Tag Archives: love

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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Member Spotlight: Taylor Parsons

iGnite - Taylor ParsonsiGniter of 3 years

Roots:
I was born in Corpus Christi, moved to Austin at age 7, and went to elementary, middle and high school here. I moved back after graduate school in 2011.
Family Life:
I am married to Rob, who I met when I was 18, and we have a little girl, Zella Marie! She was born on April 3rd this year!
Work life:
I am a perfusionist. I operate the heart/lung bypass circuit during open heart surgeries for adults and pediatrics in Austin area hospitals.
Biggest lesson learned through my iGnite experience:
You are living the one life you are given by God, so make it great! Watching and listening to other iGnite members talk about their lives, their trials and triumphs, and their personal goals inspires me to be the best version of myself. Staying active, positive and involved in the lives of loved ones are just a few of the ways I see iGniters spreading joy daily!
Who inspires me most and why:
My mom, Barb McTee! She is the definition of a Godly, selfless, hard-working best friend. She is the first person to cry with me, laugh with me (or usually at me), hold me accountable if I am in the wrong, and talk for hours on end with me about nothing at all. She is the example of the mother and wife I look to when I need encouragement. Above all else, she always puts herself last.
Something people may not know about me:
I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do! I got it many years back and truthfully don’t remember many “moves”, but it is an accomplishment I am proud of!
If I were an ice cream flavor I would be:
Amy’s Ice Cream Mexican Vanilla with sprinkles and Reese’s in a waffle cone! Why? Mexican Vanilla sort of looks like me and my freckles (white with little dots), I love anything colorful (sprinkles), I can be sweet (Reese’s)—all wrapped up in a spunky tomboy shell (crunchy waffle cone)!

Pretty Darn Close to Perfect

iGnite trees“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.”
(anonymous)

 Point to Ponder:

What redeeming qualities or characteristics does your mom possess? 

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Authentic, Brave, Fun, Strong, Generous, Great Cook, Friend, Humorous, Devoted, Courageous, Adventurous, Selfless, Optimistic, Calm, Sacrifice, Giving, Entertainer, the Best, Graceful, Faithful, Thoughtful, Loving, a Lady, and Fearless are some of the adjectives, qualities and characteristics used to describe our mom’s on Friday, during our Mother’s Day Member Lunch.

There are unlimited wonderful and meaningful words that can be used to describe moms, but unfortunately perfect isn’t one of them.  We yell, scream, and make regular mistakes and have regrest like all humans, but while growing up, it sure did feel like my mom was perfect.  She never met a bad day, at least that I could tell.  She was the eternal optimist who attacked life with a great sense of humor.  She made my sister and I believe that we could do anything.  She was our biggest fan and cheerleader, and her ability to love people was and is extraordinary.  It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized she was a real human and wasn’t perfect after all. It was a devastating realization, and it was when she told my sister and I that she was marrying Joe, after only dating him for three months.

Irrational and irresponsible is all I could think.  How could she be marrying someone she barely knows?!? What if the roles were reversed?  There’s no way she would support me marrying someone after only dating him for three months!  But, actually, I was wrong. She would not have said a word and just loved and supported me through it, like she’s always done. It wasn’t until my dad (her first and only husband whom she’d been divorced from for over twenty years) reminded me that she was a responsible fifty-plus year old woman who could make her own life decisions.  In other words, he was telling me that I needed to zip it, get over it and support her.  He was right.

Mom and Joe have been married now for eleven years and they continue to be very happy and live a sweet and wonderful life together.  Was her decision to marry Joe after only knowing him for three months irrational and irresponsible?  Maybe, but I couldn’t be more thankful for their irrational decision and imperfections, because it has made my mom the happiest I have ever seen her and our children love G-Joe (that’s his grandpa name) to the moon and back.

It totally stinks that mom’s aren’t perfect, but thankfully we aren’t because that would make for impossible shoes to fill and a dull life with boring stories.  Instead, we’re all trying our best and many days our best is ugly, loud and messy.  And, despite being imperfect, there’s nothing more satisfying, special and comforting than a mother’s love.

Happy Mother’s Day to You and Yours and I hope you enjoy the continued shared and endearing words about our mother’s from our Member Lunch.

She never yelled; She befriended everyone; She never met a stranger; She sacrificed so much for us; She invited strangers to meals; She taught me to live life; She was devoted to our family; She was the best hugger; She taught me to branch out and try new things; Her love for the Lord can be seen by the way she loves others; She always made me feel the best and most special; She taught me to embrace change and never get stuck in a rut; She faced adversity with a smile and taught me to find good in everyone; She taught me to surround myself with girlfriends; She wanted to be the best wife, mom and Christian; She always managed to give me one-on-one time; She doesn’t take herself seriously; She gave me my strength; She taught me to use my strengths for the greater good; She taught me the importance of helping others and volunteering;  I was loved my many moms.

Action Item:

In honor of your mother, apply her redeeming qualities and characteristics to your life.

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I Love You, Because…

Loving Yourself & Others, Part II

ignitelovenote

“I love you like crazy, baby, ‘Cuz I’d go crazy without you.”
-Pixie Foundre

Point to Ponder:
When was the last time you told someone not just that you love them, but why you love them??

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Personalities are interesting — in my family, my mom and I have no problem expressing our emotions and saying, ‘I love you.’ Outwardly, we are more emotionally expressive and the thought of not telling someone we love ‘I love you’ feels really bad.  On the flip-side, my dad and sister are the opposite and hold their emotions much closer to their hearts. They do say “I love you”, but most of the time it comes as a response to being told “I love you” and their response is “I love you, too.” There was a time when I took this personally and didn’t understand, but I’ve learned that we have our own comfort levels with love and thanks to the book The Five Love Languages, I’ve learned that we all express love differently.

After giving the words “I love you” some thought, I do think telling the people we love “I love you” on a regular basis is very important, but what I think would be more meaningful for both the giver and receiver is telling the people we love why we love them.

Because saying “I love you” can be a phrase that is used routinely, and writing “I love you” and signing our name on a purchased Hallmark card can be an easy way out, wouldn’t it be nice if the people we love received a note from us stating why we love them? I tried this out on my son Durant last week, and while he’s only four years old, his face lit up when I told him why I loved him and then we both got the giggles, followed by a hug and kiss. If you have a teenager, he or she might roll their eyes, but deep down they will appreciate it, a lot. And it will most definitely make the day of any adult.

So, in the spirit of loving yourself and loving others, I invite you to join me in telling the special people in your life why you love them by giving them one of these special Love Notes.

For some added love humor, I really recommend you watch Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon and Kevin Hart perform a few love songs that will have you rolling and in stitches. It’s a love performance you won’t want to miss!

Action Item:
Print, fill out and give the people you love a special iGnite Love Note, telling them why you love them.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

IMG_2350

“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be for creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.”
-Dr. Leo Buscaglia

Point to Ponder:
What are the sources of your confidence?  Are they building actual or perceived confidence?

Action Item:
Challenge yourself this week to improve your actual confidence by connecting, relating, listening, encouraging and loving people.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While I haven’t opened The Confidence Code in over ten days, since writing last week’s Journal I continue to think about confidence every.single.day. On the surface it seems simple (like everything), but then as I dig deeper into my heart, the heavier and more complex it gets. And if I don’t get it out of my heart and on paper I think my head may explode!!!!  So here it goes:

I believe there are two types of confidence. The first is ‘Actual Confidence‘ which is spiritual confidence that is derived from our soul and tells us that WE ARE ENOUGH. We are enough just as we are and without having to perform, measure up, gain approval of or be accepted by others. And, we all have ‘spiritual confidence’ because I think we are born spiritual, a.k.a. created by God, for relationships and for one another. ‘Actual Confidence’ is sustainable, outward focused, and fulfilling because we get it from connecting, relating, listening, encouraging, and loving people.

Then, there is ‘Perceived Confidence‘, which is ‘wordly confidence’ and it’s based on societal success standards like wealth, job status and physical appearance. These types of things may temporarily validate us and give us confidence, but none are life-giving and they are all short-term. Just when we get to “the top,” there’s someone better looking, more wealthy and more successful. ‘Perceived confidence’ is unsustainable, inward focused, and unfulfilling because it’s about approval. It’s a road to nowhere.

So, how do we get and maintain actual confidence?  Again it’s simple, yet complex. The simple solution is to make our life about pouring love, joy and encouragement into others, every-single-day. What makes achieving actual confidence so complex is our consumer-filled and busy lives, which create the perception that we don’t have enough time. That busy-ness and stuff, no matter who we are, is a distraction that prevents us from connecting and loving others,  negatively affecting our actual confidence.

Finally, the million dollar question is, can we have the best of both worlds? YES, at least I think we can! I do think we can enjoy nice things, have amazing and successful careers and strive to look and feel our best, however; the foundation, which gives us the confidence to be our best, is connecting with and loving people on a daily basis.

So, what’s love got to do with it? Everything! And fortunately, at Saturday’s Austin’s Fittest Competition, I saw first hand what love is and can do. Love is loud, love is colorful, love is supportive and it came to cheer Kathleen on to her third consecutive fifty and over victory! Bottom line is, love is the greatest power on the planet and WHEN WE GIVE IT, there’s no doubt that confidence is one of its many wonderful by-products, leaving us feeling, doing and giving our best.

What Love Really Means

rock heart

“I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions. ”
– Augusten Burroughs

Point to Ponder:
Who in my life could I love better?

Action Item:
Identify one person in your life that you could do a better job of loving.  Then, during your next interaction, focus on how you can better serve and love them in that moment.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about love, loving people and what that means and looks like. Sometimes I feel like I have it figured out, and other times I feel like I’ve failed miserably.  I also think about the negative effects that the convenience and instant gratification of technology has on our mindset, our relationships and our ability to love long-term and unconditionally.  On one hand, technology allows us to connect on unimaginable levels. It allows me to share this journal with you and for us learn from others around the world. On the other hand, it paints an irrational and unrealistic picture of the fortitude that must be present in our lives and relationships.  For example, with the click of a mouse or remote control, you can always find a better deal, a better date or a seemingly more happy, beautiful and successful person or relationship. It’s even possible that in the near future we can place an online order and have a drone deliver it to our doorstep in two hours flat! Maybe that’s convenient, but I’m old fashioned — I think this is insane and that type of instant gratification has a negative effect on our ‘love psyche.’  After all, instant gratification, impatience and convenience is the opposite design of love.

I could write on this topic for hours, but the best description of love came from a friend this week in the form of a quote. Not only did it leave me speechless, but it answered all of my questions about what it means to really love people. In fact, it actually showed me how much room I have to grow. The bottom line is that loving people can’t be about me and my feelings, rather it must be how I make that person feel when he or she is around me, despite the environment or circumstance.

Finally, with the holidays upon us and family gatherings in abundance, I feel that sharing this quote could be a holiday and relationship game-changer for many of us, so here you go:

The truth is that the more intimately you know someone, the more clearly you’ll see their flaws. That’s just the way it is. This is why marriages fail, why children are abandoned, why friendships don’t last. You might think you love someone until you see the way they act when they’re out of money or under pressure or hungry, for goodness’s sake. Love is something different. Love is choosing to serve someone and be with someone in spite of their filthy heart. Love is patient and kind, love is deliberate. Love is hard. Love is pain and sacrifice, it’s seeing the darkness in another person and defying the impulse to jump ship.”
– Unknown

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