Tag Archives: expressing gratitude

Dear Me, Thank you!

Fall Folaige pic 2

Point to Ponder:
How often do you acknowledge and give thanks for all that you do and all that you are?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springman

Throughout the month of November we have focused on expressing gratitude in various ways. We encouraged making gratitude jars and everyday writing what we are grateful for and then placing it in the jar to then look at at a later date. Then, we took the time to physically write gratitude notes to the people we are grateful for, we continue to post what we are grateful for in our social media #ignitegratefulgram challenge, and we are wearing our gratitude, as ‘grateful’ is printed across the chest of all of our new fall apparel.

We believe that gratitude changes everything and of course our efforts were put in place to inspire attitudes of gratitude, but we were also hopeful that it would ignite attitudes of abundance, blessings and fun! Also, our big picture mission is that our gratitude campaign has made a positive impact on you and in your life, starting with your family and then being contagiously caught by thousands of other people.

Finally, there’s just one more gratitude request and call to action, and that’s to thank yourself by filling out our “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet. You may think this is totally narcissistic and weird, but stick with me. Typically, when we express gratitude it’s towards the people we love, our health, time with family and friends, things, our work, food, clothing, etc. All of these are wonderful, however what you must not neglect and absolutely must acknowledge and celebrate is everything you do and all that you are, which includes: your commitment to countless people and relationships; how incredibly hard you work on so many things; the impact you make in the lives of others; your dedication to your health and wellness, family and relationships; your beautiful and unique God-given talents and features which allows you to be you and do what you do, and so much more!

I realize this may seem like just another task during a busy holiday week, however I encourage you to take ten minutes to celebrate yourself, because ultimately when you acknowledge and express gratitude for all that you are and for all that you do, it’s simply saying “thank you” for what you’ve been given, which opens your spirit to receiving more, giving more and becoming more. And, becoming all that we were created to be is one of our greatest callings and life’s missions, and in doing so, our impact is extraordinary.

Action Item:
Print the “Dear Me, Thank You!” worksheet, gratefully fill it out and place in an area where you can frequently see it and give thanks.

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Member Spotlight: Nancy Dacy

IMG_4010Roots:
I grew up in Midland, Texas. I came to Austin in 1975 as a Junior in college to attend The University of Texas as a transfer from SMU. I have been here…wow…40 years.

Family Life:
I have been married to David, an Austin native, for 35 years. We met here at UT. We have 3 children: Catherine, 29, Christopher, AKA “Cricker” 28 and Alexis, 24. And as I am sure everyone knows, we have 2 grandchildren: Grayson, 3 1/2, and Madison, 4 months.

Current/Previous Occupation:
I taught Kindergarten a LONG time ago. I have done a little health coaching but primarily I have lived my adult life volunteering in many different capacities. My focus now is the Helping Hand Home for Children.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
I have gained so much from iGnite, but I think the biggest lesson is that I/we are capable of doing so much more than we think we are. We just need to take advantage of opportunities and with encouragement, all we need to do is step out of our comfort zone and give things a try. You never know until you try. As I have said, I never dreamed I would be surfing without a rope on my 60th birthday. That was 100% iGnite and Kathleen.

Best advice given and from who:
Not sure where I heard this but it has stuck with me ever since: Everyone takes responsibility for their own happiness. Happiness is a choice that comes from within. Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. There are choices you can make every day to feel the effects of happiness. Choose to do something meaningful. Choose to take care of your body. Choose to be around the right people. Choose a good attitude. Choose to express gratitude. Choose to forgive. Choose to focus on what you have, not on what you haven’t.

In my free time…
My first choice is to be on the lake. It is truly my happy place. I love to travel – just need to do more of it. I am working on a needlepoint stocking for Madison, my granddaughter. So, more time than usual, is spent in front of a LifeTime movie stitching. Otherwise, I am with Madison and Grayson a lot.

Who is your celebrity look alike?
Well, for some reason, people are ALWAYS telling me I look like someone they know. It is really the oddest thing. But, for many years, everywhere I went (and I am truly not exaggerating), people told me I look like Cindy Brooks who used to anchor the Channel 5 news here in Austin. I had no idea who she was because I didn’t watch that channel. Finally, I did. Of course, I didn’t really see the resemblance. Many people said it was the smile. And…again, I don’t see it, but many people have told me I look like Jane Fonda. All I can picture is Monster In Law.

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Who are You Grateful for?

"We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives."  -John F. Kennedy

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
-John F. Kennedy

Point to Ponder:
Who are you grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Who are you grateful for? If you are like me, I would guess that this is a fairly simple question to answer and that you could create a long list of people, however, it’s likely that these people may not hear or see the words “I am grateful for you” as much as they’d like to and as often as you feel grateful for them.

It was at this exact same time last year that we launched our “I am grateful for you”, week-long letter writing campaign, and it was nothing short of beautiful! As a result of you, our members, writing gratitude letters during classes, we mailed over three hundred notes by the Thanksgiving holiday. That was approximately 2.5 gratitude notes per person, which translates to over 600 uplifted and happy hearts — with both the sender and receiver experiencing the proven benefits of gratitude. Therefore, we are absolutely committed to making this a pre-Thanksgiving tradition! My personal goal is to crush last year’s number and aim for at least three hand-written notes per person.

iGnite is emotionally invested in your well-being and we believe that the act of expressing gratitude verbally or in a handwritten note has the power to repair relationships and transform lives. And because having healthy relationships is paramount to living a low-stress and fulfilling life, we have ordered one thousand cards and we’d love to have ZERO left over when you’re done with them! The only action required is for you to attend classes throughout this week, have at least three people in mind that you are grateful for, then fill out the notes & envelopes during designated class time. The postage and trip to the post office is on us!

Finally, there is one more thing that I encourage you to pay close attention to during and after writing your gratitude notes, and that’s how you feel. Because you will have just finished exercising and/or practicing yoga, your endorphins will be flowing and you will already be feeling great, but all gratitude research proves that the result of expressing gratitude is an increase in life-satisfaction and well-being. In fact, one fascinating and very relative study by Steve Toepfer, associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies at Kent State University, found that “when a study participant wrote up to three gratitude notes about something that was important to them (not a generic “thank you” for you a gift, etc) the more they improved significantly on happiness and life satisfaction. The new and potentially important finding is that depressive symptoms decreased. Even more fascinating is that by writing these letters – 15 to 20 minutes each, once a week for three weeks to different people – well-being increased significantly.”

Gratitude. We can question its power and significance, but it’s all backed up by research. The more we express it, live in it and share it, the happier, more fulfilled and healthier we are. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s the cheapest and most effective fix on the market. Unlike everything else, there are no crazy side-effects — with the exception of extreme joy — and we can access it at our disposal. Now that’s what I call some serious good news!

Action Item:
Think about 3 people who you are grateful for and write them a personal “I am grateful for you” note this week!

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Dear ____, I Am Grateful for YOU

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“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
– John F. Kennedy

Point to Ponder:

When was the last time you took the time to write and send someone a hand-written gratitude note?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I feel certain you’ll agree that receiving a hand-written note in the mail never gets old. There’s no doubt that computers and cell phones make it very convenient to communicate a nice gesture, but there’s just something extra endearing when we send or receive a hand-written note. Call me old fashion, but I think this is an extremely important action. Unfortunately, writing a note, addressing it, putting a stamp on it and walking it to the mailbox is no longer the way we do things, which is why taking the time to write a note is so very special. And, because during the month of November we are focusing on gratitude, this week we thought it would be appropriate to write gratitude notes.

If you attend any of our classes this week, we will provide you with gratitude notes so you hand-write that special someone a note. We will collect your sealed gratitude note and see to it that it has postage and is dropped in the mail so your special someone will receive your note by Thanksgiving.

To me, expressing gratitude on a daily basis is one of the keys to living a meaningful, connected and joyful life. However, our busy lives, daily challenges and stressors often cause our gratitude to get derailed and we forget to say “thank you,” so maybe remembering that science has proven that expressing gratitude has endless health benefits including increased energy, higher emotional intelligence, more forgiving attitudes, less depression, less anxiousness, more feelings of connectedness, better sleep and fewer headaches will help us stay focused on gratitude. Therefore, whether or not you are able to attend class this week, we encourage you to take the time to hand-write and send at least one gratitude note.

In the event you need help getting your gratitude flowing, below are our Leaders’ notes to the people in their life they’re grateful for, and know that we are grateful for you and so very grateful to have the opportunity to share life with you.
friendsDear Friends,
I am so grateful for the love and support you have shown me while dealing with the loss of my Mom. Your caring notes, hugs and listening ears have helped and continue to support and uplift me. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by strong and caring women who fill my heart with love and remind me how to fly again when my wings feel broken. I am so grateful for my girlfriends!
love, Amy

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Dear Mom,
I don’t think I have ever told you how thankful I am for you. Thank you for teaching me to be independent and for allowing me to learn from my many mistakes. Thank you for not saying, “I told you so,” even though I know that statement had to be at the tip of your tongue on more than one occasion. Thank you for your sense of humor and for the many phone calls when we laugh so hard that we have to hang up, gain our composure and call each other back. But most of all thank you for your unconditional love for me and my children.
I love you!
Betty

taylorjack_caryDear Taylor and Jack,
There are two beautiful tunes inside of me, and each began playing on the days that you were born. I couldn’t hear your music until I held you each for the first time, just a few days after you began your lives, but once I heard your notes and lyrics, they were lovingly familiar. These tunes changed as you grew…sometimes they were soft and soothing, bright and fun; and sometimes I heard songs that I did not want to sing along with. Thankfully, the music plays on, no matter what…stirred by your very presence, and I now know a beauty that is true and deep. Thank you for that, thank you for being my boys.
– Mom (Cary)
unnamed-56Dear Mom,
I am so grateful for you! I am grateful to you for all you did for Missy and me in setting an incredible example of how to be not only an incredible mother, but also a great friend and a hard-working, independent woman. Through your example, you taught us the importance of never taking ourselves too seriously, to laugh at ourselves and at hard situations, to always enjoy a good ol’ hamburger and potato salad, to maintain close friendships, and to not obsess over food, beauty or physique. I still can’t believe you never got angry when I was little and would call you at work asking what you were cooking that night! Now that’s incredible…I can only hope to be half the mother you are. I am so so grateful for all you’ve done and continue to do, so selflessly, for me. You’re my hero Mom!
Love you, Catherine
unnamed-57Babe,
I am so grateful for YOU! You bring joy into my life everyday. I love receiving a beautiful bible verse from you each morning when I check my texts. It makes my day! You support me in all that I do. Your unconditional love for all those around you is a perfect example of Christ in you. I learn so much from you even thought you are only 19. You make me want to be a better version of myself. Your integrity, values and beliefs are those of a person way beyond your years. I love that you love being on the lake with me! I will surf tandem with you any day! I am so thankful for you Babe!!
With much love,
Aunt Boo (Kathleen)

unnamed-58Dear Family,
I am so grateful to my parents who have held up carpool duty, so I can stay out of the car. My kids for setting the table, carrying their own bags and picking up the house because it is hard for me. I am grateful to my hubby for still making me feel good about me, when I don’t feel like myself. I am a lucky woman even when I am struggling and healing!
Meg

unnamed-59Dear Dad,
I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for you and mom and all that you’ve done for me for 26 years and for Clayton for 4 years. I know I talk to mom more on the phone (but that’s because we women like to gab and you are a quiet man of few wonderful words), but I am a total daddy’s girl. Thank you for supporting my dreams, for always encouraging me to work hard in a field I love, for loving me unconditionally, and for teaching me that “you catch more flies with honey than vinegar”. You are the best dad, and father-in-law around, and I am so thankful you are mine! Clayton also loves learning from you, and he’s going to have a wonderful example when we have children one day. I love you so much!
Molly
unnamed-60Dear Russell,
I do not tell or show you nearly enough, but I am so grateful that you are my husband. I am grateful for your relentless hard work to provide a great life for our family, as well as for your constant support of my goals and dreams. Thank you for believing in me and being my rock. You are an amazing man, selfless and giving husband and father and a remarkable human being. I am so proud of you and blessed to be married to you. You make me better and I am so grateful for you and the life we have together.
I love you so very much,
Neissa

Action Item:

This week, take the time to hand-write and send at least one person a gratitude note.