a blaze of glory. I was nominated for a teacher celebration event, made the top 10 at the local mall, walked a fashion show and even won (let me tell you-I had to giggle as the odds were stacked against me). It was clear that my actions were being acknowledged and blessed by the Big Man upstairs. After feeling like a failure, my efforts and passion for teaching were applauded. I also received news that the healthy project I had been working on for months for our school was accepted-I helped earn $7000 and an amazing title of Healthy Zone School for my campus (even though I wouldn’t be there to enjoy the new benefits, I was pumped.)

More important than all this recognition and success, I accomplished the most amazing thing ever-I chose to be humble. I chose to bite my tongue and keep my mouth shut, extend grace and show respect to people that I felt didn’t even deserve it, and relinquish all human instincts to fight. Through this, I learned so much about myself. It was truly remarkable. It felt like I had won-I had passed the hardest test of my life. I was able to shine like a diamond-separate myself from the norm. I chose to react in a God-like manner and because of that, I was, in essence, victorious. That was my justice.

I FOLLOWED MIRANDA LAMBERT’S ADVICE-I HID MY CRAZY AND ACTED LIKE A LADY-BEST DECISION EVER! I am now living my dream-fashion, fashion, and more fashion! If this unfortunate event hadn’t happened, I would have probably chosen to stay in my comfort zone. I’m about to be 30 and enter a brand new FABULOUS chapter of my life. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not a single thing!

Brynlea Cunniff

Balance & Self-Discipline

March 5, 2014

balanceart via

Intention-based rituals.

According to The Power of Full Engagement, up to 95% of our lives are based on habits.

95%! This is pretty crazy. Almost too high to believe. This means that most of our strengths and not-so-great aspects of our lives are likely rooted in habits that we have cultivated - consciously or not - throughout our lives.

The urge to eat the ice cream out of the carton when no one is looking and our ability to jump out of bed in the morning are both likely tied to habits we have crafted over time.

Knowing that habits have such a HUGE influence in our lives means that we can choose to shape positive rituals that reflect our deepest values and intentions for each area of our life.

Continue your reading here.