Tag Archives: motherhood

How Cary is In The Game

iGnite - Faith Bigger than FearPoint to Ponder:

Do your fears inhibit you from trusting people and life in general?

In an effort to be vulnerable, courageous and 100% in the game, throughout the month of July the iGnite Team is going to share some of our fears (eek!!). Like all things in life, nothing is as they appear, the human experience is not unique and we all have fears. Therefore, we feel it’s important that we open the doors into our heads and hearts so that in the event you are experiencing similar fears and emotions (and we know at least one person is) we can bring you comfort, encouragement and even spark some healthy conversation. So, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy Cary’s beautiful testimony and appreciate how she’s avoiding the sidelines and playing in the game of motherhood and letting her children fly.

CaryFyfe

by Cary Fyfe

 “Have faith in him…”

My oldest son, in his quest to encourage me to step back from his younger brother’s need to blossom on his own, softly laid these words like a potion, on to my raw, motherhood anxiety. There we sat, in a sports bar, of all places, the night before this wise young man left for his first year of college. I had asked him to dinner, just him and me, so that I could frantically plant as many seeds as I could before he sailed off into his future…my motherly cherry-on-top-gift to him. He quietly tolerated my mission, and his brown eyes compassionately caressed my anxious sorrow as he listened and validated. Then, when I finally took a breath between words, he softly said this: “You are a great mother. You did everything you needed to do with and for me. Thank you. And now, I want to tell you something important. You needed to do that for me…it was necessary for me…but it is not necessary for Jack. You can step back. You can give him space to use the great skills he has….please do that, Mom…it’s okay to do that. Have faith in him.”  I stopped talking, and I began to listen…and what I heard was my own fear — fear that disguised itself as concern, as necessary in order to guarantee the survival of my children. Fear that was not…was not….true. What was true was the clarity of my oldest son, the capabilities of my youngest son, and my misguided thought that I alone could set their ships on course, for life. I treasure that warm summer night when my sage-of-a-son very gently peeled away the layers of my misguided need to control, and compassionately revealed my useless fear. And in my case, as my son taught me, my fear wasn’t something that I needed to conquer, but rather something that I needed to recognize for what it was, so that I could have the faith to allow life to happen around me, as it was supposed to happen. Falling into fear is a dance that I still do, but because Taylor brought a simple truth to life for me, I can now allow sweet faith to be a bigger part of that dance.

Action Item:

Recognize your fears for what they are. Then have faith by letting go and let life happen around you, as its supposed to.

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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)!

Elaine Seeber: Through Hell and High Water, Perseverance & Faith

ElaineSeeber_w-1

A True Texas Girl… I was born and raised in Bertram, Texas.  I married Donny Brown, and we lived in the Philippines for our first 2 years of marriage, then back to Texas in Austin, Georgetown and Riesel.  We had two daughters together, Neissa and Shonna, who have now brought me 4 grandchildren.

Joe and I with our grandchildren Malaine, Claire, Durant and Cole

I now live in Hewitt, a suburb of Waco, (HA!) and have lived here almost 11 years with my second husband, Joe. 1 ½ years ago, I retired from a career at Hillcrest Hospital.

 

I’m inspired by… Daddy and Mother.  I regret I didn’t thank them enough when they were alive and would so love to be able to now.

My pet peeve… Negativism.  It drives me crazy!

 

If I had had a different career… It would have been Home Economics Teacher.

 

Outside of being with the kids and grandkids, my perfect day would be… A very warm day that starts with exercising (sweat profusely) , working in the yard and with my plants (sweat profusely), sitting on the deck and watching the birds and listening to my wind chimes, going inside to eat, taking a shower, and then with the AC turned down to about 68, taking a long afternoon nap covered up with a throw!

 

Growing up a farmer’s daughter… Daddy was a farmer/rancher/carpenter.  Mother was a homemaker.  We were 3 girls and 1 boy: Benda, Sharon, Connie (my brother, and he despises the name!), and the baby ME!

We were extremely close and truly lived in a “bubble.”   We raised chickens as part of the family income — the most chickens we raised at one time was 1,400!…and no, that isn’t a typo.  We had our after-school and summertime chores of gathering, washing, grading and cartoning the eggs.

When my brother and I got “older” (probably 10 & 12), in the winter after school we would burn the stickers off prickly pear cactus for the cows to eat.  In the summer we had hay, corn and maize to haul and put in the barn.  I learned at an early age how to drive the standard pickup truck and tractor pull the trailer.  Our garden provided food for canning, and our meat came from our own pigs, calves and chickens.  We milked our own cows, drank the milk and made butter from it.

Mother was an excellent cook and seamstress, and she made all of our meals from scratch and sewed all our dresses.  Our clothes were wrinkle-free when we wore them, and daddy’s and my brother’s jeans were starched stiff as a board.  I learned carpenter skills from daddy.  There was never buying a new appliance, as cords were repaired by mother. Major repair work, daddy did.  I remember mother getting a wringer washer and how proud of it we were.  Our clothes were line-dried, and in the winter we would hang wet clothes in front of the space heaters, and/or lay them in the oven.

We were in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night.  Our favorite time of day was eating “supper.”  We never sat down to eat until at least 8:00 pm, and we ate as a family. After eating was our “visiting time,”  and never did we get up quick from the table. We sat there sometimes until 9:30 visiting.

There was one bathroom for all 6 of us, that daddy added on when I was in the first grade.  Since we had our own water well, we weren’t allowed to use but about 2 inches of water in the bathtub.  Baths were quick, and while one of my sisters or I were bathing, the other one would come in and wash faces and brushed teeth.

photo 1-5The only vacation we ever had was going to Alpine and visiting my mother’s sisters.  Neighbors that were chicken farmers would take care of our chickens for a few days, and we would return the favor.  I remember one time I was about 12, Daddy wanted to take us to Inks Lake and spend the night.  So we packed up our car and pickup, and Mother cooked all the food for us (including fried chicken).  Plans were for us to get there mid-afternoon, spend the night, sleep in the back of the uncovered pickup on a pallet consisting of several blankets, a sheet and our pillows.  We were so excited and thought we were in high cotton!  Well, as luck would have it, early that night a thunderstorm came, drenched us and we ended up having to come home that night.  We were of course disappointed, but accepted it as just one of those things that happens.

 

My Story… I shared so much about my upbringing because it is an integral part of who I am and how I overcame obstacles in my life.    I was fortunate to have wonderful parents that taught us to (1) love the Lord; (2) love each other and be a family; (3) have integrity; (4) not covet our neighbor, and (5) have a great work ethic.

In Bertram there was little difference in family incomes.  We had only what we needed, and our community was close-knit and truly cared about each other.  I thought that was the way the entire world was.

Growing up, I never knew Mother and Daddy had arguments, and we as a family very seldom argued.  If we had a problem, we talked it over, settled it and that was that.  So when Donny and I had our first argument, I just knew we were headed to divorce court the next day.

Donny and I divorced after 15 years, and it was devastating.  Our girls were 7 and 11 years old. Like I said….no one was supposed to even argue, much less divorce I lived with a tremendous amount of guilt and failure, but my upbringing gave me strength.  I knew I had two ways to go: either (1) running around and going to bars (which had never appealed to me, nor does it now), or (2) continue going to church and make sure that was a vital part of my children’s and my life.

The age difference Shonna and Neissa was good in that they never competed against each other, but it did mean that every night and weekend we were busy.  Confirmation was 4 years long, therefore for 8 years, our Wednesday nights were taken up. Shonna’s basketball and football games were Friday night, Neissa’s were Monday and Thursday.  Weekends were track meets, tournaments and church youth groups (which of course met at different times on Sunday afternoon).   I had a little red Ford Escape — Margaret was her name — and she got us everywhere.

So many times I wouldn’t have the money to pay our electricity bill on time.  On the cut-off date, I would leave the house at 6:30 am and get the payment to Marlin, come home and get the girls to school.  (That was back when you could write a check and know it wouldn’t get to your bank for at least 2-3 days.)  I made phone calls to utility companies and banks, begging for a few more days.

 

A particularly challenging Christmas… The houses in Riesel we lived in were always COLD in the winter and HOT in the summer.  From living on a farm, I knew to leave the faucets dripping at night to keep the pipes from freezing.  But it seemed no  matter how careful I was, it always froze.  I remember one Christmas it froze on either the 23rd  or 24th…

On Christmas afternoon, we were taking our naps, (a true Watson tradition) and I woke up to a spewing.  The water had unfrozen and the pipes had burst.   Ice cold water was everywhere.  I went outside, turned it off and started  mopping it up.  I always wrapped my outside pipes and prayed they wouldn’t freeze… but they did just a couple of times.  But I knew how to do that because I had seen and helped Daddy do it many times.

One winter night it was icing outside —  I had bought plastic to put on the outside of our windows to protect from the north wind.  I went outside after the girls went to bed and nailed the plastic to the windows.  The wind was blowing hard and it was literally freezing.  As I was coming back in the house, the sidewalk had frozen and I slipped and fell flat on my back, my head missing the corner of the step about an inch.  Scared me to death, but nothing was broken, so I got up and went back inside.

How did I make it?  My faith and my parents! 

 

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We Thought Nothing Of It: A Mother’s Day Tribute

Life doesn’t happen to us. It reveals our true spirit.
(Unknown)

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

During one of Amy’s recent yoga classes, she closed with this quote: “Life doesn’t happen to us. It reveals our true spirit.” I was instantly touched by the quote because it reminded me of my mom—the eternal optimist—who inspires me to write this journal.

My childhood in Riesel (a small farming community outside of Waco) was at times challenging. But being raised by an eternal optimist meant times rarely seemed grim. When I was in the first grade my mom divorced my dad. At the time, my father was an alcoholic. Thankfully, the day my mom moved me and my sister out was the same day my dad divinely quit drinking—cold turkey. He has been alcohol free ever since—another journal for another day.

It was too late to reconcile as mounds of damage had already been done. My mother was no longer in love with my father and knew she had to get me and my sister out of our negative environment so she moved us into an apartment in a nearby town. My sister and I were able to stay in the same school so life barely changed. If anything, life got better!! We thought nothing of it.

Everything seemed normal with the exception of our father not living with us. Within a year, my mom began dating and my dad became reacquainted with a college sweetheart. Dad married my stepmother, Brenda, and they’ve been married ever since. We became a very civil divorced family who attended the same church and even sat in the same pew together. Can you can imagine how strange this might have looked?!? We thought nothing of it.

It wasn’t too long before we moved back to Riesel. Our new home was old and with no central air or heat. The three of us shared one bedroom and changed our habits to suit the season. In the winter, Mom would get up extra early (4:30 a.m.) to light space heaters for us. And when the water heater ran out of butane, she’d boil huge pots of water on the stove for our baths. We thought nothing of it.

During the school year Mom always prepared and delivered our breakfast to us on the couch. There the three of us would eat, put on our makeup together and talk about EVERYTHING! Mom would iron our clothes for the day and see to it that our lunches were made. By 7:30 a.m., we all looked like a million bucks and headed out the door. We thought nothing of it.

I could go on and on with more stories about the eternal optimist, but what I love and appreciate the most about my mom is her spirit. She protected and nurtured us. Only later in life did my sister and I learn the truth about the hardships she endured.

The apartment she had moved us to was government subsidized housing. We thought nothing of it because there was no more fighting, and we found fun in climbing the stairs and meeting the new neighbors.

The clothes she gave us were mostly hand-me-downs or painstakingly handmade. We thought nothing of it because we loved going to Wal-mart to look for patterns and material so we could have a new Easter, Christmas, or banquet dresses. Mom even made my sister’s Jr. Prom dress which was ALL RED SEQUINS!!!

The times we ran out of butane were because she sometimes couldn’t pay the bill. We thought nothing of it because she boiled water on the stove for us. And the school cafeteria food was awful, but we thought nothing of it because Mom always made our lunches to spare us.

We were financially poor. But thanks to Mom’s faith and eternal optimistic spirit, we were spiritually rich. Throughout the many struggles she endured, we never saw her cry or heard her complain. She reinforced the importance of faith, family, health and humor. She stayed focused on making the best of every situation and after every game, event or activity we participated in, even if we lost by fifty points, she was always the first to greet us with her BIG smile and optimistic attitude. She always told us how great we did and never what we should or could have done to win.

Financially, life is better for us all now, but we wouldn’t trade our poor upbringing for any amount of money in the world. We are grateful and very often reminisce and laugh.

Difficult and challenging times are always inevitable in life. What’s critical and is the difference maker is our optimistic attitudes, as our spirit will most likely determine the outcome of our situations. Mom has proven this to me time and time again. But don’t just take my word for it; a 2008 Duke University study showed that cardiac patients who were pessimistic about their recovery we’re twice as likely to die early as those who were optimistic.

As you go about your week and even life, I encourage you to confront all situations with an optimistic spirit. The truth is that life is going to happen with some good and some bad mixed together. The question is: will you have an unshakable faith and spirit that radiates so brightly that you’ll flourish even through the most challenging situations? I’m optimistic you will!

Point To Ponder:
How do you typically react to situations that don’t go your way?

Action Item:
Confront all situations with an optimistic spirit. Have an unshakable faith and spirit that radiates so brightly that you’ll flourish even when the outlook appears grim.

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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

WEEKLY JOURNAL: Are You Living in the Fantasy of “One Day…”?

The Best Time is NOW

Happiness is an inside job. By exposing your fantasy, you will once and for all dispel the myth that happiness, joy and contentment live anywhere but within you.

-Debbie Ford

Have you ever thought or said, “I’ll be happy or content when__________?”  Or, have you ever heard this saying “You’re only as happy as your most unhappy child”?  I’m certainly guilty of looking ahead to see what is over the horizon and will be the first to admit that I lack contentment.  And, just the other day during an iGnite meeting we discussed the danger of putting all of our happiness eggs into or children’s basket, or anyone’s basket for that matter. If that’s the case, we’ll never get off of the nauseating and emotional roller coaster; therefore, we’ll always deny ourselves happiness, joy and contentment!  Happiness, joy and contentment are choices; and thankfully, it’s up to us to find and experience these lifelong fulfilling emotions.

I find the topics of happiness, joy and contentment especially fitting this time of year as goals, resolutions and changes are being pursued by everyone, including myself. After reading the chapter  ‘Exposing The Fantasies’ from Debbie Ford’s book The Best Year of Your Life, I was shocked and humbled.  I recognized that my reasoning behind fulfilling some of my goals is actually fantasy-driven. Check out what Debbie has to say and see if you too have any “fantasies:”

When we are waiting for one day to come in order to be happy–to experience joy, fun, passion, or success — we are living an illusion that deadens our spirits and robs us of our ability to enjoy our lives right now. There is nothing wrong with future thinking or goal setting. In fact, I believe these actions are imperative if we are to reach our full potential. But living in the fantasy of “one day….” keeps our real lives — the ones you and I are actually living — on hold. Our fantasies prevent us from taking action and making the changes that are necessary to better our lives. Fantasies come in every flavor and are often disguised as goals. They might sound like:

“When I finally get________.”     “As soon as I accomplish____________.”      “When my husband finally____________.”     “When my kids are old enough to take care of themselves, I’ll be able to____________.”     “As soon as this _________ period is over, I will diet/get in shape/take care of myself.”     “Next year I will_______, and then I’ll be able to_________.”     “I’ll be happy when I make more money, live a more balanced life, have a baby, have more time,……………….”

There’s no doubt that timing is everything and the season of our life can certainly influence our goals; however, we must be honest with ourselves and determine if we’ve chosen specific goals as an effort to “one day be happy and fulfilled,” and are postponing the pursuit of a particular goal (as well as our happiness) because we are waiting for the “perfect time.” After all, waiting for the “perfect time” is like believing in mermaids, leprechauns and unicorns. They are nice to think about — but that’s about as good as it gets.

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Point To Ponder:

Are you postponing making a change because you are waiting for the perfect time, situation or opportunity?

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Action Item:
Determine what it is that you are postponing, and break that change or goal down into small, achievable, baby steps. Soon you will see that taking action today is not as intimidating and overwhelming as you originally thought.

By Neissa

Neissa Springmann

Being “Good Enough”

You Are Good Enough

“Good enough means being able to accept who and where we are with grace and gratitude and being content with ourselves as works in progress.” — Kristin Armstrong

Action Item:
Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.

by Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

Have you ever struggled with the feeling that you are not “good enough?”

I recall being in 3rd grade and feeling sadly disappointed with all A’s, and a B in Penmanship on my report card. I thought my handwriting was good, but it wasn’t “good enough.” As a teen I struggled with feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. I was never “thin enough” or “confident enough.” Then, as a busy Mom of three, one of my favorite free-time activities was training for triathlons. One year, I placed 3rd (in my age group) in a sprint triathlon and decided I could do better, so I trained harder. The next year I came in 2nd place and elusive 1st place was never an option, as the triathlon series was discontinued. Equally elusive were my feelings of being “good enough.”

I now know why God graced me with my three children. They were pre-destined to be some of my greatest teachers. At age 16 and in a fit of frustration, I recall my oldest daughter blurting out “Nothing is ever good enough for you!” Taking the comment to heart, I began a long, slow journey of learning to let go of desired outcomes and needing to control what I perceived as the necessary end result. I passionately want the best for my kids and for myself, therefore I continually struggle to ease up on my expectations and instead, to learn the lessons the present has to offer.

Meanwhile, the little voice in my head continues to taunt me… “Are you really a good enough Mom, wife, friend, yoga teacher??”  I have to stop, breathe and ask for help. I realize I am an imperfect human who, though flawed, does the best she can with a faith-filled heart. And then I offer the rest to God. Doing this frees me from the need to be perfect and in control. Divine design is constantly working through me, and I am only a small vessel amidst a fleet of God’s angels.

My yoga mat is a laboratory for my life. Every day offers new experiments and discoveries. I have found immense peace of mind through merely showing up on my mat, paying attention to my breath, and letting my body guide me as it opens and unfolds in it’s own time to receive grace. Learning to receive is a lesson unto itself. I don’t have to be a superstar on the mat; just showing up, willing to learn is “good enough.”

iGniters come to class starting where they are, taking one step at a time toward their goals...realizing that we are all "works in progress."

iGniters come to class starting where they are, taking one step at a time toward their goals…realizing that we are all “works in progress.”

The beauty I have found in iGnite is that we don’t measure success by inches lost, pounds shed, or winning times; instead we focus on nurturing relationships, finding fun in the everyday, and being fed in body, mind and spirit. If we can do that, it is most definitely “good enough.”

I challenge you to look at your own life vocation (and yes, motherhood is a vocation) and ask yourself, “Am I good enough?” Let the Weekly Intention Guide inspire you. Today may be different from yesterday, or tomorrow. Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.

And for all moms, step-moms and future moms-to-be, you’ll want to check out this weeks video, as it features a new and hysterical online motherhood show based on true motherhood stories. Sharing, accepting and laughing at our successes and opportunities (including those of our children, spouse, family and friends) is the key to everyone “feeling good enough.”

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