Tag Archives: friendship

Member Spotlight: Madeleine Tilin

grey-big-smile-filter-5652Roots:
I grew up in Lubbock, graduated from UT Austin with a degree in journalism and moved several times before coming back to Austin in 2011. My children’s father and I both worked in publishing and enjoyed some great cities together as a result – Boulder, Chicago, Santa Fe and Oakland. We moved to Austin in 2011.

Family Life:
I live with my partner, John, and I have two children, Isaac (17) and Leila (14) who are in high school at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. We also live with John’s two sons, Graham (17) and Lucas (14) who attend LASA. It’s kind of like the Brady Bunch without Alice. 🙂

Work Life:
I have spent my work life as a visual communicator – magazine art director, graphic designer and photographer. I’ve been an event and portrait photographer for the last 9 years and am transitioning to having my own female centered contemporary portrait studio out of my home. I’m excited to develop as a fine artist using my photography as a basis to create photo encaustic work, a medium that uses beeswax and oil pant to create beautiful, one of a kind art pieces for my clients. It’s been germinating for a few years. It’s finally becoming a reality, and I’m super excited! That said, my job as a mother trumps all. It’s clichĂ©, but I don’t think I really knew how big my heart could grow until I had children. I’m so thankful for this journey.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Working out in community is way more fun and motivating. 🙂 I have always valued my friendships with women, so iGnite is an extension of that. I appreciate that there are women of all ages, perspectives and life experiences.

Who or what inspires me most…
It’s hard to narrow this one down! My children, my girlfriends, nature and my yoga practice. First, my children inspire me with their kindness, sensitivity and openness to life and all kinds of people. Second, nature, particularly the ocean and redwoods in Northern California and the high desert and mountains in New Mexico. As a photographer, I’m always observing the quality of light in new places, and I inevitably think the last place is the best…like how could it ever get better?! This is a great metaphor for life. 🙂 Just when you think you have experienced the most amazing, sublime light, you arrive in a new place or time and something different and just as beautiful is revealed. Nature perpetuates a sense of wonder that is so very important to happiness. My closest girlfriends near and far inspire me with their big, generous hearts and willingness to dig deep and help each other be the best versions of ourselves. My yoga practice has enriched my life in ways I could have never imagined when I started practicing 22 years ago. It has been my close friend and refuge most of my adult life, and I can easily say that it has made me a better human being. I am eternally grateful to my many teachers who have passed on different aspects of this beautiful practice.

Something people may not know about me is…
I sang vocals, played keyboard and flute in two different bands in Oakland. They were both groups of parents who were getting their groove back. 🙂 It was a ton of fun and learning how to play with others was a whole new experience.

Three words to describe myself are…
Creative, warm-hearted, free-spirited


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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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Are You Listening to the Signs?

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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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A Decade of Dedication

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As we continue to celebrate our birthday, we are highlighting the women who know iGnite better than anyone as they have spent 10 years of fun, friendship & fitness with this welcoming community. The “Fab 5” were part of Founder Neissa Springmann’s first class in October 2006 and are still here reaping the benefits of the whole-self approach to fitness and life. iGnite is beyond blessed to have them as cheerleaders and mentors for our members!

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The Fab 5 (l to r): Kathleen Parker, Cathy Johnson, Becky Heiser, Cindy Haeglin & Louise Pincoffs

Four of these amazing women are passing along some of the inspiration and great times that have come from being apart of the iGnite family…

Cindy Haeglin

IMG_7077.JPGMy earliest memory of iGnite… is of being with Neissa on the trail across from Austin High. We drug our big blue balls everywhere and skipped up and down the trail in the dark. Such fun we had!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…iGnite has taught me to love where I am in my life. Things are constantly changing. Sometimes I feel good about my body and sometimes I don’t. I no longer hyper focus but instead, just do the best I can and am thankful for all my blessings.

My favorite iGnite classes… are swimming and yoga. Swimming is a great workout when your joints start to get creaky. I think I will be able to do water exercise of some type for the rest of my life. Yoga is so good for stretching my body and calming my mind.

Cathy Johnson

ignite-cathy-oswalt-003-1I describe iGnite as…a nice group of women, of various ages, professions and experiences, who like to take care of themselves and enjoy exercising.

My earliest memory of iGnite…is being at the original location, which was beautiful, on Town Lake. All seasons were nice, the leaves in the fall, the steam coming off of the water in the winter and the first hint of green in the spring. It was a wonderful spot to relax after our workout. We also had to bring our own equipment, in an iGnite bag, which included a jump rope, weights and a big red utter ball.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…to keep on moving

My favorite iGnite class… is Betty’s dance class because it’s fun to dance! I love Betty and we all try to keep up with our “Rangerette.”

Kathleen Parker

I describe iGnite as…a positive outdoor fitness and wellness experience for women!! It is relational, uplifting, exciting, comforting, exhilarating, and so so FUN!!

dh000002-1My earliest memory of iGnite… is Neissa describing it when I was at her Westwood Kickboxing class. She was so excited to start a spiritual and positive outdoor experience for women, and all I could say was, “I AM IN!!” Then our first week started Monday, October 3rd, 2006. Our small group met at 6 am in the dark on an old slab down by the 1st st. bridge that was once a bridge barrier. We all had a big utter ball, and the wind would blow and we would run to catch our balls since we were literally located 5 feet from the lake! We used to bounce our big balls down the trail in the dark and people would just stop in amazement and clear the path for us. Then I remember we had a really cold first winter and one of our new participants was told to bring gloves, and she showed up in garden gloves and her fingers pretty much froze. We did not see her back again until Springtime!! For that first year, Neissa would literally hand us this brightly colored sheet of beautiful facts and things for us to think about and fill out for the week!! I read every word of every page and saved every weekly sheet until we moved in 2010!! So many great memories from ’06!!

My favorite iGnite class… is of course, LAKE ESCAPE!! This is where women are transformed into adrenalin rushing kids and have more fun than aloud to have on land!!
My second favorite class is POWER UP! I am so passionate about lifting weights to stay strong and bone healthy!! There is nothing more exhilarating than finishing a challenging weight/sprint workout!!!

The biggest lesson I’ve learned from iGnite… is that RELATIONSHIPS are THE most important thing in life!! They bring you joy, comfort, happiness, warmth, love and a feeling of belonging. As one of our young adults told me, “Kathleen, have you ever seen a hearse with a tailgate hitch”?? I love that–nothing is as important as my relationship with God, my family and my friends.  Of course, the number 2 thing I have learned from iGnite is to HAVE FUN EVERY DAY–and get that fun rush of adrenalin in!

Louise Pincoffs

ignite-yoga-018I describe iGnite as… an all inclusive health motivator. Mind, body, and spirit!

My earliest memory of iGnite…is meeting at town lake across from Seaholm and playing all along trail with friends.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through iGnite over the years…stay positive, give it time, and surround yourself with friends who have those priorities!

My favorite iGnite class…Amy’s yoga and Molly’s cardio are in a tie! They are a weekly gift to myself.

My favorite memory of iGnite… Fun social gatherings because we have a chance to get to know each other better!


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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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Shine Bright & Let Your Freedom Ring

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Freedom allows us to shine our brightest.  How do you let your freedom ring and shine bright? Here’s inspiration from some of our iGniters…

“I believe that we all have a light within us; I think of it as the Holy Spirit and I visualize a candle that burns steadily as we stay connected to our authentic, true source. Sometimes the candle flickers and gets dim and we need others to help us rekindle it. I believe I am shining brightest when my candle is able to light the way not only for myself, but to help light the way for others who may be struggling.”Amy Younkman

“I shine bright when I can teach someone to do something they didn’t think they could do, or when I see three people in one day learn to surf that have never tried it. Women who said they would never water ski again and they do it! The smiles on their faces just makes me feel shiny! Also, seeing 50 plus year-old amazing women racing each other up one of the biggest and steepest hills and seeing women of all ages do pull ups and begin to love them! The freedom to lead the way I want to lead and teach the things I want to teach makes me so happy. Seeing the joy of accomplishment is the ultimate SHINE.”Kathleen Parker

“I let freedom ring through education, religion, and relationships. Through my freedom I am able to shine bright by teaching young minds to be creative, to think for themselves and encourage them to chase their dreams. I am able to shine bright and grow daily in my relationship with my savior Jesus Christ. And, lastly, I shine bright when I am surrounded by friends (new and old) and family. I am inspired and encouraged by how bright they shine in their own way!”Jessie D’Andrea

“I let my Freedom Ring & Shine Bright by being as healthy, independent, and self-sufficient as possible so that I can role model that for my daughters. I shine my brightest when I am connecting with other people whether it be enjoying fun times together, encouraging people through life, listening to live music, sharing a meal, or exercising outdoors in a group with other iGniters!” -Sarah Hamilton, iGnite member

“I shine my brightest in two ways, with one is when I am being someone’s cheerleader. I love to encourage, motivate and yell loud for anyone, whether it be in a competition, in a class or silently cheering in prayer! It makes my heart pound, and I get chills! The second is when I am around children. Kids make me smile and laugh. They teach me to practice patience and how to love hard. They enjoy the small, simple things in life, and they have crazy, amazing imaginations and dreams. I want to live like that.”Molly Daniels

“I feel like I shine brightest, and that I am doing what God has called me to do, when I am with children and youth, specifically when I am leading and coaching them in living healthy, active lives, opening their eyes to the many different ways to do that, and helping them recognize their unique and special qualities and their talents and gifts. And I feel most fulfilled when I am connecting with my own children in this way, through “play,” moving in new and different ways with them and enjoying the miracle of our bodies, while also enjoying nature and God’s beautiful world around us.”Alli Phillips

“One of the ways I let my freedom ring is by owning my own business. I love the freedom of getting to create a business that is an authentic expression of my heart and how I see the world, as well as the flexibility of working for myself and choosing who I get to work with. As for as when I shine my brightest? I feel I shine my brightest when I am leading, teaching, coaching, loving, encouraging, helping others, making people laugh and sharing God’s awesomeness. I am also super shiny when I’m spending sweet time my amazing family and friends, including my two precious children and husband, when there’s lots of playing and dancing.  –Neissa Brown Springmann


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A Touch of Kindness Goes a Long Way

Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy, Part III

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“A little spark of kindness can put a colossal burst of sunshine in someone’s day. Be the reason someone smiles today.

Point to Ponder:
Have you ever considered your daily goal being to make someone smile?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Like many little boys, when my four year old son Durant was a toddler he loved trash trucks. Thursday was our trash pick-up day so that was a huge deal! As soon as I heard the trash truck roaring down the street my husband or I would scoop him up and we’d rush out of the house to catch a glimpse and give a wave. He loved trash trucks so much that I would follow them around neighborhoods. During one of my “I’ll do anything to entertain my toddler”/ “trash truck stalking” moments, I was following a trash truck so close that the sweet garbage man got out of his truck to wave me around him. I let him know that I had a little boy in the car who loved trash trucks. He then invited us into his truck and let Durant push buttons and steer the wheel. Like the quote says, the little spark of kindness from the garbage man put a colossal burst of sunshine in both of our days! I will forever be grateful for all of the sweet garbage men who honked their horns, gave us waves and let us check out their powerful machines.

Before having my endearing garbage man experience which led to a sincere appreciation for this group, my angelic grandmother showed me how important it was to be kind and generous to people who have “thankless jobs”, like a garbage man.

My grandmother, ‘Mama Doris’, might have been the most kind and wonderful person I have ever known. If being too kind is possible, she fell in that category because she nurtured and cared for everyone except herself. In addition to doing anything for anyone and being an amazing grandmother, a few examples of her kindness were that she would regularly bake the mailman and garbage man her homemade apple and butter pies, and she would scramble eggs for stray cats! She was always spreading hope, love and joy and I have no doubt that she is in heaven continuing to bake and cook for everyone.

In consideration of this week being our third week of Operation Spread Hope, Love and Joy, my encouragement for you is to continue to be intentional with spreading hope, love and joy by doing something kind for men and/or women who perform “thankless jobs”. Just a few examples of thankless jobs are garbage, mail and delivery services, construction, etc.

Finally, due to travel back to Austin for the holidays we will miss this week’s trash day, so last week I left a Merry Christmas note with goodie gift bag for our trash men. I don’t know about you, but our pantry is never lacking treats, especially during the holiday season, so it was a cinch to find goodies to fill the bag. And, it felt really good to create and leave a gift bag for our garbage men and upon doing so I had no expectation. However, that evening while pulling the garbage cans back into the garage I found a hand-written thank you note from Jaime V, one of the garbage men (see below). I was floored!

While last Tuesday was a great day, Jaime V’s note was the highlight of that day and it continues to make me smile. In fact, I’m keeping it in my day planner as a reminder of not only how truly gratifying it is to give, but how upligting it feels to receive an unexpected thank you.

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A thank you not from Jaime V, our garbage truck driver

 

Action Item:
Spread a little love, hope and joy by doing something kind for the men and/or women who perform thankless jobs such as garbage, mail and delivery services, construction, etc.

 

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Spreading Hope, Love and Joy to the Hopeless

Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy, Part II

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Point to Ponder:
How do you view the homeless or those on the street asking for help?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Sadly, in Austin and in most cities it is common to see homeless, desperate or hopeless people standing at busy intersections asking for help. Despite being advised by law officials and professionals to not give them money, if I have cash, change or any unopened food I always give what I have. And, when I do not have anything to give I get embarrassed and avoid eye contact. Ugh! Definitely not a mature and or compassionate response! I realize that by giving money I could be enabling their pursuit of getting a job or supplying funds for their next possible drug fix, but I don’t know their life story or history so to judge seems wrong and unfair.

Shamefully, there was a time when I didn’t feel this way and my heart was filled with judgement. While I didn’t voice it, when I saw someone asking for help my thought was that they should have more pride and work ethic than to lazily ask for my hard earned money. After all, I grew up with limited financial resources yet managed to work my way through college and make it. Why can’t they? However, several years ago I attended a Caritas luncheon where the co-authors of the book, Same Kind of Different as Me spoke. This experience changed my heart and perspective.

If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to. Or if you wait until April 2016 it will be out in the theaters. In summary, through volunteering at a homeless meals program in Fort Worth, the co-authors Ron Hall (a wealthy Fort Worth art dealer) and Denver Moore (a literal modern-day hobo) developed a unique friendship. An intense bond was formed and both lives were changed– with Ron’s heart experiencing the greatest transformation. As a result of the book’s message and success, the two men traveled to speaking engagements, with Austin being one of them. Towards the end of the luncheon, Denver, the modern-day hobo and former prison inmate spoke. While he had no formal education, he understood life, the spiritual world, and had a connection with God like I had never seen or heard before. The room was silenced by his compassion, faith and wisdom and while I clung to every word he spoke, it was his advice on whether or not to give the homeless and hopeless money that I will never forget.

Having lived a life of homelessness, desperation and having people look down on him, Denver passionately urged the audience to bypass judgement towards the homeless, as we will never know what they have experienced in life and why they are in the situation they are in. Furthermore, he acknowledged that we’ve all been told not to give the homeless money, however he pleaded that we give what we can, and in doing so respectfully look them in their eyes and smile. Ultimately, he reminded us that we will never know if it will be our dollar, our smile or our words that will be the difference in their life.

After his sincere message, rather than look down on the homeless or beggars, I began to view them, their situation, and people in general with more compassion. I contemplated how I would want someone to treat me, my children, my family, and friends if we where homeless, desperate or falling on hopeless times. Or, if we were just in need of some help, support or encouragement. In doing so I realized how self-righteous and judgemental I had been. Then recently it was upon reading Matthew 26: 34 – 45, verses that I have listened to many times before, that I finally heard and realized how much more I can and need to do:

On His right, he will say; (Jesus) Come here, you beloved, you people whom My Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation. You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink; I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives; I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.
Even then the righteous will not have achieved perfect understanding and will not recall these things.
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find you naked and clothe You? When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
And then He will turn to those on His left hand.
Jesus: Get away from Me, for I was starving, and you left Me with no food. I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see you without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.

Despite your faith or belief, the idea that we should treat others as we would want to be treated says it all. And, we have all been given a conscious that guides us and gives us valuable information, which is why I am unable to make eye contact when someone is asking for help and I don’t have anything to give them. I know it’s not right or respectful to not show someone respect and give them the dignity they deserve by simply looking in their eye and exchanging a smile.

As a result, several months ago I began creating baggies of crackers, rice crispy treats, and breakfast bars. And, as of last week I added our printable ‘iGnite spread hope love and joy’ note cards. I keep the bags in my car so that I can have them with me at all times and it truly has made a difference! Therefore, as we continue to focus on spreading hope, love and joy, I hope you will consider doing the same and making care packages that you can hand out when needed. While the person you give the goodie bag and smile to will appreciate your generosity, I promise that your heart will be the one filled with hope, love and joy.

IMG_4106

Goodie Bag Basket

Action Item:
Create goodies bags and fill them with helpful items and the printable iGnite note cards. Keep them in your car and with a smile and eye contact, hand them to the homeless, hopeless or someone in need.

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I’ll be Honest, I’m Not Good at Change!

 iGnite - if nothing ever changed

Photo taken by founder Neissa in iGnite member Mary Bell’s flower garden while the Monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico. Be sure to be on the lookout for Monarch butterflies (iGnite’s chosen symbol for strength and grace), as they will be migrating and coming through Austin soon! Devastatingly, since 1990 about 970 billion Monarchs have vanished due to farmers and homeowners spraying herbicides on Milkweed. You can help by planting a lot of Milkweed, which serves as their primary food source, nursery and home.

Point to Ponder:
How do you cope with change?

by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

Change is very hard for me, and I’ve experienced a lot of it in the past three weeks. These recent changes aren’t happening to me personally, but rather to families very near to my heart — special friends who I consider family. As I mentioned in my journal piece about “connectedness,” when I love someone, I love hard, and I attach equally so. Hence, any event that alters that relationship is challenging for me.

I found out several months ago that my closest family friends in Austin were considering a move to Seattle, and my first reaction was an uncontrollable flood of tears. I cried thinking about how I would never get to see “my girls” as often as I would like. When I moved to Austin in 2006, I began babysitting for them. At the time, the oldest was nearly two, and the mom was pregnant with the little sister. I babysat two to three times every week, ate dinner with them, watched TV shows, spent the night, went to baptisms, helped at every birthday party, had Thanksgiving with them and had them as flower girls in my wedding. We actually are almost family — we share the same cousins, but we aren’t cousins, although the girls and I like to say we are 🙂 I have lived five minutes away from them for nine years, and could see them anytime that I wanted. I felt like I “grew up” in their house — as an 18 year old moving to a big city and a huge school, they were exactly what I needed. So, needless to say, their decision to move to Seattle really upended me, and the tears — both by myself and in public — continued to flow freely. I was hit hard with the feeling that a huge part of my heart and my life were leaving “home”. And I am crying as I write this because it is still so hard for me to think about, especially when I drive by their house and the two girls aren’t outside jumping on the trampoline with huge smiles on their faces. Although I know I can go visit them in Seattle anytime, and I will see them at Christmas, it is just not the same.

Then, when iGnite founder Neissa announced to our team that her husband Russell accepted a job in San Diego, my head fell to the table, and I cried so intensely…I even think I was dry-heaving! Neissa and iGnite have been the best thing to happen to me since I graduated college! I was very persistent with her when I was interested in joining the iGnite team, and she gave me a chance, for which I am forever thankful. I love her so much as a friend and a mentor, and I love her kids to pieces. I spent so much quality time with them over the summer, which was so nice, but that did make it slightly harder when they left. We swam at my pool, splashed in the lake, had dinner together and laughed a ton. My husband Clayton and I have conversations in “Malaine voices”, and we often catch ourselves saying things that both she and Durant say. We have enjoyed getting to FaceTime several times already, which was such a treat!

Saying goodbye to both of these families was tough — I cried in front of “my girls”, but actually held it together in front of Neissa and her family (I waited until I got in my car — which was not easy). Clayton has been telling me for months, “Molly, they both have to do this for their families. There is nothing to be sad about.” I completely understood his point about this truth, but I needed and wanted validation that my feelings were real. I got the validation I needed from sweet girlfriends, like Cary Fyfe and Kathy Huffaker, for which I am so thankful.

As I move forward and release all of my emotions, through either talking about it or crying, I am slowly learning to embrace this change, remembering that change is a natural and necessary part of life, and that where we all “travel” next will be good. I also try to remind myself of a quote that Neissa hung in her kitchen shortly after she knew that a significant change was coming their way:

“Change is not something that we should fear. Rather, it is something we should welcome. For without change, nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom, and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person they are meant to be”.

Most certainly, this is a growth opportunity for me, and even though it very painful, I know these changes are part of God’s plan. After all, I now have two really cool (literally and figuratively) places to visit, and I am certain that travel is EXACTLY how this change is nudging me to move forward — ha! However, and listen carefully to this, I hope that everyone that I love now knows that they simply must not move, EVER, because I am currently maxed out on change 🙂

Action Item:
If you struggle coping with change, remind yourself regularly of this truth:
“Change is not something that we should fear.
Rather, it is something we should welcome. For without change,
nothing in this world would ever grow or blossom,
and no one in this world would ever move forward
to become the person they are meant to be”.

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How Molly is In the Game

The Need for Connectedness  – Continued from Are you In the Game or On the Sidelines?

iGnite - connectedness

Point to Ponder:
When do you get the most offended in your interactions with people?
by Molly Daniels

by Molly Daniels

With the help of iGnite member and business coach Martha Lynn Mangum, I have learned that one of my core values is connectedness. And as I have considered my fears, I’ve realized that one of my related fears is not being and feeling connected.

I value all of my relationships, and when I love you, I love you hard. Before learning that connectedness was one of my core values, when I felt left out or distant from a friend, instead of reaching out to him or her, my fear-based reaction was to withdraw, as this was how I would attempt to protect my heart. Of course I know this isn’t the best or most mature response, but it’s the truth.

Now, since being made aware that connectedness is one of my core values, when I start to feel like it’s being ‘violated,’ I can now identify where that feeling is coming from, work with the facts rather than my assumptions, and move on.

All in all, I need relationships, and I especially love the feeling of connectedness — which is why I love iGnite so much! 🙂

Action Item:
Recognize that your reaction could be a result of your personal core values instead of the fault of others. Notice how this changes the way you view and internalize the situation.

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