What Envelope?

Melissa Ann Howell Schier
9 min readMar 22, 2022
When you paint your own view, you are not even aware of any “envelope”…Painting my own view at my cabin in Colorado.

Today is the birthday of not one, not two but THREE people in my family. I had just gotten back from being at my cabin in Colorado, a place that is so quiet and empty of outside distractions, that when I am “drinking in” the majestic mountains, the glittery soft snow, and the sound and feel of the wind, I feel like my “view” of the world becomes more expansive. I find that I mentally ask more questions, that I feel more need to investigate, and that I am more incentivized to think independently and be open, when I am there.

It was on the tail end of this trip, the day after I returned, that I got an email from my daughter about “Eternal life, did God really intend you to age??” by Mark Swinney and it arrived on the same day we celebrate as her and her twin brothers birthday. Now I know who Mr. Swinney is because I had spoken to him years ago when I was going through some difficult times, and he said something then that has stuck with me ever since. He told me that my “purpose” was to “express joy” and that as long as I could express joy I had nothing to worry about.

That simplified view, based on an understanding of God, that mankind is supposed to express joy, really helped me. I was able to “let go and let God” at that point and was much happier and even though my circumstances had not changed, my mental environment had definitely changed, so it made me want to listen to this video. Understanding that only God can create mankind, “something out of nothing”, helps me to understand that mankind, spiritual, also cannot age or die, as Jesus proved.

I had listened to Mr. Swinney another time at a lecture he gave up in Conroe Texas, and he talked about how many people are “good” at using prayer to “erase the chalkboard” of negative thinking, or error, but that many of us stop there and do not “write on the chalkboard” of our thinking to say good and true words that express who we really are.
So, I was delighted to begin listening to what he had to say about how we are all eternally young and as I listened I was doing my workout. With regards to age, birth and death, Mark said that if a person could push a button and “ascend” we would all push that button, but he said that there would be no need because we are all ready “as dead as we are going to be” which made me laugh. Yup, a spiritual being or concept is not something that lives, dies or has a birthday, any more than the number four lives or dies or has a birthday.

What he said made sense to me because he spoke about how God says we are supposed to “lay hold” of eternal life…”Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12). Lay hold means to embrace the spirit of the word, not just say the words.

I love this discussion on the reason behind understanding agelessness, because he goes on to say how “limitations of age” imposed on all of us by our fellow man, are comparable to playing baseball, and being an outfielder and listening to the crowd yelling for the outfielder to “miss the ball, drop the ball” etc. The “voices” that come to us, that are not part of WHO WE ARE, that try to influence us or to condition us to accept a limitation about ourselves, is no different than the fans screaming in the stands, and those voices cannot diminish or stop the truth of who we are as eternally spiritual beings.

Even if there is a HUGE number of people in the stands screaming, that still does not outweigh the truth of what one lone outfielder knows, in his being, about himself and cannot prevent him from catching the fly ball. And in the same way, no one in the world today HAS to accept the limitations of age just because a LOT of people believe it. What is the TRUTH about who we were created to be?

I like thinking about mental limitations shattered when we understand freedom, and how so many of us have twisted these limitations around in our thinking to be good instead of bad. For example, I know many people who have a drinking problem or a prescription or recreational drug problem. These people think that “freedom” means being able to USE DRUGS or alcohol without restriction. When someone tells them that they should stop these things because they are not good for them, these people feel like their “freedom” is being interfered with.

Do you see how this becomes a twisted or backwards view of freedom, because to them freedom means the ability to choose to “always be limited or under the influence” of an addiction. Being addicted, in fact, is the reverse of freedom…no matter how many people think that the choice to USE means freedom! Addiction is never freedom.

Isn’t it interesting how the concept of freedom has been twisted around in society, to mean “living, accepting something that limits you”, instead of meaning “living unlimited by addictions or substances that damage or kill you”?
Yes, we all get to choose, and we can choose to be limited, yet true freedom was never meant to include limitation or restriction, and God certainly does not see us that way. When we accept or choose any limitation, we are in fact, destroying our own freedom, which is why we hear that evil destroys itself.Choosing to accept the limitations of addiction for ourselves does not give “addiction” any power over any one else, gratefully, and gradually an addicted person realizes that addiction is only self limitation and destruction, the opposite of freedom.

As I thought about this, I decided to listen to another of Mark Swinneys lectures that showed up on my phone, because I was so uplifted by the one my daughter had sent. The one I listened to next was “what is it that connects prayer with healing”. In this lecture, Mr. Swinney does an exercise where a person first admits the existence of an all powerful God, then lets God’s Love in mentally, then lets that Love overflow to everyone around and finally, allows us to hear something good, that God is saying to us in that moment.

I did this peaceful exercise during the lecture, and I waited eagerly to hear what good thing God would say to me at the end of it all. Would he say I was a good artist? A good Mom? A physically fit person? But what God said to me at the end was unexpected because what I heard was “you are light”.

It was so clear it was startling. I was not expecting that answer. Then as I continued to be startled by this answer, I heard Mr. Swinney said that a lot of people who do this exercise, are surprised by what God says to us. He continued to say that we do not have to share what we hear, but I am sharing it because the exercise (that was about making it a practice to remind ourselves that God loves us) really had a huge impact on me.

Understanding that mankind, made in the image and likeness of God, is in fact, what really keeps us “lit” is like the ultimate freedom. Light is not tied in any way to a mortal being any more than the number four is tied to a specific object.

These YouTube videos which were a perfect accompaniment to my weight training exercises were much appreciated, and as I was finishing up I saw a link my sister had sent me from a talk done three years ago, interviewing her daughter Ann Howell a entrepreneur purse designer.
As I listened to Ann Howell, talk about the purses she makes and how she was home-schooled, I thought it was lovely, how she said that most people think that it is important to put kids in public school because it is how children are supposed to get “socialized”.

But she made a neat point by contrasting that belief with the fact that kids who are home-schooled are actually BETTER socialized to real world dynamics because the REAL WORLD is not a bunch of kids, all the same age and with the same viewpoints, in one classroom all from the same neighborhood. Plus, on a higher level, from listening to the Swinney tapes, I realized that understanding the world view does not require a “socialization” by accepting and incorporating a variety of different and often conflicting views of mankind, but instead to have a single,open and correct view of our fellow man as purely spiritual. That view which comes from knowing more about God, who is Love, is a view that should uplift and allow us to embrace our fellow man, would it not? The same way that we do not look at all the wrong answers in math to reach the number four, and instead, look for the one right answer; seeing spiritually is like finding the one right answer to who we really are.

Love is not necessarily fostered in public schools with what is taught about who mankind says we are, and is not even consistently fostered in home-school environments. Love is something that we get best by learning more about God. Remember how we are, in fact, supposed to lay hold of eternal life, which is the ultimate freedom.
I was thinking about freedom, and how it gets so easily twisted into mankind somehow being enslaved. I though about vaccines, and masks, and how so many people have been convinced that “freedom from disease” means being enslaved to masks and vaccines.

But the TRUTH is that man, being made in the image and likeness of God, a spiritual man who really pushes the envelope on material belief, can challenges us to progress past what we see with our eyes, to what we know is truth about our being... Like knowing God loves us… Like knowing Love is a palpable, constant healing presence…like knowing God is the only presence.

Knowing who we are…not just hearing the words, but connecting with the SPIRIT of God and his EVER presence, can help us to experience real freedom, that is not dependent of human concepts.

Ann Howell, my niece, who was being interviewed because she continues to be a talented artist who makes beautiful purses, was also speaking about how she loves to push the “fashion envelope” with what she makes and how she paints and designs her purses. I have one of these purses and it is indeed a unique work of art.

This purse is not really about being a bag that carries stuff, as much, as it is about the feeling conveyed by the color and design, and how it artistically, brings light, beauty and perfection to a room.

In the same way, each of us, when we begin to “push the envelope” on the meaning of Love, Life, and our spiritual connection with God, can be brought to a place of beauty, peace, light and perfection, which is just the opposite of the things that are dark and limiting, that seem to want to take over our universe. It helped me so much to just listen, and try to hear not just the WORD of God but also hear the SPIRIT of God This helped me and I bet it helps others too.

When we learn to listen better, we can even get to the point where we can say “what envelope?” because we realize that we are no longer limited or confined. Those who understand spirituality realize that there is nothing to “push” against any more. What envelope? Mr. Swinney says that one with God is not a majority, it is a monopoly! That which is spiritual, occupies all space and time, there is no other. What a lovely way to celebrate others with this understanding.

Happy “eternal day” to Brad, Erik and Stephanie and all of us who are part of Gods creation.



Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.