Tag Archives: Mother’s Day Out

It’s Time to Turn On Your Shine!

iGnite - let your light shine

Point to Ponder:
Are you a light to those around you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Excitingly, last Tuesday our kiddos (Durant, 4 & Malaine, 2) attended their first week of pre-school in San Diego. You. have. no. idea. how thrilled I was! Not just for me and my own sanity, but for theirs too. I was excited that we could begin establishing a routine, they could start making friends, their world was expanding beyond “mom,” and I could have a little freedom.

The pre-school they are attending is at the church we attend, The Rock, and it’s in an area near downtown called Point Loma. Like all of San Diego (including the neighborhood we live in), it’s full of a very diverse group of people. Ironically, moving to a more diverse neighborhood was actually something that my husband Russell and I considered while living in Austin before we knew we were moving to San Diego. Now, I realize that our interest was more than just coincidence — rather, it was God opening and preparing our hearts and minds for our future environment.

So, Tuesday was their first day of school and it was an exceptional day for all of us. Absolutely, my heart was a bit unsettled and nervous, but I knew it was necessary for feeling grounded, creating relationships and for our overall growth and development. Then on Thursday, after dropping them off and while filling out paperwork in the school, a heavy dose of loneliness blindsided me out of nowhere. As I I looked around, everything felt unfamiliar. I’m just gonna be honest and say it — no one looked like me (how about that “don’t judge a book by its cover” fail!?). Unlike at the Mother’s Day Out my children attended in Austin, I do not have a relationship with the director, the teachers or any of the moms here. Seriously, I was on the verge of tearing up when out of the blue a random woman walked up, noticed my Stronger TogetHER tank [that I was of course proudly wearing ūüôā ] and said, “I really like your shirt! What’s that about?” I perked up and gave her the 15 second description of iGnite, ending with “we are community-based and believe that in all aspects of life, we are stronger togerHER.” She then enthusiastically invited me to join the women’s Bible study called SHINE. Shine – wow!¬† What an encouraging, happy and powerful word!

That word shine made an impression on me, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. By definition, the word shine means to give out a bright light. As I looked more into ‘shining,’ I was reminded of a sermon I heard by preacher Francis Chan about how a silversmith gets his best, shiniest silver through a process called “testing.” The testing process starts with raw silver in a pot and a fire that is heated to the highest possible temperature. As the silver melts, the impurities rise to the top, at which the silversmith scrapes off the impurities and continues the same process of extreme heat and scraping the impurities off until he or she has the shiniest possible piece of metal — so shiny that they can see their own reflection in it.

What I find remarkable is how this process relates to life and the hardships, stresses, losses, disappointments and discomforts that we all must experience in order to shine. That with the right attitude and perspective, those scary and seemingly ‘unfair’ experiences actually produce maturity, perseverance, faith and wisdom in us so we can shine for others. That’s the part that I was forgetting about on Thursday in my moment of self-pity. I was so consumed by my own discomfort that I was forgetting about my responsibility to shine for others. I had to step outside of myself and my self-pity in order to see the big picture.

Author Marianne Williamson says is perfectly below, suggesting that when we shine, we give others permission to shine:

“Our deepest fear isn’t that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that are more powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, how are you not to be? You are here for a reason! Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s in everyone, and as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people the permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson

Action Item:
If you are currently experiencing hard or stressful times, just remember, you are going through the testing process so you can shine even¬†brighter on the other side. If you don’t have the energy or even the hope to shine, find someone that is shining and allow their shine to brighten yours.
Or, if life is feeling great and you have plenty of shine to give, in all of your interactions, conversations and even casual passings-by, make it a priority to shine. It’s our responsibility to and for others who are not shining to gain strength from our glow. So let’s shine as brightly as we can so others can be inspired and encouraged to shine as well!

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On a Bullet Train to Nowhere

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. ¬†And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.
– Stephen Covey

POINT TO PONDER:
Where do the relationships in my life rank in my priority list?

ACTION ITEM:
Identify one way you can invest in a relationship this week that you don’t usually take the time and/or effort to do.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

A few weeks ago I had a run-in with perspective. Of course having a toddler and a five month old always has a way of doing this, however there are many times when I become hyper-focused and move so fast that my priorities and common sense become skewed. For example, Durant, our funny two and three quarter year old toddler just started a Mother’s Day Out program, and as to be expected, cried during the first two weeks of drop-off. ¬†As painful as it was to walk away from him with a smiling face, we knew that if we freaked out, he would freak out more and this would only prolong that difficult phase. Thankfully, on his fifth day he walked in without hesitation, smiled and waved goodbye.

Following his first successful walk-in, my dad and stepmom offered to take both Durant and Malaine (my 5 month old daughter) for the night. Initially I jumped on the offer, but then my inner “Crazy Voice” took over, telling me: ¬†Durant was just starting to make “walk-in progress,” and if he skipped Thursday he would likely regress, which meant more crying. As I began retracting the kind proposal, “Common Sense Voice” shouted, “Calm down sister! “What in the world are you thinking and why in the world do you think that Durant going to Mother’s Day Out is more important than spending time with his grandparents, whom he adores?!¬† Furthermore, at the end of the day what’s more important? Making memories with his grandparents or making two-year-old “walk-in” progress?” ¬†Thank goodness “Common Sense Voice” prevailed.

Lately, I’ve had several random yet profound life conversations with my husband Russell and friends. We discussed how quickly we can become robotic, get tunnel vision and lose perspective of what’s most important. More often than not, it feels like life moves at breakneck speed and before long we lose consciousness, become a slave to our work, our lifestyle and societal expectations. It’s as if we jump on the bullet train to nowhere and before long we’ve traveled thousands of miles with nothing of real substance to show for it. During this speedy process we may have received a special title, collected things and accumulated different experiences, but in the midst of riding on the accelerated track it’s likely that our most valuable and precious cargo (our relationships with family and friends) have suffered.

We come to classes to push ourselves and be there for each other to become our best selves.

Other than pushing ourselves to become more fit, we go to classes to be there for each other when motivation or reminding each-other of our values is necessary. 

Whether it be family, work, children, friends, or just a typical life situation, it’s easy to lose perspective and focus on the trivial and inconsequential. However, I urge you to stop the train, get off the tracks and make sure the most important part of the ride (time for relationships and with the people you love) are your highest priority. Everything else is replaceable.

What do you think? Click here to leave a comment & join the discussion. 

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