Tag Archives: future

It’s Not What You Endure, It’s How You Endure It

 

iGnite - unshakeable faithiGnite Members Christie Skinner (left) and Kerrie Pennington (right) at Christie’s home while the iGnite Community helped her sort through her salvaged items on Sunday.

“Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control: your attitude, your faith, and your perspective. Choose to make the best of every situation that comes your way.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
How do you tend to react when faced with personal loss or tragedy?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As our iGnite community received word of via email this weekend, on Tuesday iGnite member Christie Skinner’s home burned. Upon learning the news, I sent Christie a text extending my sympathy, care and prayers. Honestly, I was nervous to reach out because I feared my text would be burdomsome. But, I tried putting myself in her shoes and I knew that I would appreciate friends reaching out. I didn’t expect or need a response, though what I received just minutes later blew my mind. Here is our exchange:

Neissa: “Hello Christie, Kathleen let me know about your home and I want you to know how very sorry I am. I am so thankful you all are okay. Please know that Russell and I are praying for you all and will continue to pray for you throughout the recovery process. Know that you are loved and being thought of.”

Christie: “Thanks!! It’s pretty sad but it’s just stuff!! And amazingly we are in the process of buying a little condo on Lake Austin so God’s timing is really good!!”

Neissa: “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

Christie: “You can bring me a Diet Coke on ice anytime you happen to be around.”

My initial reaction was, “Really? Did I read that correctly? How is it possible for someone to have lost so much yet have such tremendous perspective? And, she’s only asked for a Diet Coke? I can do that!”

I was briefly able to stop by Christie’s home today, Sunday, while our iGnite community helped her sort through her items. I’ve always thought that if a big project or job needs to get accomplished, the quick solution is a group of committed women. Indeed the job was getting done, and Christie’s spirit was contagious. She was positive, smiled and did what she needed to do. The entire sight was inspiring, like Christie’s faith and attitude.

I am always amazed by the events, circumstances and losses that the human spirit is able to endure. Most everyone faces some type of tragedy or difficult circumstances in their life, though what distinguishes one person from the other is not what they endure but how they endure it. The way I see it is we have choices: we can either (1) endure alone, without faith, think that life is out to get us, God is trying to punish us, give up and have a bad attitude — or, we can (2) let go of our pride, let others know how they can help us (even if it’s simply a Diet Coke on ice!), pray for unshakable faith, ask for others who have unshakeable faith to pray for us and trust in the plans that God has for us: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

While we all will not experience the tragedy of a burned home, we all will experience loss in our lives. It is for this that having an unshakable faith, never underestimating the power of prayer, surrounding ourselves with a community of people who also have unshakeable faith, and trusting in the promise of a future is crucial. There’s no doubt that life is going to shake us over and over again, but it doesn’t have to break us. Thank you, Christie for showing us this!

Action Item:
Contemplate Christie’s response to the events of the past week and be inspired by her unshakable faith and ability to accept help in such difficult circumstances.

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Forever Forward, Never Back

iGnite - go forward, never back

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself living in the past?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

From September 3 through last Tuesday, September 15, I’ve had company staying with my family. Knowing that I was in a new city with children while my husband Russell was traveling, my father, stepmom, mother and sister all made special plans to come out and be with me on and around my birthday. And, unbeknownst to me, my dad, who is a total worker-bee and can’t sit still unless he’s quickly eating or watching a sporting event, had a specific agenda: to help get us out of boxes and settled into our new house. A.k.a. WORK!

It was wonderful to see my family, and I was so thankful to have them, but by Tuesday I was eager to get the kids and I back to a routine (a.k.a. CONTROL!). The time for exercise, uninterrupted time, responding to thirteen days worth of email and an opportunity to tackle my ever-growing personal and professional to-do list had finally come, and after dropping my children Durant and Malaine off at pre-school on Tuesday, it was MY time!

I planned to take a quick walk around the neighborhood near the kids’ preschool and then go to a yoga class. It was sprinkling outside, but the idea of walking in a light rain sounded delicious. Just before heading off, a dear friend called so I grabbed my phone to walk and talk.

The friend asked how I was doing with our recent move, and I told him I was struggling. I expressed that I was not questioning God’s plan, however the greatest challenge has been adjusting to no longer having an amazing community of family, friends, and support (CONTROL). And, having felt so purpose-filled in Austin, I was struggling with finding my purpose in San Diego, which was why I was clinging to my life in Austin. He listened intently and having moved a lot himself, he validated my feelings and gave me some helpful advice: take baby steps forward, take care of me, and don’t compare my life in San Diego to my life in Austin. It was a new time and I needed to work on slowing my brain down and releasing my expectations. I agreed with everything he suggested, and I proudly told him that today was the day that I was going to focus on Neissa — hence the walk and yoga class.

During my walk, the sprinkle turned into a solid rain—so much so that my eyes burned from the little bit of eyeliner I was wearing. I was totally fine with this because I had clothes to change into, it was MY DAY, and San Diego needs the rain. So, within twenty-five minutes I was back at my car to grab my yoga mat and a change of clothes when I realized my worst nightmare — my purse, wallet, and work bag with computer, day planner, mail, and work notebooks were all gone. They had been stolen! My driver’s license, expired passport, credit cards, check books….gone. It was ALL gone, including MY DAY! “My day” quickly turned into the misery of filing police reports, canceling bank accounts and credit cards, calling pawn shops and driving around with the hope of finding my things lying around the area.

As you would expect, “the day of me” and getting anything on my to-do list accomplished was no longer an option. I won’t bore you with the un-fun details of trying to get an California driver’s license when you have no form of ID except a paper copy of an expired driver’s license, a paper copy of your birth certificate and a Costco card, but what I do want to share is what I learned through the process, as I think it can be universally applied. I’ve had to find reason and some glimpse of positivity in this incredibly frustrating experience. Ultimately, I think it relates to our ability to shine throughout life, as I wrote about a couple weeks ago in It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine.

4 Things I’ve Learned the Hard Way:

  1. For starters, my work, technology and to-do lists have been and are my idols. They give me purpose and security and keep me distracted. Upon realizing that all of my things were taken, it became absolutely clear that God was telling me to let go, trust in Him and let Him take over. Do I think He made this happen? Of course not. Bad things happen to good people every single second of the day, but He knows that I am feeling completely out of control and have been clinging to every thing that makes me feel safe and secure. I shine when I find comfort, hope and security in God rather than things.
  2. Second, while it is a terrible and sad inconvenience, it’s actually nice to have my to-do list stolen! For the first time ever, I’m not busying myself with it and frantically trying to find time on my computer so I can respond to emails. And, you know what? Life is going on! I actually thought I was that important! Yes, I am skimming email on my phone, but I’m not checking email on my phone and computer. It’s actually liberating! Will I get another computer? Of course, and I pray I can recover everything I lost. But for the first time, I am giving myself a real break– because I don’t have any other choice. My poor kids actually get a focused mom. I shine when I am a present mom, wife, friend and person.
  3. Third, you must keep moving to survive. Always go forward, never back. I actually wrote down this quote weeks ago in a notebook…that was of course stolen from my work bag. I heard the words from the goofy kid movie “Shark Boy,” and for weeks I’ve thought about how perfect the advice is for our move from Austin to San Diego, and most recently, how I’ll deal with recovering my stolen items…and really for any of us who struggle with living in the past or comparing our present to our past! As for my recent move, it’s critical that I stop looking back and comparing my life in Austin to my life in San Diego. My spirit will not survive if I continue to do this. I have to move forward every day. Regarding my stolen possessions, I so badly want to live in the past and cry over what happened, dwell on it and talk about how unfair it is, but again, I won’t survive by doing that. I have to move forward, take baby steps and make progress in the recovery process. What’s done is done. I can’t change it and there’s no looking back. Just as with life in general, our past does not define us! Thank goodness we have evolved and aren’t the same people we once were. Most importantly, we will not survive nor thrive unless we focus on our future and on becoming who we need to become and are created to become. Our past has been given to us for memory’s sake and to give us wisdom — but not to live in. Sometimes our past can motivate us, but too often we get stuck in it and are unable to move forward and appreciate what we have right now. For women specifically, we are usually desperate to be the same weight as we were pre-children, on our wedding day or at some point when we were younger. I get that, but that’s no way to live and thrive. I think we would be better served and our bodies would respond in the ways we are hoping for if we treated it with more appreciation and gratitude. We beat ourselves up — thinking we need to look how we used to look. That is torture, and the antidote is to always look forward. We shine when we give thanks and appreciate what we have.
  4. Last, within one hour of the theft, iGnite leaders and dear friends Kathleen Parker and Catherine Sanderson randomly called. It was so comforting and calming to hear their voices. Then, I immediately texted the iGnite Team, informed them of what happened and asked for their love and prayers. Knowing they were praying and sending me love made a significant difference in my attitude and spirit. I knew this before, and I continue to be reminded of the importance of community. You can’t have enough community and supportive friends. We shine in community and are #strongertogetHER!

Action Item:
Remind yourself that your past has been given to your for memory’s sake and to give you wisdom — but not to live in. Look forward only. Appreciate and be present in the now.

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Do You Believe In You?

iGnite - You were created to do something great

Point to Ponder:
Do you realize you are here to do something great?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As I’ve written about in past journals, my favorite magazine is SUCCESS. SUCCESS provides countless stories and tips for anyone striving for personal and professional success and wanting to become better. Darren Hardy is the publisher and founding editor and he also provides a free and daily motivational message called Darren Daily, which I love. His quick, interesting and inspiring message is sent every morning via text and email. Because I’m a motivation junky and don’t think you can ever have enough positive messaging in your life, I subscribe to his service. I don’t always listen to it, but when I do, the impact is far greater than the three minutes I spend listening to it. Most recently I was inspired and encouraged by Darren’s terrific message on the power of believing in yourself.

I wish I could say that I never lack belief in my abilities, both personally and professionally, but I definitely do at times. As a whole, I would venture to say that self-doubt, a lack of self-confidence and belief in ourselves is what prevents us from getting exactly what we want in and out of life. Whether it be the career we desire, a mutually respectful and loving relationship, or simply trying something that we’ve always wanted to try, it all starts with belief in oneself.

This certainly trickles down to our children, marriages, and really all of our relationships. Where, when, and if we doubt someone’s abilities, even if we don’t speak it, has a negative energy and can be physically felt. Belief or lack of believe has infinite effects. Can you imagine if from the day you were born you heard the words, “I believe in you!” Can you imagine the compound and staggering effects!? And what if we added the words, “I believe in you and I love you? You were created to do something great!” Can.you.imagine?! To speak in terms of last week’s journal, ‘It’s Time to Turn on Your Shine’, our shine would be on all of the time!

You may be thinking, “I never tell myself I don’t believe in myself,” but do you ever tell yourself that you do believe in yourself and that you were created to do something great? The heart knows what the brain is thinking, and vice versa. We can’t hide from our doubt or disbelief.

The words “I believe in you. You were created to do something great!” cannot be heard or told enough, and we must always speak them out loud and to ourselves everyday, in every circumstance, and in all situations. Then, we should also speak those words to everyone else — our spouses, people we are in relationship with, colleagues, children, friends, family members and strangers. My mind gets blown just thinking about the progress we would make and how much happier, healthier and satisfied our lives would be if we did this on a regular basis. To believe that a divine source, whom I believe is God, not only believes in us but also created every.single.one.of.us to do something great, would forever change the negative and limiting thoughts that we can have about ourselves and others.

Small children are fearless inspirations. They will try anything and they believe they can do everything. The picture above is of my four-year-old son, Durant, at Solona Beach on his boogie board. While his boogie board is sitting on the sand and not floating on the water, he believes he is surfing. I didn’t tell him otherwise, I just cheered him on.

This child-like and child-proof sense of belief is what we can never lose and can never stop instilling in others.

Action Item:
Regardless of the lies that someone in your childhood may have told you, you must always remember that you were created for greatness. The lies were about that person, not you, and the unfortunate lies that someone once told them. Don’t let someone else’s lies define you, your future or your family’s future. Instead, let the truth — that you were created to do something great & that you were created to shine — define you and your family’s future.

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Forget the Past & Embrace the Present

Don't Look Back

“Learn from the past, set vivid detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.” – Denis Waitley

Throughout the month of February iGnite hosted several nutrition and wellness workshops followed by goal-setting workshops that supported the nutrition/wellness initiatives. Our time, as always, was rewarding and fulfilling, as anytime we have the opportunity to encourage health and offer ways to improve overall quality of life, is time well spent. Inevitably, I always have ah-ha moments and learn something new about myself and the human psyche.

As a result of the goals workshops led by Catherine, which I participated in, my ah-ha moment was how much time I spend stuck in the past. For example, when thinking about improving my health, the goal of getting additional exercise always comes to mind. Then, as I begin the process of determining how I will go about achieving this goal, I always find myself reaching into my “past pocket” and reliving my exercise life when I wasn’t pregnant, didn’t have a toddler and had fewer work responsibilities, which enabled me to exercise unlimited hours each week. This way of thinking is always frustrating, as achieving what once was a simple feat is now complicated. Therefore, there is paralysis, no action and no positive change.

My epiphany is that if I continue to try to fit a square peg into a round hole — i.e. try to fit my past life into my current life — I will never make progress. Instead, I must be honest with myself and my current life state and set practical and achievable goals, which even though they feel underachieving and even unsatisfying, it is definitely better than nothing. What once worked may no longer be applicable, and that’s okay.

Completely letting go of the past and living life for the now is very difficult, especially if the past was higher-achieving, healthier, happier or easier, which is something we’ve all experienced.  Living in the past provides no value to our current life; it sets us up for ongoing failure and frustration, deprives us from enjoying the present and gets us nowhere. Therefore, with health, happiness and continual growth and positive life change consistently being the goal, the best thing we can do with our past is learn from it, celebrate it and move onward and upward!

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Point To Ponder:
What area or time of your life do you find yourself stuck in, trying to relive or wishing you could have back?

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Action Item:
Identify an area in your life that you want to improve and realize that on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the greatest improvement possible), even a 1 is progress, and all steps are significant.

By Neissa

Read Neissa's bio