Category Archives: Life Lessons

Member Spotlight: Simone Krasan

simoneRoots:
I say I am from Seattle, as that is where I spent the longest amount of time growing up. My father was in the military, and my mother liked to travel, so we moved around a lot. I moved from Seattle to Austin, sight unseen, with two of my sorority sisters in 1995. I said I would give it a year…it’s been 22 years now. 🙂

Family life:
I met my husband, Sean, when we moved from New York City and he lived next door to me at the Gables on Lake Austin Blvd in 1996. We have been married almost 17 years now and have three AWESOME -most of the time- kids! Max is 14 and will attend Westlake High School next year! Ben is 11 and then “WE GOT THE GIRL!” as my husband always says. Olivia is 10.

Work life:
Currently, I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom. I feel like I am a full time uber driver (but without pay) for my kids and their teammates. I also do some inspirational speaking on occasion. Before kids, I was a top sales producer at several telecom companies and later ran two sales offices as a District Sales Manager.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The biggest lesson I have learned through my iGnite experience is how valuable the friendships, connections and community through iGnite are. Neissa and all the amazing women that help lead iGnite are some of the best women out there. Neissa has always had a gift of inspiring others and of bringing women together to share their gifts and talents. I highly value these women and the lovely ladies I get to iGnite life with.

Who or what inspires me most…
The ocean inspires me. There is a quote that I love by Isak Dinesen, and our own iGniter Olivia Osborne, found it for me in a magazine at the Re-New Year San Diego iGnite Retreat. She says “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Thanks to iGnite, we get to sweat. Sometimes we just need a good cry. And the sea, although it has almost taken my life twice, is my happy place. I would also like to mention our fellow iGniter and my awesome cousin, Nikki McCormick, who inspires me to laugh! You know the belly laugh that makes your cheeks hurt kind of laugh!

I am looking forward to…
The day my book I have been writing gets published. It’s not ready yet – it needs a great editor – but I have been enjoying finally writing a book that has been 25 years in the making. Many of the seasoned iGniters know “my story”, and if you have ever been a newbie in one of Kathleen’s classes that I have shown up for have heard it too, because she lovingly brags about me! In 1991, my new friend and love, Larry, set me up on the railing of an Italian ferry. I fell backwards and plummeted over 40 feet into the Adriatic Sea, and he jumped in after me. At 1:00 am, no one saw us go overboard. It was 18 hours that I floated in and out of consciousness, fighting for my life, before I was miraculously found by nine Austrian men on their 47 foot Clipper who saved me. Tragically, Larry did not survive. I share my story of love and hope in hopes to inspire others.

My guilty pleasure…
Would have to involve hazelnuts, whether it’s a French crepe with Nutella, a Hazelnut Latte or a Kinder Bueno Bar, a candy bar from Italy with a chocolate covered wafter and hazelnut filling. Yum!


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Being “Good Enough”

Encouragement from the iGnite Archives: March 2012

jan29_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with feeling “good enough”?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

Have you ever struggled with the feeling that you are not “good enough”?

I recall being in 3rd grade and feeling sadly disappointed with all A’s, and a B in Penmanship on my report card. I thought my handwriting was good, but it wasn’t “good enough.” As a teen I struggled with feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. I was never “thin enough” or “confident enough.” Then, as a busy Mom of three, one of my favorite free-time activities was training for triathlons. One year, I placed 3rd (in my age group) in a sprint triathlon and decided I could do better, so I trained harder. The next year I came in 2nd place and elusive 1st place was never an option, as the triathlon series was discontinued. Equally elusive were my feelings of being “good enough.”

I now know why God graced me with my three children. They were pre-destined to be some of my greatest teachers. At age 16 and in a fit of frustration, I recall my oldest daughter blurting out “Nothing is ever good enough for you!” Taking the comment to heart, I began a long, slow journey of learning to let go of desired outcomes and needing to control what I perceived as the necessary end result. I passionately want the best for my kids and for myself, therefore I continually struggle to ease up on my expectations and instead, to learn the lessons the present has to offer.

Meanwhile, the little voice in my head continues to taunt me… “Are you really a good enough Mom, wife, friend, yoga teacher??”  I have to stop, breathe and ask for help. I realize I am an imperfect human who, though flawed, does the best she can with a faith-filled heart. And then I offer the rest to God. Doing this frees me from the need to be perfect and in control. Divine design is constantly working through me, and I am only a small vessel amidst a fleet of God’s angels.

My yoga mat is a laboratory for my life. Every day offers new experiments and discoveries. I have found immense peace of mind through merely showing up on my mat, paying attention to my breath, and letting my body guide me as it opens and unfolds in it’s own time to receive grace. Learning to receive is a lesson unto itself. I don’t have to be a superstar on the mat; just showing up, willing to learn is “good enough.”

The beauty I have found in iGnite is that we don’t measure success by inches lost, pounds shed, or winning times; instead we focus on nurturing relationships, finding fun in the every day, and being fed in body, mind and spirit. If we can do that, it is most definitely “good enough.”

I challenge you to look at your own life vocation and ask yourself, “Am I good enough?”  Today may be different from yesterday, or tomorrow. Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


Action Item:
Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


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Making Holiday Memories

‘Tis the Season for Making Memories…

Amy Casual headshot

By Amy Chibib

The Holiday Season is upon us and the message we hear is ~ “This is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”  True, this time of year is filled with Joy and Giving but another truth be told is that it can also be a challenging season for many. There are stories and memories behind the sparkle that can bring up sadness, disappointments, or loss. According to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience a high incidence of depression. This is counter intuitive to all the merriment surrounding us this time of year. Why is this so? I believe it is because it stirs our emotions and memories in a profound way and most likely topped with some unrealistic expectations.

I start this season with mixed emotions, my mom passed away at the end of this summer and my siblings and I no longer have any parents or grandparents alive ~ which marks the end of an era for my family. My siblings and I are all very independent and although roles had been reversed for some time; the final loss of our older generation is profoundly felt and one I don’t believe any of us expected. The bright side for me are all the good memories and a refreshed appreciation for those that were created so long ago.

In particular, I treasure memories of our Christmas Eve parties. Our house was filled with friends and family and I recall how my mom would spend the entire week building up to img_2324-1Christmas Eve getting the house just perfect. It was the anticipation that I believe made it the very best. I remember the sights and scents and especially the calm in the house just before everyone was to arrive. My dad had the stereo turn table all set with the classic albums and Nat King Cole was a favorite. To this day, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” can take me back to these moments quickly. For all the effort put into this special evening, it all ended so quickly. It was time to get ready for bed as our parents were talking up Santa’s arrival. When the morning came and we eagerly woke up my parents, this anticipation was held for as long as possible. I laugh now knowing my parents must have been exhausted and probably a img_2322-1little hung-over from all the spirits from the prior evening’s celebration that lasted well into the wee hours. They were desperate to get their coffee and photo ready to capture these moments. We had to line up down the hallway and wait as they had to go out into the living room to “check on Santa’s gifts”. I remember we would laugh and giggle for what seemed like forever and couldn’t wait to be released to go check out our gifts! I share a couple of photos of a special year I received a coveted play kitchen – I look as if I was a “Price is Right” contestant that won the motherload of prizes. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that Santa would bring me such a wonderful amazing gift. That is what I remember ~ feeling so special that Santa would think of me with such a wonderful surprise. I spent the entire day in my PJ’s playing in my new kitchen. Even at that early age imagining the joy it would be someday to be a mom and cook for my family.

These are the memories that create the strongest of bonds – they are deep wired with emotions within our mind. They can inspire us to share and give more to those we love for generations to come.

The importance our memories have on our health – we do not fully comprehend, but everyone agrees they have the power to change our lives in significant ways. The beauty of amykitchenthis is fully expressed in the spirit of Christmas and how traditions have remained alive and continue to spread love and good cheer generation after generation! It is the joy, love, hope and forgiveness the season is wrapped in that inspires and motivates us to keep creating long lasting positive memories.

Wherever your emotions may take you this season, take peace in knowing You are not alone and there is healing in feeling it all!  The brave act of accepting these emotions and sharing where you are and what you need; is where the spirit of your season is found. Respond in giving back the best of your memories and making new ones with your loved ones is the essence of Christmas and promise of Love everlasting!

May this season bring you joy in knowing it is in the little moments that the best memories are made and treasured. We may not all have Dream Kitchen’s delivered on Christmas morning but I bet you can conjure up some of that magic starting today. You never know what moment will get recorded so embrace where you are in authenticity, make room for all the crazy and simply share, I believe these are the gifts and best ingredients for creating joyous holiday memories.


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How to Have Joy in 30 Days Experiment

Originally published December 2013

dec11_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with experiencing regular joy?

Dave Sunde

by Dave Sunde

I used to imagine that I was my own person; that, somehow, I didn’t care what people thought of me.

Then I graduated from junior high.

And then my idealism was trumped by reality. The reality is that the most influential component of our lives – for better and worse – is the people around us. I’d like to think my skin is thick enough to absorb let down, disappointment and rudeness. But, if I’m honest, they often have a way of shaping my attitude. I’d also like to think I’m responsive enough to be improved by another’s optimism, joy or encouragement. Sometimes, I’m able to rise above and not give in to ugly. Other times, I let myself be lifted by the infectious joy or optimism that feels temporarily foreign to me.

I want to introduce you to an experiment just in time for Christmas. It’s an experiment with ‘How to Have Joy in 30 Days’. The goal is to be intentional about recording the most uplifting, encouraging, satisfying, or life-giving encounters of each day through the Holidays. Let’s just be honest, the Holidays can bring out the best & worst. With the added cost, travel, hospitality, and seasonal extra-curriculars, we can be so easily robbed of Joy, a spirit of giving, and the celebration of what it sacred during this time of year. They don’t have to be laugh-out-loud funny moments. It could be something as simple as delayed gratification like putting off a purchase to avoid debt, having a hard conversation that deepens a relationship, anonymous gifts or favors, acts of kindness, or volunteering. They might include savored moments with children or a cherished moment with a spouse.

What I find is that my mind doesn’t naturally readily store joyful encounters for very long, so a little note-taking goes a long way. Keep a record on your phone, in a journal, or by your nightstand. Each day, take a few seconds to keep a ‘joy journal.’ As you do, watch how your awareness of joy can grow.

You can even make this a part of your dinner conversations each night with your family (I’ve even started asking my kids), asking “what was the best part of your day today?”

Gratitude can feel like a discipline, but it also keeps joy within reach. Tis’ the Season.


Action Item:
Be intentional about recording the most uplifting, encouraging, satisfying, or life-giving encounters of each day through the Holidays.


Dave Sunde is the Pastor of Mission Hills Church in Austin. A native Californian, Dave has been involved in professional non-profit and spiritual leadership for over 20 years. Dave’s passion for loving people and eloquent ability to share his love for others and life is refreshing, uplifting and inspiring. Dave has spoken at previous iGnite Retreats.


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Are You Listening to the Signs?

oct30_2016

Point to Ponder:
Is your antenna up for signs that are around you?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you may know, in April 2015 my family learned that we would be moving from Austin to San Diego. My husband accepted a new job and although the thought of leaving Austin was devastating, once I embraced it, I became excited about the adventure and possibilities, such as expanding iGnite and inspiring, empowering and enriching the bodies, minds and spirits of the women in Southern California. Upon confirming that we would indeed be moving, I sent an email announcement to iGnite members, family and friends. In it I included my iGnite expansion hopes (ugh..my optimism and idealism got the best of me–why did I put that out there?!?!?). However, because I don’t know what I don’t know, once we moved I was overwhelmed and spun in so many different directions that it became obvious that my focus could only be on the needs of my family, remotely leading and supporting iGnite Austin…and finding the grocery store, a babysitter and a place to get a good hair cut, etc. etc. etc.

While I realized that my focus needed to be on supporting Russell in his job and getting our small children adjusted to our new life, I severely struggled with my purpose, relevance and a plan. For the first time in fifteen years I was broken, confused and lonely and I found myself in daily prayer — asking God to show me what He wanted me to do. Frustratingly but also thankfully, I heard crickets–SILENCE!!! On one hand this was a welcoming sign because I didn’t have the mental, spiritual or physical bandwidth to take on anything new, but on the other hand, I felt like one of the reasons He sent us to San Diego was so that I could share iGnite. I was feeling like a failure and fraud because I wasn’t doing what I said I would do.

As I wrote in a previous journal, How Well Do You Rest & Receive, I met a faith-filled and wise friend who encouraged me to use this time to pour into my family, to rest in God’s presence, receive His love and enjoy this unique time with my children. And so I did. I relinquished my self-imposed expectations and began appreciating our new and different life. I did, however, continue to pray and ask God to show me how He wanted me to use my time beyond what I was currently doing, and if it were to bring iGnite into San Diego, to please make it obvious. Until I heard Him or saw specific signs, I remained content and knew that He had me exactly where He wanted me.

And then, one day in May, I met a mom in my son’s karate class who also had just moved to San Diego from Northern California. Because we were both with our children, our conversation was chaotic, however once she found out what I did, she instantly encouraged me and told me that iGnite would be a hit in our neighborhood. “Hmmm,” I thought, “That’s interesting. She just met me and she’s encouraging me to start iGnite.”

Then, summer came and went and I put the idea of expanding in the back corners of my heart. Honestly, I pretty much wrote it off (for the time being, at least). I hadn’t received any real signs (except from the karate mom) and it didn’t feel organic or like it fit….until mid August. While playing at one of our parks, a woman who lives across the street from the park came outside to let us know about rattlesnakes that had been spotted close by. As we talked, we realized that our children were classmates and as one thing led to another, we learned about one another’s professions. She asked if I was going to lead classes in our neighborhood and I told her that while I had considered it, right now the answer was “no.”  She then let me know that she and seven of her friends were going to be having their babies in December and in January they were going to want to get back in shape. Her request to me was to “let the idea of providing a class for her and her friends, marinate.”  I thanked her for the encouragement and promised her that I would think about leading the class. Meanwhile, I ran the class idea past a few friends in our neighborhood and they encouraged me to go for it. More signs…..

A few weeks later I made three consecutive trips to Austin, and I was asked many times of my plans to expand iGnite to San Diego and again was encouraged to do so. Pretty quickly I realized that God was speaking through all of these people, my angels, and they were delivering the answers and signs that I had been asking for.

All of this took place during iGnite’s 10th birthday celebration as well as during our Fall Body Re-Boot, and due to October being iGnite’s 10th birthday month, upon arriving back to San Diego with the abundance of signs, I decided that as an extension of our birthday celebration I would use October to test the waters for our new community as well as for myself and family by offering twelve complimentary iGnite classes.

With the help and support of angel friends, we have had an super fun month and starting this week, a 6-week iGnite session will be held in our San Diego neighborhood-yahoo!!!

Of course I am thrilled to make this announcement, as this means a new iGnite community is being formed where friendship can be developed and women’s health can be nurtured, but more than anything, I’m sharing this story to encourage you to patiently wait and watch for the answers and signs that you are asking for, as they are being delivered everyday and in a variety of ways. Even if the sign is silence, the answer isn’t “no,” it’s instead “I’ve got something much better for you” or “not now.” And, as we have all experienced, God speaks through music, people and even random billboards. Our job is to ask, diligently pray, wait and watch. The answers will always come and then we have to boldly walk out in faith and go for it! In addition, never underestimate the power of your words and encouragement. While you may not realize it, you are someone’s angel and your words can be the difference between them stepping out and pursuing their dreams and making an incredible impact in the lives of others.

There are more layers to this story, so it will be continued. Until then, I invite you to be someone’s angel while also watching for, listening to and acknowledging all of the signs that you are being given, including your own intuition, as that’s your best message deliverer!


Action Item:
Be someone’s angel while also watching for, listening to and acknowledging all of the signs that you are being given, including your own intuition.


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Unexpected Helpers

May22_2016

Point to Ponder:
What frustrations or challenges do you currently experience that could become teachers and helpers in your life?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As I did yesterday, every Saturday I attend a Power Vinyasa Flow class. Each week my goal is to balance out my more intense strength and interval training workouts with yoga, and while I take yoga from three different instructors, my favorite instructor leads on Saturday mornings. This particular class is taught by a man, and what I love most is his introspective and intuitive nature. He is always teaching, both physically and mentally, and I regularly walk away with nuggets of information and wisdom, as I did this Saturday.

Like in all of his classes, they are heated and we begin in child’s pose (my absolute favorite pose in the world). Yesterday, as we melted in child’s pose he said this, “As you can feel, this room is heated. This may frustrate you, but it’s here to help you.”  Ahhh….there’s the wisdom that I count on! As my body heated up with the room and I flowed in and out of poses, I contemplated his words.

In the case of his yoga class, the heat, especially once my body is covered in sweat, can be extremely frustrating and maddening, but it helps my tight body ease in and out of the poses more comfortably. And, when I am dripping with sweat, I become more uncomfortable and my mind becomes agitated, so I take long deep breaths and focus on calming my mind. The heat is my teacher that helps me control my breath and my thoughts.

Then, as I moved past the thought of how the heat is irritating yet helpful, I began reflecting on other frustrations and challenges that I currently experience and have experienced, and wonder if they have helped me? The answer is a consistent “yes.” Each one has helped me and taught me a valuable lesson. From unmet expectations and deadlines, being married and having children, to the annoying unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are all my helpers.

For example, the extremely frustrating unmet expectations and deadlines have helped me to relax more and recognize that no matter how long or hard I work, nothing will ever be perfect, there is always room for improvement and there will always be more to do. So, breathe, let go of control, have fun and celebrate all victories- big and small.

As for my husband, he absolutely makes me crazy and I know I make him crazy too. However, marriage has helped me understand compromise and that my way isn’t the only way. Being in a committed relationship helps me realize the significance in letting things go. Even though I always want to be right, I don’t have to be right (all of the time, at least) and just because I do it one way, doesn’t mean that it can’t work another way.

With regard to our children, while I have a ton of fun with them, they drive me bonkers. However, as every mother would confess, as irritating as children (off all ages) can be, children are the best teachers and helpers in life. No matter what age, children help teach patience and letting go of expectations. Little children help me find beauty in the little things. They love without judgement, they do not judge themselves (even their plump bellies and dimply rears), they are fearless, they believe in themselves, and they only want to love and have fun. They help me to slow down, not sweat the small stuff and live for the moments.

Finally, for the obnoxious unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are my helpers because they consistently teach me humility and patience. They have given me the gift of letting go and the understanding that just because I want it now, doesn’t mean that I need it now, or that it’s the best thing for me, now. They are my faith-building helpers and protectors.

All in all and frustrating or not, I think everything and everyone can be our helper. It’s all a matter of awareness and perspective. If we choose to look at things as helpers, then they will become our helpers, but if we choose to fight them and see them only as annoyances and inconveniences, then that’s what they will be. Therefore, rather than avoid a perceived uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.


Action Item:
Rather than avoid a perceived uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.


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Soaring Through All Seasons of Life

May15_2016

Point to Ponder:
Do you recognize your significance and the significance of your seasons?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Last week I attended a women’s workshop called In Sync with Significance. The organization who host the monthly events is called Lifestreams and their mission is to build relationships for Kingdom causes, by inspiring, connecting and empowering people and groups. Having lived in San Diego for nine months and feeling more comfortable, familiar, and enjoying my pace of life, my goal is to be intentional with how I spend my time and what I say “yes” to. As Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and business coach often reminds me, “If it feels good, say “yes” and do it. If it doesn’t feel good, say “no” and don’t do it.” The In Sync with Significance invitation was a definite “yes!”, as will be the ongoing monthly workshops.

Like iGnite, for me there are few things more enjoyable than being amongst like-minded, loving and supportive women, and even for the most confident and resolute woman, discussing the topic of significance is never insignificant. The title alone was captivating, and the workshop was exceptional. Lauren, the founder and speaker, connected the dots between our significance in each life season and how we can find depth in every season. It was filled with big concepts that I am just now, while writing the journal, am able to fully grasp and comprehend. I have never heard our life seasons described this way, but it has allowed me to see the full purpose, significance and opportunities that each one holds. There are three life seasons, with all being of equal importance and each having an impactful role on one another and our life.

  1. Significance in Daily Identity – This is our everyday life that can often feel mundane and routine, but this is where relationships are built, structure is found and absolute joy can be experienced. This is the foundation for our future and where we begin and end each day. Embracing this season and changing our mindset to realize the significance in the ordinary will fill us with peace, contentment and gratitude. The keys for feeling significance in our daily identity season are: hearing love, having vision and impacting the people who we frequently spend time and have access to (family, colleagues, school, neighbors). Avoid the mindset of “when this happens, I’ll be happy”. This prevents us from seeing our significance in the season and being fully present and grateful.
  2. Significance in Trials – This is our season that allows us to trust in the Supernatural Power of God. We would never choose trials, yet they are necessary for building faith, relationships, patience and perseverance. Trials allow us to press into our Creator while experiencing intimate growth with Him. The trials season occurs alongside our daily identity season, and our daily identity keeps us grounded and gives us a comforting home base and foundation when the trials season occurs, as it always will. Once through the trials, we can be thankful for the opportunity we were given to soar through them and grow mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
  3. Significance in New Territory – This is our season of new experiences and opportunities. It’s the season for hearing your heart’s passion and saying “yes”. It’s the season of putting yourself out there, trusting God’s calling for you and going for it! It is always simultaneous with our daily identity, but not with our trials. The trials seasons place a pause on our new territory season. The two seasons are not are designed to go through together, as both seasons require a unique set of faith, trust and focus. However, the trials season plays a significant role in preparing our heart and mind to fully see and explore new territories that we have been created to confidently claim victory over. Both the trials and daily identity seasons are consequential in allowing us to flourish during our new territory seasons.

I find it fascinating that every season is connected, which is why they are all significant and we can’t have one without the other. Just as each season is significant, you are significant, and you are in the middle of your story. Recognizing your season, your significance and living in gratitude for the fruit that each season will produce is the key to peace and contentment. All seasons take extreme courage, and standing tall and walking boldly through each season will unlock your power. You were made to soar and fly into everything God has created you for, which is greatness!

Whatever seasons you are currently living in, proclaim it with power and victory. Know that you are not alone, physically or spiritually. Millions of women are walking alongside you and even in your same shoes, while God and His angels are always walking with you–cheering on your every breath and step.


Action Item:
Recognize your season and your significance. Living in gratitude for the fruit that each season will produce is the key to experiencing peace and contentment. All seasons take extreme courage, so stand tall and walk boldly through the season, as this will unlock your power. You were made to soar and fly into everything God has created you for, which is greatness. Whatever seasons you are currently living in, proclaim it with power and victory!


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