Tag Archives: soul

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

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

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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

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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

Summer Reads

June 12, 2014

I am a bookworm. I love to read and am always planning my next book before beginning my current pick. Here are 5 great summer reads that you should definitely enjoy. Grab a mason jar of tea, find a happy spot and read away!

1. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: This well-written, ironically witty book is definitely a one-day page turner. It is about a young, idealistic girl name Hazel with cancer who meets a handsome and free-spirited boy named Augustus Waters at a cancer support group. Follow them on their journey finding meaning, enjoying life and dealing with twists and turns.

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: One word. Twisted. Nick and Amy Dunne celebrate their 5th anniversary when Amy goes missing. This book has a very unexpected turn near the middle. Definitely a book that is hard to put down.

3. Cracks In My Foundation by Marian Keyes: This book is hilarious! Irish author, Marian Keyes, writes the truths of life on paper. It is a collection of essays and stories-one side is essays then you flip the book over to enjoy the short stories. I rarely laugh out loud, but I find myself chuckling on every page. Her experiences and views of life are highly relatable-especially to women.

4. Orphan Train by Christina Kline: Molly Ayer is a foster kid who must make up time in order to avoid juvie. She helps an elderly lady clean out her attic when a beautiful and warm connection is made between the two. Two stories-modern day and the tale of the elderly lady in the 1920s. Amazing read!

5. Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Jones: Secrets are shared among three people who intersect in the streets of Franklin, Tennessee. When the truth spills out, messes happen. Enjoy this witty, light-hearted read on a patio enjoying some sweet tea.

Brynlea Cunniff
follow on Twitter @MrsStyle101

The Ugly Side of Insecurity

April 22, 2014

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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

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Mental Junk Food

March 12, 2014

keeping-up-with-the-kardashians_2Image via

I have a serious problem, a confession, if you will: I watch reality television, specifically the Real Housewives franchise and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. There is so much irony in this.

First, I advocate women empowerment. Heck, I have a blog dedicated to it. Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. (I’m preaching to the choir here). Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others.

Reality tv does not promote any of the things true to my heart, yet I almost daily feed my mind with junk food. What’s the big deal? I mean, I only spend an hour or so a night watching it. I even criticize as I watch. (That should count for something, right?)

Let’s go back to my core values:

First, I advocate women empowerment. How does reality television empower women on any level? None of the women get along. They teach other women to be competitive, aggressive, and argumentative. They display bizarre animosity toward one another. Sisterhood is what we should strive for, having female friends to support, encourage and cultivate intellectual conversation.

Much of the behavior and values they project actually set women back. Instead of being recognized for achievements and goodwill, they are recognized for their material gains and outward appearance.

Second, I fervently encourage women to accept their bodies, flaws and all. Apparently, lion is the new look because every time I view the housewives, there is a woman flaunting a newly constructed face, remarkably similar to the face of a feline. Aging does not exist in “reality tv land.”  There appears to be little acceptance of their outward appearance, and extreme measures are taken to achieve whatever ideal they’ve conjured up in their heads.

Third, I believe in cultivating an enriching life that will inspire others. In the lives of these reality tv stars, little is to be seen when it comes to an enriching life. Passion, ideas and intellectual conversation are not paramount of these shows.

By watching these shows, I am advocating the very things I detest. I am supporting women who sell manufactured sex appeal and unnecessary discord with those they should support.

Although it’s a little late to be making a new year’s resolution, I think it’s time for me to reassess and give up my mental junk food. Yes, I’d rather zone out in the evenings, but should I be filling my mind with fruitless material?

Here I am. I confess to being a junkie to reality tv. What are your confessions? Do you think it’s important to self-evaluate often?

Brittany Windle

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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.

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.