Tag Archives: love

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?

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“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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Creating Your Ripple Effect

Rain Drop Ripples

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.
– Unknown

Last week I had the fortunate opportunity of having dinner with a very dear friend whom I have tremendous respect for. Unfortunately, we are in different chapters of our lives, making it difficult to connect. However, when we are able to spend time with one another, our conversations are rich, candid and I inevitably leave feeling more centered, wise and filled with an uplifting breath of fresh air.

During dinner, our impromptu topic was energy — about how the energy we give is directly proportional to the energy we receive. Basically, energy out = energy in, and while I know this to be true, it reinforced that having a consistent positive attitude, avoiding gossip, negativity and treating all people with kindness, patience and love has infinite power. In fact, our attitude (positive or negative), thoughts, actions and words have a ripple effect  — like the ever expanding ripples across water when an object is dropped into it — that can either add value to or take value away from our lives and each and every life around us. Pastor Charles Swindoll says it best:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

I believe that creating the healthy and happy life of our dreams is as simple as our attitude and the ripple effect we create. What we all have to determine is whether or not our ripple effect is working for or against us.

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Point To Ponder:
Is your attitude attracting positive relationships and energy or is it creating a perpetual cycle of exhausting drama?

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Action Item:
Determine the areas of your life where you’d like to see improvement, then decide how you can make changes to your attitude so it creates a ripple effect of positive and life-giving energy.

To Your Health,

Neissa

About Neissa

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Breaking the Rules

Love

“You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. “- Lucille Ball

This weekend my step-mom and I shared a laugh as she jovially mentioned all the ways I march to the beat of my own drum. She was predominately referencing my unique parenting styles. Until my son Durant was one year old, we bathed him in the kitchen sink, where we would also feed him baby food before he was able to eat solids. Yes, this is bizarre — but he was happy, I was not stressed and it worked for us. Now, twenty-five months old, he loves being naked and so I let him run free inside the house. Thankfully, he tells me when he needs to go “tee-tee.” When he does, I take him to the bathtub where he has an obviously large target. Yes, this is also not mainstream, but currently the toilet freaks him out. Eventually, we’ll make our way to the porcelain bowl, but until then I’m okay with ‘breaking the rules’ and will not think twice otherwise.

Next, and along the same lines, I recently saw an interview with the famous decorator, Nate Berkus. He referenced the importance of being confident enough to break decorating rules. In other words, just because a decorating book or article shows one opinion doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Rather, what’s most important is that you love what you have, that it reflects your style and that it makes you happy. All other opinions are irrelevant.

So, you are probably wondering where in the world am I going with a my weird parenting and decorating analogy…well, it’s all about loving yourself and being confident enough to go against the grain, break societal norms and follow your heart. For example, Nate also talked about making the mistake of accepting a television show offer, which naturally fed his ego and was of course financially rewarding; however, if he had initially taken the time to listen to and follow his heart he would have heard his spirit saying, “break the career ladder rules and say no.” As a result, he quickly became overwhelmed, his life spun out of control and his health was negatively effected.

Listening to and following your heart is tricky, especially in the fast-paced, over-stimulating and impulsive world we live in. It’s hard to turn down anything that may instantaneously feed our ego, provide a quick fix or appease everyone other than ourselves, and frankly, it’s not popular to say no. Personally, I cringe anytime I have to say no, even when I listen to my heart and am convicted in my decision (big or small). But, I’m figuring out that sometimes loving myself means saying no, and I’m okay with that, even if it means that my decision upsets or disappoints someone I deeply care for.

So, how will you break the rules and love yourself first? There are a million and one ways, but only you hold the key to your heart and can determine what is best for you and your life. I’m confident you’ll choose the habits, behaviors and choices that will positively feed your body, your mind, your spirit and then the lives of everyone around you.

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Point To Ponder:
Do your daily habits, behaviors and choices reflect love for yourself, or love for everyone other than yourself?

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Action Item:
Make a list of the habits, behaviors and choices you engage in that are in direct opposition to loving yourself.  Then, create a list of all the self-loving habits, behaviors and choices that you will begin making a priority.

by Neissa

VIDEOS WE LOVE: What does love look like to you?

Love is displayed in variety of unique ways, all of which are personal and always needed.  With February being the ‘month of love’, check out this endearing video and let’s all take part in giving and receiving big love!  Afterall, love is a gift that never gets old and is always needed and appreciated.

Click to watch video on YouTube

People were asked to submit home videos of what love looks like to them… this is a collage of what was captured.

Video not showing up? Watch it on YouTube here.

Love is Spelled T-I-M-E

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When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

-Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

For as long as I can remember I have been wired to work. From a job, to exercise, to filling my plate with busy to-do’s, achievement in the form of action has been my mode of fulfillment and success. Eight years ago and upon marrying, my husband hinted that he’d appreciate me stopping to spend time with him before crashing in bed. I would honor his wishes out of necessity for our relationship, but I still felt the itch to move and do. In addition, when I wasn’t “achieving” or sleeping, I would feel a sense of guilt.

Now, eight years later, some wisdom has set in and time has become my primary love language. While I cherish the time I specifically set aside for my husband and son, I still struggle with the ridiculous guilt from not working or doing. In addition, and because I have figured out my busy predisposition, I have put in place rules and boundaries around this time. For example, I try to avoid my phone and computer because the second I look at either I am doomed. One missed call, text message or email can immediately change my focus from “T-I-M-E” back to achievement mode.

Since having put in place my self-imposed “time laws,” I still experience guilt (which is a waste of time and I must get over it), but my relationship with my husband is the most healthy it has ever been. Please know that I am not boasting as this is step one of a million-mile journey, rather I’m indicating that I am a work in progress and understanding the true value of time.

Now, more than ever, our lives are infiltrated with seemingly innocent distractions. From 515 television channels, never-ending commitments, and the world-wide web, if we aren’t careful our time is consumed with these things and not with what is most important. Side note — isn’t it ironic that the internet is called the “web?”

In conclusion, I leave you with a monumental excerpt from The Purpose Driven Life and wish you a week and holiday season filled with T-I-M-E.

I have been at the bedside of many people in their final moments, when they stand on the edge of eternity, and I have never heard anyone say, “Bring me my diplomas! I want to look at them one more time. Show me my awards, my medals, that gold watch I was given.”  When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects. What we want around us is people – people we love and have relationships with. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about.

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Point To Ponder:
Are your relationships your first priority?

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Action Item:
Determine who you need to start spending more time with and make the necessary sacrifices to fulfill this relationship.

 

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Why We Share

“This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving.”   -Steve Maraboli

Point To Ponder:
Do you view your obstacles, successes, struggles and experiences as an opportunity to share and be a gift to others?

Action Item:
Continually share your life and gifts with others and view them as an act of service.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

This weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to speak at a Christian women’s retreat called Soli Deo Gloria. It was a created and facilitated by a young woman named Jen Ferguson. Jen contacted me in February and shared her vision of the weekend, which was to highlight that life is an adventure and that sometimes God asks us to step out of our comfort zone and take risks so that we might grow and be challenged. She said plenty of other wonderful things about her plan, but outside of her first description I was not interested in additional information as her theme was right up my alley!

So, on Saturday, from 11:15 a.m to 12:15 p.m I spoke on the importance of honoring our temples. From regular exercise, eating a nutritious diet, the people we surround ourselves with and the information we read and listen to, all of these things pertain to honoring and keeping our temples healthy so we can live our best lives and ultimately be a gift to others. I also explained our iGnite philosophy and the blessings that occur from predominantly exercising outdoors and with positive, encouraging and fun women.

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my opinions, however my favorite and most memorable moment was when questions began coming in, as having women share and open up about their experiences and struggles is like icing on the cake! Witnessing the bold and courageous act of standing up in front of others to comment, ask questions and express fears is very inspiring.

During this time, one of the women posed the following question, “What if I wasn’t feeling confident enough to exercise with a group and chose to exercise at home, alone?” I explained that exercise is very personal, and done in any fashion or environment is great; however, the bigger question is her lack of confidence and if not dealt with it will continue to show it’s ugly face and inhibit her from being her best and living her best life. Then, in the midst of our dialogue the topic of isolation arose and Jen eloquently interjected some of the most Biblical profound wisdom I’ve ever heard. She said, “Iron sharpens iron and we can sharpen one another, however when we’re in isolation we cannot be refined or strengthened. Therefore, when we share ourselves, our stories and our lives, not only do we have opportunity to sharpen someone else but we too will be sharpened in the process.”

I knew I would enjoy my speaking experience, however; I must admit that I was sharpened much more than I sharpened the women attending the retreat. Therefore, I encourage you to be iron for those around you, and guaranteed you will be sharpened in return.

Watch this week’s video and be sharpened!

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