Tag Archives: parenting

Member Spotlight: Madeleine Tilin

grey-big-smile-filter-5652Roots:
I grew up in Lubbock, graduated from UT Austin with a degree in journalism and moved several times before coming back to Austin in 2011. My children’s father and I both worked in publishing and enjoyed some great cities together as a result – Boulder, Chicago, Santa Fe and Oakland. We moved to Austin in 2011.

Family Life:
I live with my partner, John, and I have two children, Isaac (17) and Leila (14) who are in high school at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School. We also live with John’s two sons, Graham (17) and Lucas (14) who attend LASA. It’s kind of like the Brady Bunch without Alice. 🙂

Work Life:
I have spent my work life as a visual communicator – magazine art director, graphic designer and photographer. I’ve been an event and portrait photographer for the last 9 years and am transitioning to having my own female centered contemporary portrait studio out of my home. I’m excited to develop as a fine artist using my photography as a basis to create photo encaustic work, a medium that uses beeswax and oil pant to create beautiful, one of a kind art pieces for my clients. It’s been germinating for a few years. It’s finally becoming a reality, and I’m super excited! That said, my job as a mother trumps all. It’s cliché, but I don’t think I really knew how big my heart could grow until I had children. I’m so thankful for this journey.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Working out in community is way more fun and motivating. 🙂 I have always valued my friendships with women, so iGnite is an extension of that. I appreciate that there are women of all ages, perspectives and life experiences.

Who or what inspires me most…
It’s hard to narrow this one down! My children, my girlfriends, nature and my yoga practice. First, my children inspire me with their kindness, sensitivity and openness to life and all kinds of people. Second, nature, particularly the ocean and redwoods in Northern California and the high desert and mountains in New Mexico. As a photographer, I’m always observing the quality of light in new places, and I inevitably think the last place is the best…like how could it ever get better?! This is a great metaphor for life. 🙂 Just when you think you have experienced the most amazing, sublime light, you arrive in a new place or time and something different and just as beautiful is revealed. Nature perpetuates a sense of wonder that is so very important to happiness. My closest girlfriends near and far inspire me with their big, generous hearts and willingness to dig deep and help each other be the best versions of ourselves. My yoga practice has enriched my life in ways I could have never imagined when I started practicing 22 years ago. It has been my close friend and refuge most of my adult life, and I can easily say that it has made me a better human being. I am eternally grateful to my many teachers who have passed on different aspects of this beautiful practice.

Something people may not know about me is…
I sang vocals, played keyboard and flute in two different bands in Oakland. They were both groups of parents who were getting their groove back. 🙂 It was a ton of fun and learning how to play with others was a whole new experience.

Three words to describe myself are…
Creative, warm-hearted, free-spirited


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Always Grateful

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Point to Ponder:
Who or what do you need to be grateful for?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

With family coming to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday, I hired my friend’s housekeeper to clean our home. We haven’t had our house professionally cleaned since June and it was in desperate need of a good scrubbing. Erica, my friend’s housekeeper, let me know that she was going to get a friend to help her, and to insure that the house got as clean as possible, she was going to take her time. From 7:45 a.m – 5:30 p.m., Erica and Anna cleaned! I never imagined that they would or could clean for so long, but they did. Needless to say, the house is spotless and orderly- like a model home. It looks wonderful and feels even better! However, while our houses cleanliness is a delightful thing, is it temporary. It will soon look like a jungle gym and a stuffed animal, marker, crayon and Lego bomb exploded. However, what is permanent is Anna’s impact.

Prior to yesterday, I had only met Erica once and I had never met Anna at all, so throughout the day I would strike up various conversations. I tried not to bother them, but I wanted to get to know them. By their actions alone it was clear that they were both extremely hard workers and take pride in their work, but as so often occurs when conversing with people, it doesn’t take long to be reminded that everyone has a story and the human spirit is nothing short of incredible!

As soon as Anna finished up cleaning the very last thing, we began talking and she let me know that twenty-five years ago she moved from Mexico to San Diego. She became a US citizen, got married and had three children. Her children are twenty-two, twenty and sixteen. To use her words, she is unfortunately divorced from her children’s father and while he is a part of their lives, her children live with her, she is the provider and she is their rock. Her twenty-two year old son is in the Navy, her twenty year old daughter is in college and her sixteen year old son attends a high-school academy in San Diego. And, as I continued to ask her questions, she let me know that after dropping her son off at school every morning she goes back home to prepare meals for her family, studies and then works as a custodian at a middle school, from 2:30 – 11:30 p.m. When I asked her what she is studying, she let me know that she is striving to get her GED (her high-school diploma). As I nodded my head in disbelief and amazement of the character and strength of this woman, she let me know that she is fifty-two years old and that the only thing she can attribute her strength to is God. She is faith-filled, grateful and she blew my mind!

When Erica and Anna finally finished I gave them both a hug for all of their hard work, but more than making my house look amazing, I was thankful for the opportunity to get to know them. Not only was I reminded of the blessing of being able to afford someone to clean our house (something my mom or my husband’s mom, both single-moms, never had the luxury of being able to afford), but most importantly, I was reminded that despite life’s disappointments and challenges, the blessings of each day outweighs the burdens, attitude is everything, having faith is essential and living with and in gratitude is the only way to live.


Action Item:
Whether it be verbally or in a hand-written note, thank someone you are grateful for and/or give thanks for what you are grateful for.


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Member Spotlight: Jana Harker

FullSizeRender-183Roots:
I’m originally from Houston (Sharpstown HS), went to school at UT, moved back to Houston, married and raised three kids in Bellaire and then moved back to Austin last Spring.

Family Life:
I’ve been married to Doug for almost 32 years! We met on my first day of work at at my first job as a banker in downtown Houston. He’s from Berkeley, CA, and hadn’t planned on staying long but then he met me. 😊 Our daughter, Courtney (29), got married last May and works at a nonprofit that assists victims of human trafficking in San Diego. Our son, Travis (27), is a chef in Houston and runs the kitchen at Battleground Golf Club. Our youngest son, Sam (22), is graduating from UT this month and will start an internship in operations with the PGA Tour in Atlanta.

Work Life: 
My first career in banking was quite brief. After meeting and marrying my husband, we started having kids pretty soon, and I “retired” to stay home full time. When our youngest was in grade school, I decided to get my Masters in education which led to my second career as a high school teacher. I taught Health and Media Literacy at a small public high school in Houston for eight years. Since moving to Austin, I have been working on a volunteer basis for several local youth serving nonprofits in health education.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
I’ve learned that there is nothing better than the feeling you have after a good workout especially if it is outside on a gorgeous day! Also, the iGniters with their friendly faces and welcome smiles have given me a sense of community I truly appreciate being new to Austin. ☺

The best advice I’ve been given…
I’m paraphrasing but it’s “think about what you want to leave behind when you leave this world. What will you regret not doing?” This was my inspiration for returning to school. I don’t remember where I heard this, but it was in the late nineties, so probably Oprah.

Something people may not know about me…
I went to UH grad school when I was in my forties!

Three words that describe me…
Playful, curious and thoughtful

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Real Women, Real Stories | Martha Pincoffs: Discovering Self-Love in Order to Shine in Life

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Roots: I am born and raised in Austin. I have left to live in D.C. and Telluride, CO, but I always come back to Austin. This is home.

Family Life: My partner, Jo, and I have two kids. River is 4 years old and Townes is 2 years old.

Work Life: I am the founder of Hot Dang Grain Burgers, a company I started in 2011 and am President of Hat Creek Provisions, a fermented food company. I am on a personal mission to empower people with food!

Martha - HatCreek.jpgMy favorite quote: “You can be scared and brave at the exact same time.” -Brene Brown

People so often speak of “fearless leaders” and that never resonated for me. When I read the quote, it put words to that feeling. Leadership for me is scary sometimes, but trusting myself and the people I surround myself with and doing it anyway.

I’m most inspired by…my kids. I am constantly amazed by their curiosity and joy and resilience. They have such pure, sweet spirits, I can’t get enough of them.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten…Every time I left the house when I was a kid, my mom told me “Be sweet and have fun.” Somewhere along the way those words really soaked in and have shaped me.

Something people may not know about me…I have dreams of being on Broadway!

My guilty pleasure…The Real Housewives of Atlanta

What I’m looking forward to right now…A trip to Tulum next week with Jo.

When I’m not working, you can find me…Playing with my kids, cooking, on the back porch with Jo or riding a bike

My Story: Discovering Self-Love in Order to Shine in Life

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My life-changing experience have come in stages. Each one has allowed me to be the most authentic version of myself.

I have changed careers and cities and houses and come-out and had adventures and big belly laughs and plenty of heartbreak and therapy and some of the best friends in the world and found the love of my life. All of these experiences have showed me the way back to my authentic self, held up the mirror for me and helped me sometimes gently and sometimes not so gently get back to myself.

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Martha with Jo, her kids and her dad

No single thing has changed me more than becoming a parent. There was all of the sudden this little being (River) in our world and he became the ultimate mirror. I started thinking differently about life and about how Jo and I could raise a kid that is sweet and confident and safe in his own skin. I wanted him to feel the license to be himself.

There was something unsettled in me that I knew needed light. In this time I started meditating, reading Brene Brown and Debbie Ford and I could feel the light shifting in me. One day I was reading Brene Brown’s Parenting Manifesto, probably for the 15th time, but this time it hit a different nerve. In that moment I understood that my kids would never be able to be sweet, confident and safe in their own skin as long as I wasn’t able to give that to myself. That day I stopped drinking and smoking, my favorite coping mechanisms. I started actually liking myself and even loving who I am.

I’ll never forget the moment I was standing by our grill on the back porch and I had an experience where I could feel all of the love people had been giving to me for years that I hadn’t been able to feel. I had known intellectually that I was loved, but I had never been able to hold it. I always felt like I had something to apologize for, something to be ashamed of that made me somehow unworthy. Until this moment and the right relationship and set of circumstances, spiritual guides and tiny humans to care for taught me how to love myself.

Since that day I have been truly free. I don’t wear dresses any more. I don’t hold my tongue when I believe in something. I love my wife-to- be and our kids and the work that I get to do and the people I spend my days with. This lesson in parenting and self-love has pulled all of the parts of me together and I have given myself permission to love every bit of this journey and permission to go out and live the life of my dreams.

View More: http://katezimmermanpictures.pass.us/hot-dang-december-2015The effects of my “self-love” revolution left no stone unimproved. I had already started my company, Hot Dang, at this point, but I was plagued by self-doubt and insecurity in the early days. I didn’t feel like I knew enough about business to be successful, and the truth is…I didn’t, but no-one does when they start something and are immersed in learning. The shift that happened for me in business was profound. I went from a mind-set of who am I to try this, to who am I not to. I have a vision for a healthier place to live and eat and my regret would be NOT doing anything about it. This shift allowed me to boldly do and learn and unapologetically pursue my vision. The trick of living the life of your dreams is not to judge what exists in you or others and go bravely (remember, it is okay to be scared here) forward and live the life that you are meant to live. Whether that is becoming an artist, a therapist, raising kids, starting a company, being the best friend in the world, you are entitled to live YOUR dreams. Who are you not to show us your shine?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” -Marianne Williamson


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

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


 

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Real Women, Real Stories | Carley Lickteig: Heeding the Call to Adopt in Uganda

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Roots: I’ve lived in Austin for the past 18 years, aside from 6 months in California and 10 months in Uganda. Before moving to Austin, I lived in a few different places that my dad’s job took our family.

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Carley with husband, Josh

Family Life: I’ve been married to my husband, Josh, for 5 years. We dated for about 5 years before getting married, so he has been my best friend for pretty much all of my adult life. I also have two kids and one on the way. My daughter (Avery) is 8 and my son (Caleb) is 5. We are all four eagerly anticipating the arrival of a baby girl this June! My eldest two kids joined our family through adoption and our third is joining us the old fashion way.

Current Occupation: I have the privilege of staying home with my kids as a full-time mom. I’m grateful for that privilege and enjoy it very much.

My favorite quote… “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6. I love the quote and I also love the fact that I fell in love with it while it donned my husband’s Facebook profile as his favorite quote for years. (Including months before we were dating when I used to spend a lot of time on his Facebook page checking out his interests and whereabouts!)

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Avery and Caleb in our playroom in Uganda

I’m most inspired by…Jesus. For many reasons, but in particular for how genuinely and steadfastly he loves us even when we are at our worst and when we are making choices that make us highly unlovable. It truly amazes me and inspires – I want to love like that! And I’m so grateful I’m loved by him like that.
Something people may not know about me…I’m a homebody. I love filling a day with many, many books curled up on the couch with my kids. (And maybe a few chores, I really like a neat and tidy home!).

If I weren’t in my current career I’d be… I taught yoga and Pilates for years before becoming a mom and I loved it so much. So if I wasn’t a full-time mama, I would be back to teaching yoga and Pilates classes. I hope to get back into teaching in a future season when my kids are a bit older.

My guilty pleasure…I used to sneak in a long run any chance I could get, now I sneak a chance to put my feet up any chance I can get!

I’m looking forward to…meeting my baby girl!

My Story: Heeding the Call to Adopt in Uganda

Carley & Kids

I grew up the recipient of mountains of blessings. I had loving parents that poured into me, an older brother that definitely earned the title “best big brother in the world”, and every opportunity and material provision my family could generously offer me. Then as young adult, Jesus captured my heart completely! Meeting Jesus filled my heart and mind with surpassing joy. I knew that I wanted the amazing life God had given me to be given back to Him for whatever purposes He had planned. “To whom much is given, much is expected” – by God’s grace this truth didn’t crush me, but rather exhilarated me. As I transitioned into adulthood (exhilarated!), God gave me a husband who also desired to follow Jesus with passion. And so the adventure began!

Before getting married, God gave my husband and I each a desire for adoption to be a part of our future. He gave this desire to us as individuals first and then as a couple later. Our initial awareness of the reality of orphans in the world came through our church, The Austin Stone Community Church. We have the privilege of being a part of a church that is great at realizing needs, presenting them to the rest of the church body, and then collectively meeting those needs. So as our church presented the reality of orphans domestically and internationally, our church also began to fill up with adoptive families. Seeing these families and hearing their stories inspired my husband and me, and also showed us that we could very readily engage this particular need in the world ourselves. And that is exactly what God led us to do. 

We said to each other when we got married that we wanted to adopt as soon as we were able to do so. God provided through the generous way that my parents helped us start off our marriage in a good spot financially and He also provided through giving us a thriving marriage. Six months into our marriage we both felt the clear word from God to begin the adoption process! We were excited and nervous!

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With Caleb five weeks into meeting him & one week before bringing him home to Austin

After lots of prayer we decided to pursue adopting from Uganda. God gave us a baby boy who was 16 months old when we traveled to Uganda to meet him, go to court, and apply for his visa. We were in Uganda with him completing his adoption process for six weeks. During that time, and through the crazy love that we felt for our son, God deepened our heart for adoption. We felt that God was saying He had another child for our family through adoption. When we got back home with our son and continued to pray for our future children, God made it clear He wanted us to adopt again from Uganda.

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Avery in front of Lake Victoria near our house in Uganda

This time God gave us a little girl who joined our family at 6 years old. During the initial process of our daughter’s adoption (which is stateside), we felt God urging us to sell our home and move overseas to Uganda. We felt His urging to make that transition for many reasons, but as we reflect we are most thankful that He urged us to move to be with our daughter sooner rather than later. The process of her adoption was stalling and we were losing precious time with her. As He does, God provided and made a way for us to move to Uganda and foster our daughter in our home right away as we waited out the rest of her process. He didn’t ask us to do that without also giving us a desire. We moved to Uganda with expectant excitement. It was an enormous blessing to live our first year as a family, together with our new daughter, in Uganda. It was certainly a challenging season, but we can see now that God had many purposes in those challenges. Once we had successfully completed our daughter’s adoption process, we felt that returning to the States was the best thing for our family.

Our kids are learning and growing so much each day!

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Enjoying family time at the beach

Through adoption my husband and I gained the two loves our lives, Avery and Caleb. Loving them and parenting them has been a great and weighty privilege.

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With Avery a few months after arriving in Uganda

No parenting journey is easy, and ours hasn’t been either. Through the exhausting bouts we have very simply been sanctified! So many of our selfish and character-weak habits have had to go, but God has replaced them (we hope!) with new, stronger character traits, a deeper heart for serving and giving of ourselves, and a more passionate hunger for God’s nearness in our lives. We are works in progress (or even unfinished masterpieces of our King) and God will go to great lengths to pursue us and make us holy and righteous…and one of the ways He has done that in our lives is through our children and through a move to Uganda and back!

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One of the primary modes of transportation in Uganda, much to Caleb’s delight!

I love God so much more five years, a husband, two kids, and five moves later. I’ve also learned SO much about how much He loves me – through the love He has given me for my kids, through witnessing His love for my kids, and through the experience of His promises proven to be true. He is a God so worthy of our lives. I truly believe that when we give God the reigns of our life, He pours in blessing. Maybe not always blessing in the form of ease and comfort, but in the form of much sweeter gifts. The greatest gift He has given me through my husband and I’s pursuit of Him….is more of Himself. We are now closer to Him and know Him more accurately and intimately. When we see Jesus more fully, it changes the way we see everything else. And for so much the better. I live today with greater joy, peace, and freedom than I did five years ago. Pursuing Jesus the past five years has made me hungry to pursue him for a lifetime more. I’m so thankful for God. Above His blessings that come through sunny times and dark times, I’m mostly thankful for Him – to quote the song “He is a good, good Father.”


 

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

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


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It’s Your Season, It’s Your Purpose

iGnite - living with purpose

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with defining or finding your purpose, feel confused about your life, or feel fearful that there isn’t enough time left to do what you want to do?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Since moving to San Diego, my life has drastically changed and taken a 180 degree turn. I do not yet have any friends here, and except for taking Durant and Malaine to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays and tending to my iGnite responsibilities and duties from afar, I don’t have any commitments either. I won’t lie, when talking to the iGnite leaders, family, and friends and occasionally peeking at Facebook and Instagram, I experience bittersweet emotions. It stinks to be on the outside looking in, missing out and not able to take part in what I’ve created in iGnite in Austin. I have also experienced extreme withdrawals from my addictions: the “being busy addiction,” “having places to go addiction,” and the “feeling needed and wanted” addiction. There are times when my ego screams so loud that I find myself taken over with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to busy myself just so I can feel important and accomplished again. Then, finally, it dawned on me that not only was my evil ego in my way, but what I was really struggling with the most was my purpose.

With the help of Martha Lynn Mangum, iGnite member and business coach, reminding me that our society inundates women with the destructive message that if we aren’t working 60 hours a week, involved in a million organizations, committed to regularly volunteering, acting as the home-room mom, and only taking two-weeks of maternity leave, or just tending to our own or our family’s and community’s needs, that we aren’t enough. Pu-lease! Don’t get me wrong, I believe in having a passion and purpose outside of our family, but not at the expense of jeopardizing our marriages, not being a present mom to our children and neglecting our relationships. Looking back, while living in Austin I definitely tip-toed into those zones and was drinking the toxic Kool-Aid. This is my destructive tendency, and I have to consistently check myself to make sure I am being counter-culture.

It has been a very long time since I have wondered about my purpose. While living in Austin, my family, friends and iGnite were absolutely my purpose and they kept my heart pumping fast and hard. Originally, I thought starting iGnite in San Diego would be my first purpose-filled project, but now I’m not so sure about that. For now, I’m declaring that I am on a prayerful, peaceful, intentional purpose-finding mission project. I’ve narrowed my purpose down to:

  1. Learning how to become a fully-attentive, loving and supportive wife to Russell (which is hard to admit because of my strong will, pride and independence)
  2. Appreciating this colorful and unique time I have with our preschool-age children and being a fully attentive and fun mother.
  3. Remotely supporting and leading the iGnite team, the iGnite members and our efforts to iGnite Austin and impact, inspire and empower every woman to live a healthy and purpose-filled life.
  4. Taking the time to get on my knees everyday and pray for myself, my family, my friends, iGnite and anyone I know who is in need of prayers or who I told I would pray for them. While I am a faithful person, embarrassingly my prayer life has been pathetic, and I’m tired of being lip-service only. Please let me know if and how I can pray for you. Seriously!
  5. Becoming involved with our church, The Rock, and serving the San Diego community.

I must confess that while I’m feeling content with my new purpose in San Diego, there is sooooo much I want to do in my life! For example, I want to write a book, I want to be on the speaking circuit and I want to grow iGnite so that women all over the world can iGnite in a positive and inspiring community. I wanna, wanna, wanna! And with that said, I get nervous and afraid that I am going to miss my opportunity, run out of time and miss out. But, thankfully, for the first time in my life, I found a Bible translation that I can actually understand called The Voice, and it’s teaching me about patience. Even though Adam, Pharrell, Gwen and Blake aren’t quoted in it, I have learned so much! One of the things that has been glaring is how late in life God uses people. Of course he uses children, like when He used David to defeat Goliath when David was only a teenager, but for example, Noah, Abraham, Sarai (Abraham’s wife) were waaaay past their “prime,” or what we today consider our “prime.” Granted, people back then lived longer, but by human standards, they were still considered old, and they fulfilled God’s purpose for them much later in life.

I recently watched a special on television called Try, Try Again where John Stossell chronicled the lives of great inventors and authors who not only failed before having success, but were also “past their prime” before having any success and fulfilling their purpose. Just to name a couple: Julia Child was 50 before writing her first cookbook, and Harland Sanders (a.k.a Colonel Sanders) franchised his first Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 62.

All in all, I write this journal not to go off about my personal purpose journey, but rather to encourage anyone who is struggling with defining or finding their purpose, feeling confused about their life, or fearful that there isn’t enough time. For sure we all sometimes feel a sense of urgency because we aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but fear cannot be the reason why we do or don’t take action. Instead, remember that there is a season in life for everything and that our purpose can evolve, morph and even change. Sometimes we’re in a season of action, and other times we’re in a season of self-reflection, contemplation and quiet. Regardless of the season you find yourself in now, when you weave in prayer and intention, you will without a doubt be led down the right path and your fruit will be ripe.

Action Item:
Remember there is a season in life for everything and that your purpose can evolve, morph and change over time. Approach your season of life with prayer and intention.

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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

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Point to Ponder:
Are you a fearful person?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

I’ve always been of the mindset that children have it figured out. It stinks that we have to grow up and often times become jaded, cynical, insecure and obsess over our perceived pudgy legs and numbers on a scale. Children don’t worry about how many steps they take in a day or how many hours they spend exercising. Instead, they simply play — run, jump, spin and dance. They ride their bikes for hours, climb on the monkey bars and enjoy a high-calorie treat without feeling guilt. They stop eating when they are full, don’t talk about others, and without fear or doubt of what others think, they proudly proclaim what they want to be when they grow up, just as my five-year old nephew Cole did at his pre-school graduation when he announced that when he grew up he wanted to own a doughnut shop. Awesome!

Last week while finishing a hike and walking along the beach, I noticed a man, probably in his forties, standing alone in shin-deep water and jumping over every wave that came his way. Like a six year-old would do, each time a wave rolled in, he’d hop over it! It was the most playful, inspiring and refreshing sight. I watched him for several minutes and it was a great reminder that nature gives us everything we need to calm, invigorate and feed our body, mind and spirit. And what I loved so much about this guy was that while he was playing, he wasn’t worried or fearful about what those of us around him thought. In my opinion, the enormity and magnificence of the Pacific Ocean made his fears of what others might think insignificant, while also putting troubles and life stressors in perspective. At least that is what nature does for me. It swallows my doubt and fear and allows me to shine!

Robin Roberts, the always shining and inspiring co-anchor of Good Morning America, has a great line about doubt and fear in her book Everybody’s Got Something. She says:

“We all have doubts and fears. The thing about fear is that it only needs the tiniest space, the size of an eye of a needle, to get through and wreak havoc. Maddening, but true. So, when I was struggling in doubt, I would simply take the next small step. I would stop and think: No, life is not tied up with a beautiful bow all the time, but it’s still a gift. I’m going to tear away the wrapping paper like a kid at Christmas.”

What I love so much about Robin’s wisdom is that instead of running from her fear and doubt or dreading it, she sees it as a gift and looks forward to tearing into it to see what it is, just as a child would and just as Kayla Montgomery, the eighteen year old in the video below, who, despite being diagnosed with Multiple Sclorosis and losing feeling in her legs when she runs and when her body heats up, was determined to not only run, but win! It’s their child-like perspective that has kept them curious, eager and willing to conquer their fear, doubt, and SHINE! What a great example for all of us!

Action Item:
This week, try facing situations with the fearlessness, playfulness and confidence of a child.

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