Tag Archives: family

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.


You May Also Like:

Advertisements

Family, Friends & Being

SOCIALMEDIA_christmas_Instagram

“Family isn’t always blood relatives. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”  -Unknown

Point to Ponder:
Now that the hustle and bustle of Christmas is behind you, how will you give yourself the opportunity to rest and rejuvenate?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As we continue to celebrate the holidays and enjoy this sacred time with family and friends, we want to thank you for being part of our family in 2015. We are so very grateful for you. There is not a greater gift that we can be given than the gift of sharing your life with us!

With the excitement of the New Year around the corner and celebrations awaiting, I encourage you to embrace the quiet and cherish every minute of the final five days of the 2015. While extremely difficult and counter to our culture, the ability to remain present and live in the moment is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. We do have big and strategically successful plans for you in the New Year (hang on to your 2015 calendars!), however there will be plenty of time to ‘do’. Until then, this is a great opportunity to practice the ‘less is more’ philosophy, allow your focus to be set on long naps, Lifetime movies and simply ‘being’.

Action Item:
Practice the ‘less is more’ philosophy, live in the moment and allow your focus to be set on simply ‘being’.

You May Also Like:

Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy

makesomeoneslifebetter 2

Point to Ponder:
Where does spreading hope, love and joy fall into your Christmas festivities?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Each year and upon entering the Christmas season I always set out to be more intentional and purposeful than in the previous years. Inevitably, my goals are always the same: don’t overspend, stick to the Christmas list, avoid perfection, resist shopping for myself while I am shopping for others (how does that always happen?!), and most importantly to live outside of myself by giving and sharing the spirit and meaning of Christmas: to spread hope, love and joy.

I cringe to think how extra self-centered my holidays would be without my attempted annual goals. Frustratingly, I always spend more money that desired, I get caught up in materialism and commercialism, and I exhaust myself by trying to make everything perfect which in turn stresses me out! Shamefully, beyond my immediate family members, friends and neighbors there is very little thinking outside of myself, no extra sharing of love, hope and joy and therefore no additional lives impacted. Really, it’s nauseating that I live in this perpetual state of insanity (setting the same goal and taking no additional action yet expecting a different result), therefore to end this ridiculousness and attempt to really spread hope, love and joy and make a difference in at least one life during the Christmas season, I’ve come up with a plan of action entitled “Operation Spread Hope, Love and Joy”, and I hope you will join me!

The goal of Operation Spread Hope, Love and Joy is exactly as it sounds: to spread hope, love and joy by putting a smile on someone’s face, being a source of encouragement and light and continuing to express gratitude which will in turn positively impact lives.

Starting today and throughout the next four weeks leading up to Christmas I will announce the weekly action. For this week, the suggested action is to print the provided note card printable, cut out the individual notes and give to as many people as possible. If you are like me, you will experience some fear and hesitation when handing out the cards, especially to a total stranger. You may likely make an assumption that the potential recipient isn’t going through anything, doesn’t need a pick-me-up and/or will think you are weird. Repeat these words: Nonsense! Everyone is going through something, everyone can use a little light and iGnite in their lives and if spreading some hope, love and joy by means of positive note cards make us weird, I gladly welcome the label! After all, the worst thing that can happen is the card gets thrown in the trash, but what if it makes somebody else’s life better?

Finally, share how you are spreading your hope, love and joy note cards by posting pictures via your favoritie social media outlets, using the hashtag #spreadhopeloveandjoy and tagging iGnite. This is not at all to be braggadocious or draw attention to your or iGnite’s actions. Instead, it’s an opportunity to let social media do what I believe social media has the greatest potential in doing, which is to be a catalyst for uplifting messages, positive change and spreading good around the world.

Action Item:
Print the provided note card printable, cut out the individual notes and give to as many people as possible. If you are able, share how you are spreading your hope, love and joy note cards by posting pictures via your favorite social media outlets, using the hashtag #spreadhopeloveandjoy and tagging iGnite.

You May Also Like:

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.

You May Also Like:

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.

You May Also Like:

Fourteen Reasons to be Grateful

iGnite -gratitude changes everything

Point to Ponder:
Do you regularly acknowledge what you are grateful for?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you have likely noticed, during the month of November we are celebrating gratitude! Not only are we eager to blast out our gratitude in our social media #ignitegratefulgram contest, but we are fired up to wear our gratitude loud and proud with our NEW ‘Grateful’ fall apparel.

We are not at all suggesting or asking that you post or wear your grateful spirit to be boastful about your “things”. Instead, the motivation behind our Grateful Campaign is to encourage the daily action of giving thanks for our amazing lives and blessings…because when life gets inevitably tough, a grateful spirit can change a bad day into a good day, and a good day into a great day, because gratitude changes everything. I’m hopeful that our Grateful Campaign will inspire and reignite a grateful spirit in everyone.

There is no denying that acknowledging our blessings on a daily basis leads to a physiological reaction that creates a happy and peacful state in the body. To go a step further, based on the findings from a fascinating gratitude experiment conducted by two psychologists, writing down what we are grateful for leads to even greater results. Check this out:

“Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of 1. alertness, 2. enthusiasm, 3. determination, 4. optimism, and 5. energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less 6. depression and 7. stress, and 8. were more likely to help others, 9. exercised more regularly, and 10. made greater progress toward achieving personal goals. In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more 11. creative, 12. bounce back more quickly from adversity, 13. have a stronger immune system, and 14. have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.” – The Change Blog

Something that I am experimenting with in our family is a gratitude jar. The jar sits in the middle of our dining room table and each evening at dinner, we talk about one thing we are grateful for, followed with writing it down on piece of paper and placing it in the jar. Because I have small children who can’t write, I have been writing what they say as as well as including the date. It has become a sweet and focused time which stirs up great conversation (even with a two and a four year old). My personal goal is to revisit the jar of notes during our Thanksgiving meal and to continue writing down what we are grateful for throughout the month of November and the remainder of the year.

Another idea is to print and cut out our Grateful Printables. Then, place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. From a good nights rest, a warm a cup of coffee to the blessing of good health, family and friends, it all counts and taking the time to acknowledging your blessings will make a positive impact in your health, relationships and overall quality of life. And, several months from now or anytime you need a pick-me-up, all you have to do is read what’s in the jar and you are guaranteed a good laugh, happy cry and/or mood booster. Why? Because gratitude changes everything!

Action Item:
Print out our Grateful Printables. Place your jar, printables and pen in a high-traffic area in your home and anytime you or your family members pass by it, drop a gratitude note in the jar. Or, at dinner each evening have each family member write down and discuss what they are grateful for and place in the jar.

You May Also Like:

Creating Your 61-Day Plan

iGnite - how do you spend your time

Point to Ponder:
How will you spend the last 61 days of 2015?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Whew, It’s November! And who doesn’t love November? Delicious temperatures, daylight savings (more sleep-YAY!), fall clothing, colorful foliage, and of course, time with family during the Thanksgiving holiday. While all of this makes my heart really happy, I get heart palpitations when I think about having only two months, i.e. sixty-one days left in the year, yet so much to do! How did that happen?!

I subscribe to several blogs and recently Austin-based Life Coach and Speaker, Renee Trudeau posted an excellent article on not only defining our life vision, but more realistically defining a vision for the next 90-days. In our case, that is the next sixty-one days, and because last week we determined what we’ve had enough of and will not include in our 2015 finale, the next step is to define and be intentional with how we spend our time throughout the next sixty-one days. Renee suggests these two questions for helping define your vision:

  1. What is uniquely mine to do? and
  2. What is the best use of my energy and talents in the next sixty-one days?

What I appreciate about Renee’s intentional strategy is the practicality of focusing on ninety or sixty days. It’s not overwhelming because I can actually see, feel and touch this time frame. In addition to answering those 2 questions and getting in the right frame of mind, Renee also recommends setting aside time in a distraction-free peaceful setting where you can create the following lists:

  • List all activities that fuel you (activities that give you energy, nourish you, and make you feel alive)
  • List all all activities that drain you (create physical tightness or discomfort in your back belly or neck every time they cross your consciousness). Often these “drains” are things like a financial issue that must be handled, a touchy conversation that you’ve been avoiding having, a disorganized office space at work or home, or a career issue that needs to be addressed

Address the ‘drains’ with an aggressive housecleaning mindset, giving yourself three options for handling each energy zapper:

1) “Just do it:” Set a deadline for when you can complete the project
2) Delegate It: Ask for help if needed, or outsource the task
3) Dump It: Walk away from the task or decide it isn’t going to happen (at least not in
the next sixty-one days)

Ultimately, the goal within the next sixty-one days is to not let life “just happen” or be filled with random action, enery-suckers and unfulfilling activities. Instead, let’s get the most out of it and make it great by striving to be prayerful and intentional about how we use our time, energy and talents. We can do this!

Action Item:
Create your 61-day plan by completing the activities suggested by Renee Trudeau:
1. Answer her 2 questions for defining your vision
2. Create your “fueling” and “draining” activities lists
3. Assign your “draining” activities one of the 3 categories above

You May Also Like: