Tag Archives: inspirational

Free August Wallpaper

August 7, 2014

JL_August_BGdownload full-size wallpaper here

I knew I watched Mr. Rogers for a reason when I was a kid. This little nugget of wisdom has resonated with me for weeks now. To make choices “from a deep sense of who you are” is essential to living your best life. Don’t forget who you are; don’t forget your passions and desires and seek self reflection consistently.

Thanks, Jess Lively, for a beautiful design.

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

The Ugly Side of Insecurity

April 22, 2014

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 9.13.51 PM

I scanned her picture. Okay… It wasn’t just a scan. I examined it like an investigator picks a part a crime scene. Why did her big thighs and ankles make me feel better? If I could find a flaw, just one flaw, it would remedy my malady: insecurity.

Insecurity is like a festering sore. At times, I allow it to begin to heal. Then I pick at it again, opening the tender wound.

[Side note: I’m not insecure in every area of my life. And I’m not the stereotypical picture either: mousy, shy or quiet.]

Screen shot 2014-04-21 at 9.14.58 PMInsecurity has exposed a very ugly side in me: jealousy, anger, and competitiveness have all derived from this evil culprit. It had to have started long ago. It didn’t just magically appear in my 29 year old self. And honestly, I’m not sure if it matters when.

But it’s there, and I know I’m not the only female who experiences it. In fact, one of my best girl friends recently admitted to looking at all of her current boyfriend’s ex’s social media outlets. “At least, I don’t have bleach blonde hair and two kids,” she taunted.

We get vicious, and treat one another like wild animals in an untamed jungle. It’s like survival of the prettiest in our superficial, sickly minds. I wonder if Darwin would have agreed.

After a heartbreaking end to a relationship a couple of years ago, I dated this so called party guy. He claimed he had changed, and I did enjoy having something to do on my now cleared agenda. His clingy ex girlfriend found my cell number and anonymously texted me one day. She was sick with insecurity, and she was beautiful. Granted, her insecurity was fueled by a noncommittal guy who kept her at arm’s length.

I’ve been trying to understand this insecurity that lurks around and rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times. Why do I feel insecure at times, and at other times, I don’t? And it occurred to me that it is when I feel most threatened, when I fear danger or loss of security.

Beth Moore in her book entitled, So Long, Insecurity, confesses to having irrational thoughts and actions, which have been fueled by insecurity. She admits that she has feared that her husband might leave her for another woman. She also admits this is an irrational fear, probably stemming from a tumultuous upbringing. However, she poses a question to her readers: What if that one thing you fear actually comes true?

She plainly states something like this: You’d be hurt, cry a bit, maybe act out a lot, then move on. And it would be okay. You would be okay.

Most of the time we are fearing things that will never happen. We hold too tightly the one thing that gives us security: looks, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. When someone threatens this thing we most associate ourselves with, we fear. However, someone’s talent doesn’t void us of our own. We are no longer pretty because the girl next to us is pretty. I’ve wasted too much time worrying and fearing the what if’s.

I want that wound to heal. And I’ll tell myself: It will be okay. I will be okay.

Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

A Real Reality Check

February 3, 2014

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - Season 4

America: the land of the free and overnight reality stars. Anyone can be a star these days from the Housewives of Wherever to Amish Mafia. What are most of these people famous? Yet, millions of Americans tune in to soak in the latest drama that is the farthest from reality. I admit; I’m one of them.

What impression does this really give to people? Even shows like American Idol, which I do find entertaining, are portraying that success is quick, cheap, and easy. When was the last time you heard of someone working hard to gain the credibility that they have?

You’ve done it before. You’ll get really excited about something, try, and when it doesn’t happen fast, you give up. Can I blame you? I’ve done it, too, a thousand times! Unfortunately, it is a trend of our culture.

You may be thinking, “Great… This is another ‘Follow Your Dreams’ speech!” No, but what I am saying is find your dream, your goal, your cause, and COMMIT.

I recently watched a young man on the Bonnie Hunt show tell his story of how he became a successful actor. He knew what he wanted to do, so he decided to surround himself with people who were committed to the same thing. The closest he got to acting at the time was working at a gift shop on a film set. How did folding clothes and doing inventory get him in the movies?

He eventually tried out for a part. Because of his acting skills and networking with the people he encountered, he landed a role along side of Denzel Washinginton.

How long did he work at the gift shop? I don’t know. What did he do before that? I don’t know that either. I do know that he said something that was key. He surrounded himself with people who were committed to the same thing he was committed to and stuck with it (even if that meant serving the people that he hoped he would become like one day).

If you want to be a writer for a major magazine or even start your own, the closest thing you may get to doing that at first is being an intern. Making coffee and filing may not be glamorous, but it’s one step closer to where you want to be.

Most people who are successful have put in the hard work that is necessary. They probably didn’t start at the top of their game, but what they did do is commit!

Now think about that one thing that you really want to see happen. Whatever it is, keep that dream. Now, throw away the mentality of microwave success. Next, surround yourself with people who want the same thing, even if it’s starting at the bottom. Commit to it, and see what happens. I dare you!

Brittany Windle

Follow her on Twitter.

Is Your Name Pretty?

January 23, 2014

hair

It was one of those days. I needed retail relief. One-stop to the mall with a new shirt or cute dress would do the trick to lift my spirits.

Well, on this particular day, I hardly made it past the mall entrance. Normally when I walk past the kiosks with the aggressive sales people, I pretend to be on my phone, walk as fast as I can, and turn my head. Don’t act like you’re not the same way. Attractive foreign men will lure you into getting a hand massage with lotion from the Dead Sea or persuade you in trying a face mask that somehow releases heat when touching your skin. I’ve heard them say in an exotic accent, “Oh, please let me spoil you. You deserve this _____ (fill in the blank).” What they don’t tell you is that it probably costs more than your first car.

Well, this time it wasn’t a guy, but a girl pleading with me to buy a hair straightener. My stealthy mechanisms to ward her off were weak. Remember, I wasn’t having the best day (give me a break). But she asked this one question, “Is your name ‘Pretty’?” I caved. After that, I spent what should have been a trip in my favorite department stores in the middle of the mall with someone straightening my hair then curling it (this device does everything). She whispered, “I’ll give this to you $50 less than to the other customers.” That did it! I walked away feeling great, but penny-less after buying a $100 straightener.

Words have power. They have the power to bring life to someone, and they have the power to kill someone (not literally, of course). Unfortunately, we carry hurtful words with us like a suitcase packed tight for a summer vacation. When something triggers a memory, we are able to roll the suitcase right beside us and pull out the word or phrases someone once thrust at us like a dagger. It’s funny how we rarely remember the positive.

suitcases

These words shape us as we are growing up. You may have been the dorky kid in elementary school, the one who couldn’t put weight on. As kids bombarded you with hurtful words, you began to wear baggy clothes to cover up the knobby knees. Your self-esteem was lowered and to this day, you still have a hard time accepting yourself or compliments.

Maybe you were the “curvy” girl, the one who developed early. You couldn’t help it. People called you names, accusing you of things simply based upon your appearance. You began to not care at all and started doing the very things they were accusing you of. Why not? They never believed you, anyways?

Or maybe you were a good kid, but never really heard positive or negative things from your parents. You would strive to do great, but the lack of words became like negative words to a heavy soul. To this day, you long for words- sometimes any type of word as long as they’re directed towards you.

Whoever you are, whatever you stand for, you remember and painfully want to forget. You carry the baggage.

Unfortunately, we don’t realize the large suitcase behind us until we are older. Usually someone else or some event in our lives makes us have an epiphany. We start to remember so vividly, so colorful the words that shaped our lives like “fat, ugly, worthless, dumb.”

Oh, how I wish I could turn back the time in my own life and make those people realize that what they said or didn’t say still affects me even when I don’t realize it. But I can’t… And you can’t either.

But what you can do is use words in a way that is powerful!

Today, I dropped by the mall. As I was walking by the same kiosk with the same girl, I heard the same phrase, “Is your name ‘Pretty’?” but to someone else. I laughed silently hearing her say that to yet another customer. Ignorantly, I didn’t realize it that day and ended up with a $100 straightener. Even though those words were empty to her, it made a difference to me.

Imagine saying something positive to someone you know and care about. Imagine what kind of lasting impression that you will make.

Brittany Windle

Follow Brit on Twitter.