Tag Archives: inspiration

A Holiday to Learn From

feb19_2017

Point to Ponder:
What president can you learn from?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s no secret that I am a quote junkie. Besides a story of hope, perseverance and courage, there’s nothing that gets me more fired up and inspired than a good quote or a book of quotes!

Tomorrow, February 20th is President’s Day, a national holiday. Originally, President’s Day was founded in honor of George Washington’s birthday (his birthday is February 22), however it has since morphed into a day to celebrate all United States presidents. Unfortunately though, as most national holidays have become, President’s Day is overshadowed by commercial sales and the opportunity to enjoy a three day weekend. None of these are wrong, as a sale and three consecutive days off are glorious, however the opportunity to truly observe the day for it’s primary focus has become diluted, overlooked, and even obsolete.

In an effort to bring attention to and honor our nation’s presidents and absorb their wisdom and inspiration, I’ve created a top 25 United States President’s quotes list. My personal favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. In fact, if he were alive I’d volunteer to be his full time protege! His integrity, wisdom, courage and love for family and country is awe-inspiring, so you will see a few extra quotes from him.

Therefore, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy the words of wisdom from our nation’s presidents, all of whom were not perfect (who is, right?!), however their service and wisdom are commendable and worthy of pause, reflection and great gratitude.

“Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” –George Washington

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book wisdom.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  -Abraham Lincoln

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. ” -John Quincy Adams

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight–it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Great lives never go out, they go on.” -Benjamin Harrison

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If wrinkles must be written on our brow, let them not be written on our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” -James Garfield

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The harder the conflict the greater the triumph.” –George Washington

“Try and fail but don’t fail to try.” -John Quincy Adams

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Be patient and calm. No one can catch a fish with anger.” -Herbert Hoover

“It’s amazing what can get accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman

“Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  –Abraham Lincoln

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” -John F. Kennedy

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” -Ronald Reagan

“If you look for the bad in people and expect to find it, you surely will.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If your going to think anything, think big.” -Donald Trump

“The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope and you will fill you with hope.” -Barack Obama

“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our purposes, not to make a great show in the world, or a name. There is but one just use of power and that is to serve people.” -George W. Bush

“In the end, it’s not the years in the life that count. It’s the life in the years.” -Abraham Lincoln
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is to never quit, never quit, never quit.” -William J. Clinton

“We are a nation of communities….a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” -George H. W. Bush


Action Item:
Learn something from a former president that you can apply to your life.


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I Love You Because…!

What’s Love Got to Do With It, Part II

Feb7_2016

Point to Ponder:
How often do you tell the people you love why you love them?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

We have an exciting week ahead of us! Yes, it’s the week leading up to Valentine’s Day and therefore, there are many Valentine’s festivities, but what I love most is that we are bringing back our ‘I love Your, Because…..’ note cards . As it relates to a day of romance, I think Valentine’s is a bit overrated, however it is a sweet celebration of love, and anything that promotes loving others and expressing our love to and for others is a great thing.

The recommended action throughout the week is simple: download, print, fill out and give the ‘I Love You Because….’ note cards to anyone and everyone you love. This naturally includes your family, but don’t forget about your close friends too. Then, if you are interested in being entered into a “sweet treat drawing”, snap a picture of how and where you use your cards and post them on Instragram and/or Facebook. When doing so, use the hashtag #iloveyoubecause_iGnite and be sure to tag iGnite. Every posted picture equals an entrance into the drawing. (iGnite Instagram = @igniteyourlife_ iGnite Facebook = @iGniteYourLife )

While the note cards are very simple and on a cheap piece of paper, they are heartfelt and personal, which is ultimately what makes them so special and will make the biggest impact in the lives of those you love. And, equally as great — this activity is inexpensive, sweet, fun, calorie and sugar-free. It doesn’t wilt and will last a life-time. I’m not sure it gets better than that!

Action Item:
Download, print and fill out the ‘I Love You Because’ note cards and give to anyone and everyone you love. Then, if you are interested in being entered into a “sweet treat drawing”, snap a picture of how and where you use your cards and post them on Instragram and/or Facebook. When doing so, use the hashtag #iloveyoubecause_iGnite and be sure to tag iGnite. Every posted picture equals an entrance into the drawing. (iGnite Instagram = @igniteyourlife_ iGnite Facebook = @iGniteYourLife )

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10 Healthy Eating Recipe Sites to Kick off the New Year

The holidays are over, and it is New Year’s resolution time. Since most resolutions include eating healthy, the iGnite Leaders have created a great guide to help in this — their favorite go-to healthy recipe sites.  Eating better in the new year will be much easier with these creative recipes to keep you interested. We suggest subscribing to a few of these blogs in order to get daily inspiration and motivation. Here are our top 10 favorites:

  1. Skinnytaste.com  Provides delicious, healthy, low fat, family-friendly recipes. You can sign up to get new recipes sent to you several times a week. Check out the Top 25 Most Popular Skinnytaste Recipes of 2015 to get you going. 
  2. The Defined Dish Two Dallas-based sisters give you the dish about food, fitness and other happy and healthy lifestyle tips. Along with great recipes, the site includes workouts, fitness styling, music playlists and more.
  3. Plant-Based Pulse iGnite member Allison Quinones created this blog as resource for those trying to find a healthier lifestyle by providing delicious plant-based recipes. She strives to make all recipes as close to refined sugar and oil-free as possible. She is a wonderful resource and  periodically shares her recipes such as Breakfast Quinoa with Fruit on the iGnite blog.
  4. Connoisseurus Veg  This blog is written by a vegetarian who has a passion for cooking and sharing her favorite recipes.  Try the herb crusted whole roasted cauliflower – delicious!  
  5. AmyChaplin.com Amy Chaplin, author of “At Home in My Whole Kitchen,” inspires people to seek out local and organic vegetables, stock their pantries with nutrient rich whole food ingredients and to cook at home. Find beautiful, healthy recipes on her blog or follow her on Instagram.
  6. Elana’s Pantry A go-to website for easy, healthy, grain-free Paleo recipes.  Elana Amsterdam is the author of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry.”  Her site even includes pizza, donuts, and other treats made the healthy way! 
  7. Greatist Daily Greatist covers all things healthy and makes it easy to navigate throughout their site — categorized by quick breakfasts, make-ahead meals, detox recipes and more.  Get their daily email with Greatist’s top health tips, workout ideas and delicious recipes.
  8. Oh She Glows One of the most popular vegan recipe blogs around featuring over 500 healthy recipes by Angela Liddon. Her goal is to inspire you to embrace more plant-based foods in your diet without feeling deprived. Most recipes are gluten-free and many are allergy-friendly. 
  9. Against All Grain  Paleo recipes to make you feel great created by Danielle Walker. She is the author and photographer of the New York Times Best Selling cookbook “Against all Grain.”  Use her Costco Paleo Shopping List as a great resource. 
  10. Naturally Ella Created by Erin Alderson, the blog focuses on seasonal vegetarian recipes that are pantry-inspired. Her goal is to keep the recipes simple, fresh, and exciting for the entire family. Her tex-mex inspired recipes are definite crowd-pleasers.

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*Food photography by Allison Quinones of  Plant-Based Pulse

 

 

 

Real Women, Real Stories | Nancy’s Story: Abundant Living Among the Chronically Homeless

iGnite Real Women, Real Stories logo

iGnite - Nancy Miller

Roots: I was born in Orange, California, but moved to Dallas in 1969 and then to Austin in 1984.  I’ve been here ever since and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

With my grown children: Sarah, Kim, Rachel, me, Justin & Rebecca

Family Life:  My first husband and I were both in the medical field and saw that older children were not getting adopted after the preschool age. They would age out of foster care or group homes with no place to call home after 18.  Specialists at the time said older children were rarely being placed. We wanted a big family, so we decided to have our “bio babes” first and then adopt older children.

We had Justin, and then Rachel came 17 months later. Then, a year later we added Kimberly (9 years old), then a year later, Rebecca (8 yrs), and finally a year later Sarah (17 years old).  Whew!  What a ride! They all came from different families with different stories. What an adventure!

Grandchildren (it's hard to get them all together at the same time): Trey, Valencia, Brooklyn, Derrick, Kannon, Kyciel and Chasity

Grandchildren (it’s hard to get them all together at the same time): Trey, Valencia, Brooklyn, Derrick, Kannon, Kyciel and Chasity

I am an artist, but being a parent probably required my most creative spontaneity!  Folks asked us how we figured out how to raise this family — well, we kind of made it up as we went along. We had gentle firm rules, and as much fun as possible. We had regular rule breaking to ease the structure. For example we had “bad manners night” one dinner a week (the only rules were no throwing food or eating off of each other’s plates), they had to dress up for church only once a month, they could have a whole box of any cereal (usually with chocolate in the title, ugh) they wanted for their birthday. We also enjoyed pranks, theater plays, a giant dress up/costume room, 10 different pets, and tons of crafts.  I thought I was going to make the biggest impact in their lives, but I am so very changed myself.

After 30 years my husband and I parted and remain friends today, still very involved with our children’s lives. I am in a new chapter of my life. My children have grown, have children of their own (11 fabulous grandchildren and counting). We all love getting together as much as possible.

Ed and I at a Chicago concert

Ed and I at a Chicago concert

I met a wonderful man named Ed Miller who was not frazzled by my huge family, brought two sons of his own and joined me in a new marriage adventure. We have been married now for 7 years. He is also a nurse and works with the elderly.

Work Life:  I am currently a psychiatric nurse, a charge nurse at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital over the adult ICU, and I have been there for 8 years. I began as a nurse in 1978, but after having children, I joined the pastoral staff of a local church as the director of congregational care and counseling.  I received my masters in counseling, obtained my LPC and had a private practice for 10 years. I missed the team spirit I had in the church setting, so I returned to nursing as a psych nurse. I love it — and again I need my creative energy to problem solve and creatively care for our patients.  In 2013 I was named Seton Behavior Health’s Nurse of the Year. In 2014 I was chosen as a TNA (Texas Nurses Association) Fab Five Nurse, the first psych nurse to obtain this award.

Suzanne McConkey & I drinking cowboy coffee, as we get lunch ready for everyone at Community First! Village

Suzanne McConkey & I drinking cowboy coffee, as we get lunch ready for everyone at Community First! Village

A little unknown fact, in 1974 I wanted to be an animal vet but they did not allow women in the A&M vet school, so I went into nursing! Oh how times have changed!

Pastor…counselor…nurse… all different but dealing with people just the same, only from different perspectives.  I love going the extra mile, to help other people grow, to be encouraging. I believe that we all heal and grow best when we do it together!

 

My favorite quote:  I have seasons of quotes that linger and settle on me for a while, then new ones settle. These two I have been sitting with me lately:

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry, to get my work done, and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”
-Maya Angelou

“I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy,
I woke and I saw that life is all service,
I served and I saw that service is joy.”
-Kahlil Gibrán

With Christine Novak (another missional resident at CF!V) & Heidi Sloan (head of the gardens at CF!V) after I just got my tattoo based on Psalm 121

With Christine Novak (another missional resident at CF!V) & Heidi Sloan (head of the gardens at CF!V) after I got my tattoo based on Psalm 121

I’m Most Inspired by… I once bought a book just because of its title “Playing a Poor Hand Well.”  It talked about people who have had adversity or trials yet remained resilient, positive and thrive. I am inspired by those people. They choose to take what was intended to take them out, and they weave it into their story of joy.

Something people may not know about me… I love to play hand drums and hope to be part of a drum circle at Community First! Village, where we now live.

My guilty pleasure…  Spending a whole day in the studio painting, playing music, making new colors and trying new techniques .

My “perfect day” would be… Oh my that would be a full day… walk my dog Jack while visiting with friends/neighbors as I go, watch my children play together, work together on a project with people, paint/draw a little, then I’d go dancing with Ed at Don’s Depot downtown, sit on the porch and enjoy the breeze.

My Story:
Abundant Living Among the Chronically Homeless

Ed and I at our new home Community First! Village, where we are missional residents

Ed and I at Community First! Village, where we are missional residents

A large percentage of my patients have fragile housing situations. Every week, I discharge them out the door to the streets. Often they have little or no access to consistent resources to maintain their health. This troubles me greatly.

Serving lunch under the big tent at Community First! Village, everyone knows me by my big hat & plaid shirts

Serving lunch under the big tent at Community First! Village, everyone knows me by my big hat & plaid shirts

Two years ago, my husband and I were invited to visit the small Mobile Loaves and Fishes model of the Community First! Village.  Community First! Village is a 27-acre master-planned community that will provide affordable, sustainable housing and a supportive community for the disabled, chronically homeless in Central Texas.  Community First! Village Includes:

  • An innovative mix of affordable housing options
  • Places for worship, study, and fellowship
  • Memorial garden and columbarium
  • A community garden featuring fruit- and nut-bearing trees and vegetables
  • A chicken operation, bee hives producing fresh honey, and aquaponics
  • A workshop with tool bank and art gallery for micro-enterprise opportunities
  • A medical facility for physical and mental health screenings and support services including hospice and respite care
  • Walking trails
  • An outdoor theater and bed & breakfast for mission visits
  • CAP Metro bus stop
  • WiFi

As I walked around the canvas cottages, micro homes, RVs, chicken coop, tilapia pond and gardens, I heard the plan of creating a true working community with micro enterprises, clinic, movie theatre, and more. I kept hearing in my head “I could so live here and be a part of this.” My husband and I talked and prayed for several months. There was a strong sense that God was inviting us to jump into a roller coaster for the ride of our lives. Why would I do anything else!

the garden crew on the bridge at Community First! Village

The garden crew on the bridge at Community First! Village

We then jumped into volunteering on Saturdays out at the gardens… we have been there ever since!

We moved to Community First! Village during Thanksgiving week of this year, into a 300 square-foot RV that we had redone. We’ve learned that so much of our “stuff” is not essential for a rich life. I share much of my day with so many new folks. We walk dogs together, cook/feed volunteers together, harvest crops, sit around a roaring fire on cold nights, share meals — just do life together. So many stories , so many incredibly resilient people that choose to not let the horrible trials of life get them down.

with CF!V chef Dennis Williams & some of the hundreds of fabulous volunteers

With CF!V chef Dennis Williams & some of the hundreds of fabulous volunteers

My kids love coming out and being here with us — the grandchildren harvesting food and feeding chickens.

Life has come full circle, my hopes are unfolding… laughing, tears, getting work done, loving others and finding daily courage to be loved in return.  I am rich!

 

 


iGnite’s Real Women, Real Stories is a series highlighting the inspiring lives and experiences of women in our community. We hope their stories motivate and inspire you to live your life to the fullest.

Know someone who would be a great candidate for a Real Women, Real Stories feature? Email nominations to hello@igniteyourlifenow.com


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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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Member Spotlight: Amanda Schmidt

iGnite - Amanda SchmidtRoots:
I was born in Chicago but became a Texan at the age of 2 when my Dad took a teaching position in Dallas with the business school at SMU. I grew up in Dallas and graduated from Highland Park High School and then from Smith College in Northampton, MA in 1986, after which I worked in Spain for a year. I landed in Austin for law school at UT in 1987 and have lived here ever since.

Basic family stats:
I am married to Dick Schmidt, and we have 3 daughters: Samantha (sophomore at Northwestern University), Sophie (senior at Westlake High School) and Lucy (freshman at St. Stephen’s).

Current/Previous Occupation:
After law school, I got to clerk for Justice John Powers on the Austin Court of Appeals for a fantastic year after which I practiced commercial litigation for ten years, mostly at the firm Clark, Thomas here in Austin. After trying to practice a litigation practice with mom responsibilities and feeling like I wasn’t doing well at either thing, I retired when our third child, Lucy, was born. For the last 15 years I have worked as mom and participated in a variety of volunteer jobs through schools and philanthropies.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
I have learned a lot of life lessons from many of the dear women I have gotten to know in iGnite. I’d say the most important lesson I’ve learned is to surround yourself with positive people who support you and don’t waste your precious time with people who drag you down.

Who inspires me the most and why:
My mother is a terrific role model to me and my biggest inspiration. If asked this question ten years ago, I would have picked someone more illustrious like Amelia Earhart for following her dreams and breaking accepted norms for women, but in the last few years I have come to realize what I should have known all along: my own mother lived her life the way I hope to live mine. She was a wonderful and supportive friend to many people, and she maintained an extremely positive outlook on life, living it to the fullest, even after losing her lifelong partner (my Dad) and her youngest daughter in the course of 15 months.

In my free time, I like to:
Other than work out with iGnite, I love to read, see movies, travel (especially to snow-covered mountains) and just hang out with my family.

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be:
Chocolate because it brings so much enjoyment to so many people; chocolate is a real mood booster!

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Member Spotlight: Sharon Wilson


Roots:

I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we moved to Austin when I was 10 months old in 1963. I’ve lived in Austin for 51 years and consider myself almost a native Austinite.

Basic family stats:
I’m a single mother of three daughters. I’ve had the privilege of raising them all by myself with the help of my parents and brothers. Catherine (23) is a second year law student at SMU, Caroline (21) is in the ACCESS Program at Texas School for the Deaf, and Claire (19) is a sophomore at UT. And…if you have any single men friends, I am available and single myself right now.

iGnite - Sharon WilsonCurrent/Previous Occupation:
I worked in my family’s business for 15 years and retired when my dad sold the company in 1995. I was pregnant with my third daughter, Claire, so I became a full-time mom and part-time tennis player and volunteer. I was president of the Women’s Symphony League three years ago, and I walk and house sit dogs about 5 hours per week because I love animals and need to stay active.

Biggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
The biggest lesson that I learned through iGnite is that I can do the things that the 19-40 year olds do. I may not be able to that day, and certainly not as fast or huffing and puffing, but I can do whatever my mind decides I can do. We are all strong and capable of amazing things. We’re women — duh!

Who inspires me most:
I think I am inspired most by my daughter, Caroline. She is happy, healthy and super fun despite her multi handicaps and challenges. Because she does not hear or speak, she was never taught the concepts of: fear, judgement, unkindness, etc. She has never given up and crawled in a corner even after seizing 50-60 times per day during her childhood years. She continues to progress, learn and try. She inspires me every day. She was not in my plan of “non-typical” children, but God decided she belonged with our family, and heck yes — WE’LL TAKE HER!

Most people don’t know:
I’ve flown the Concorde. My grandmother decided I needed to go travel with her before I “tied the knot” in 1990, and we headed to Europe and North Africa on different trips. She had a life-long love of travel and the education that came with travel. At 73, she hadn’t flown the Concorde and Mach speed, so off we went!

Three words to describe myself:
Quiet, persuasive and POSITIVE!

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