Tag Archives: encouragement

Member Spotlight: Tammy Saxon

Tammy in boys arms horiz.- DSC_0818.JPG

Roots:
I grew up in Houston and set roots in Austin after graduating from The University of Texas in 1988.

Family Life:
I’ve been married to my husband Chuck for 28 years, and our family of six includes our oldest son Chase who is a Junior at Texas Tech University, our son Grant who is a Freshman playing lacrosse at Stevenson University in Baltimore, MD, our youngest son Reid who is a 7th grader at Canyon Vista Middle School, and our big, sweet 11 year old Golden Retriever, Harvey.

Work Life:
I earned a Finance degree from UT and worked in the finance and accounting fields until I took an early retirement to raise our family.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The most impactful lessons I have learned through iGnite are to encourage and support each other on and off the yoga mat, YOU can always make a positive impact in others’ lives, and to set your goals high because you can achieve new heights physically and emotionally every day.

I am most inspired by…
My mom is a huge inspirational influence to me because she is overflowing in generosity, strength, unconditional love, dignity and grace. She has shown me the importance of giving back and that strength and will power lead you to achieve. Her generosity shines brightly through the Golden Retriever rescue that she founded a few years ago where she has placed so many orphaned dogs into forever homes. I recently thanked my mom for building such a long table after sending her this quote that describes her so beautifully: When you have all that you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.

Something people may not know about me…
I love, love, love polka dots and find them almost irresistible. They are happy, positive and uplifting, and they are represented in many items sprinkled throughout my home.

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be…
Blue Bell Peppermint. Have I mentioned my love of polka dots?! Peppermint ice cream is a splash of spirited polka dots leaving a pop of confidence on your tongue preparing you to take on any challenges that your day holds. Everyone should start their day with a spoonful of Peppermint ice cream!


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How to Have Joy in 30 Days Experiment

Originally published December 2013

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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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Member Spotlight: Janet Chastain

janet2Roots:
I was born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas. I’ve been in Austin, full time, since 1993, not counting the 4 years of college, 1978-1982.

Family life:
I’m married to Lee and have 2 children, Madeline (19) and Daniel (18).

Work Life:
Current occupation: Empty nester trying to find a current occupation.
Previous occupation(s): Tennis racquet stringer, waitress, banking regulator, attorney.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Health and fitness, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, are best nurtured in community. iGnite provides a great community of leaders and members who encourage, challenge, support, and love each other every single day.

I’m most inspired by…
My good friend, Cristina. She is facing one of the most difficult trials imaginable with such strength, humility, wisdom and faith, that I know her friends and family will never forget. She is truly a testimony to God’s provision in the hard things.

I’m looking forward to…
Spending time with my kiddos in Colorado over the Thanksgiving break.

If I were a pair of shoes, I would be…
Either my daughter’s Birkenstocks or my son’s hiking boots, so that I could go with them wherever they go, see what they see and support them every step of the way. But then again, that’s God’s job.


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Celebrate Love

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Point to Ponder:
Who has shown you radical love recently?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

By the title you may have questioned whether or not it is February, which thank goodness it’s not! Instead, it’s October and tomorrow, October 3, is iGnite’s official birthday. Not only will we continue to celebrate those who lift us higher and encourage us, as written about in the past two journals, but we are also going to celebrate love, because love is what sustains iGnite..

When I found the quote listed above, it struck me in a profound way. The idea of loving someone so radically that they wonder why is a really big deal, and let’s face it, there are times in our life when we don’t feel lovable. However, all it takes is a friend, family member, acquaintance or stranger to reach out with a smile, a word of encouragement, a prayer, a hug, a compliment, support of any kind or just listening. There is nothing more powerful, because it all is an act of love.

Supported, encouraged, special, humbled and honored is how I feel every time I am in and around our iGnite community. While being fit, strong, flexible and healthy are very important, our love for women’s fitness is the secondary driving force behind iGnite. Love is the primary engine: love for getting to share our passions with you, love for seeing you smile and shine, love for getting to be part of your life, love for seeing friendships form through iGnite, love for seeing you do something you never thought you could, love for celebrating your highs, love for loving you through your lows, and love for seeing you feel great and living a healthy and fulfilling life.

While sometimes painful, love doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to be the why behind all of our decisions and actions. And to our iGnite members, thank you for loving us, your iGnite team, and thank you for letting us love you! We remain eager to continue to love you with our life, just as this awesome song, by HOLLYN, sings.


Action Item:
Thank somebody who has shown you radical love.


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Celebrate Encouragement

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Point to Ponder:
Who in your life can you use some words of encouragement?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

In last week’s journal, Lift Higher, I wrote that in honor of iGnite’s tenth birthday that throughout next month we would celebrate by commemorating the people in our lives that lift us higher, as well as ways that they lift us higher. Thank you to everyone reading this journal because you taking the time to read this is lifting me higher, but in addition, a very recent example took place this summer during our iGnite Escape in Banff, Canada.

As I wrote a few weeks ago, myself and thirteen iGniters participated in a six hour mountaineering adventure called Via Ferrata. It was the perfect blend of fear, exhilaration and exhaustion, but by the end we were on top of the world and so thankful that we pushed ourselves to climb so high and for so long. While one of the more memorable takeaways was how important it is to put ourselves in situations that are mentally, physically and emotionally challenging (and even frightening), in order to encounter life’s most amazing and empowering experiences. However, the memory that made the greatest impact and the one I’d like to celebrate with you this week is the power of encouragement, for had it not been for the constant encouragement from one another as well as our guides, the experience would have been completely different and the end result would not have been so monumental.

Interesting, while on the Via Ferrata each of us found ourselves fearful and/or fatigued at different times, which meant that when one or a few of of us were down, the others were lifting each other up. It was a symphony of highs and lows, which resembled life as well as highlighted the significance of encouragement.

While encouraging and building one another up is an iGnite staple and may feel like a no-brainer, this week I invite you to make it your top priority. Celebrate those who encourage you and take the time to build someone up who is in need of your encouragement. Life ebbs and flows daily and you never know when someone needs to be lifted up or how a few words can make a profound impact on those around you.


Action Item:
Take time to encourage as many people as possible.


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Believe in Miracles, Rejoice in Each Day & Have Fun!

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives: Originally published Feb 12, 2012

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Point to Ponder:
How are you choosing to live? Are you choosing to live a life filled with health, joy and purpose?

Anne Jarvis

by Anne Jarvis

When I was 17 and a junior in high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the next ten years she had two radical mastectomies and eventually died of bone cancer that had spread throughout her body. She was only 59 years old. She was exceptionally brave, a strong believer, fiercely loved by her family and friends and was joyful, even until the end. When I think of my mom’s tremendous bravery and characteristics, I always think of three things:

  1. Believe In Miracles. When she became ill this was the little sign          that sat near her bed.
  2. This is the day that the Lord hath made. Rejoice and be glad in it. She would greet each day with these words.
  3. Have fun. These were her final words. When she passed away, I was an emotional and physical wreck. I lost twenty pounds in a month, was having regular panic attacks, had to quit work and was suffering from situational depression.

Over the next year I had to heal from this place of sadness and one thing I did everyday was walk outdoors and repeat—“God will see you through.” But my biggest ‘A-ha moment’ was when a therapist I was seeing said, “Anne, what are you going to do if you never feel any better than this?” It was at that moment I was given the choice of how I wanted to live my life. I decided I wanted to reclaim a place of health, joy and purpose. I wanted a rich and full life filled with highs and lows. I wanted to live each day as if it could be my last.

I recognize that while life is filled with tremendous blessings, it is also filled with painful moments of loss and great sadness. For me, I have come to my own personal crossroads that has caused me to make choices on how I will continue to live my life. For example, I value my family and friends, my faith, my health, my community, and the freedom to be my authentic self. I want to live each day knowing that I have made a difference not just to myself, but to others. I want people to think of me as someone that didn’t take herself too seriously and found humor in life. I want to keep learning, have a sense of wonder, remain grateful for the life I have been given while also looking towards the future. I want every day to count and have no regrets.

A life with no regrets or living each day like it could be your last is definitely easier said than done. I’ve found that I must face my fears, take risks, believe in myself, take a deep breath and put that foot on the floor each new day. Just this week I have found myself full of fear about having to make the decision to take the Brac breast cancer gene test. I don’t want to find out if I carry the predisposition for breast cancer, but the results might save mine and my daughters’ lives. And, if I claim to value health, then I must do the hard work. Life’s hardships build character and what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.

This is why I love iGnite — as women we are on life’s journey together, helping each other, encouraging each other to live full and happy lives. We are growing physically, mentally and spiritually. We are there for each other in joy and sorrow. So, from the wisdom of a woman who joyfully lived as she was dying, I encourage you to: Believe in Miracles, Rejoice in Each Day, Have Fun.

Action Item:
Choose to live a purpose-filled life while believing in miracles, rejoicing each day and having fun!


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Inspire, Love, & Encourage

Neighborly Love, Part V

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Point to Ponder:
Who can you inspire, love and encourage more?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Recently, while thumbing through my Bible and randomly selecting something to read, I came upon a verse from Hebrews that I had never read before: “Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, not forgetting to gather as a community and encourage one another.” As I contemplated the verse, it dawned on me that inspiring, loving and encouraging one another sums up how to effectively love our neighbors, which accounts for everyone: family members, friends and total strangers.

I understand…I know that everything can’t always be a bed of inspiring and encouraging roses and some people are easier to love than others, but for sure, eliminating criticism, negativity and focusing on being an encourager and inspiration to and for others can heal relationships, create friendships and transform people’s lives.

Today is Easter, a holiday which symbolizes extraordinary inspiration, infinite love and life-changing encouragement. With that, let us use the blessing and inspiration of Easter as a launching pad to raise our thoughts, words and actions to lift others and ourselves to new and greater heights. This is an incredible opportunity that we’ve all been given and you never know when something as simple as, “You got this!”, “I believe in you!” “Great job!”, will change the course of someone’s day or even life.

Action Item:
Keep a weekly encouragement journal and see how many people you can encourage this week.

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