Tag Archives: Perseverance

Via Ferrata

sept11_2016

Point to Ponder:
What’s your Via Ferrata?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As referenced in last week’s journal, our iGnite Escape’s are always filled with unexpected, laughable and ample ah-ha moments. In addition to meeting the Rubyz, the memory that made the greatest impact during this summer’s escape to Banff, Canada was on our 6-hour, Via Ferrata climb on Mt. Norquay–7000 feet up!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Via Ferrata, you are not alone. Prior to planning our trip I was also unaware. Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron way” and is a mountain route equipped with steel cables, ladders, other fixed anchors and suspension bridges. Having rock climbed before, I didn’t feel it was as physically challenging, however while the views were spectacular, six hours of reaching, climbing, scaling, and repelling at 7000 feet high is no easy feat. In fact, at times it was so physically, mentally and emotionally daunting that many of us agreed that we were tired of feeling scared and several of us wanted to stop; however, that is when the experience became the most rich and rewarding.

As the fear and fatigue escalated, Kim, one of our guides stepped in. Gentle yet firm, she reminded us that taking long deep breaths was essential, as deep abdominal breathing allows for full oxygen exchange that lowers heart rate, stabilizes blood pressure and calms our mind. And, having practiced the deep breathing throughout our adventure, I can confirm that it does quiet the body and mind.

Next, and while this sounds ridiculously simple, she encouraged us to eat, stay hydrated and take pit stops as often as we needed. Here’s why: Snacking and keeping our blood sugar at normal levels helps reduce anxiety and increases concentration. Staying hydrated helps us stay focused and decreases brain fog, and while we climbed (it got much more difficult before it got easier), staying focused was essential. And, allowing ourselves to urinate (rather than holding it) truly caused a sense of relief and Kim needed us to be as comfortable on the mountain, because not only would that allow us to stay focused on the tasks at hand, it would keep us safe.

Kim’s final wisdom nugget that left the greatest impression on our experience was when she reminded us that whether or not we quit or kept going, a “feel good” chemical response in our bodies would occur. In the event we were to quit, we would feel safe, relieved and out of danger, therefore our body would release serotonin. On the flip side, if we finished what we started, we would experience an endorphin rush and feel a true sense of euphoria. Kim’s point was that either way, both of these responses feel good and when the next similar opportunity were to present itself, we would more than likely choose the same path. In other words, as a result of stopping before we accomplished our goals or finished what we set out to achieve, life patterns are created. To Kim’s point, this is why she was respectfully relentless and would not let us quit. She knew that if we continued to persevere, work through our fears, fatigue and even anger, the result would be empowerment and excitement, which is most certainly what we all experienced. When it was all said and done and we were celebrating over beer and wine, we unanimously agreed that we were thankful we didn’t quit and completed the climb, and as we learned in this summer’s journal Be a Novel, Keep Moving and Stay Young, many of us agreed that climbing the Via Ferrata significantly reduced our risk of Alzheimers disease and increased our neuroplasticity.

So, what’s your Via Ferrata? Is there a “thing” in your life that you are avoiding starting or finishing due to fear? If there is, I encourage you to start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing, as well as a good endorphin surge. Then, add on. Trying an iGnite class you’ve never taken is the perfect place to start, as is participating in our 12-Day Body Re-Boot that begins this upcoming Saturday.

All in all, fear is normal and without it, we’d be robots. However, what’s vital is our willingness to be a beginner and embrace challenges so that time and time again, courage can step in and we can experience life at its best.


Action Item:
Make the choice to be a beginner and embrace challenges. Start by accomplishing smaller, attainable tasks, chores or goals that give you the satisfaction of finishing as well as a good endorphin surge.


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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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It’s Never Too Late

The Wisdom Share Continued
Living in Community, Part III

Embrace change

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself thinking it’s ‘too late’ to make something happen in your life?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

While in the middle of our wisdom sharing, a dear friend of mine from out of town sent me an inspiring story about a 91 year-old women by the name of Barbara Beskind who is working her dream job in Silicon Valley. Yep, you read it correctly. She is working her dream job at 91 years old. Pretty amazing, right?!

Upon reading Barbara’s story, I had just spoken to a small group of business students and told them that as an entrepreneur I have yet to arrive, which is very frustrating because¬†I really want to arrive! I realize that this is just life and me always wanting to be better and “get it right,” but Barbara’s words were timely and reminded me to¬†never lose¬†hope,¬†dream big, always¬†persevere¬†and that there is continual purpose and meaning behind everything that happens in our lives. ¬†Barbara said this:¬†“I arrived! As a ten year-old I wanted to be an inventor, but it took me 80 years.”

Scott Stump’s article about Barbara is bursting with her spry and sharp wisdom resulting from having grown up during the depression. Here, a few of Barbara’s pieces of advice I enjoyed most:

  1. Get Rid of Your Devices:¬†“I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world. I’m as wealthy as Warren Buffett because¬†I measure my wealth by having uninterrupted¬†time. I have no cell phone except one to use for emergency. I have no laptop. I have no smartphone, no iPod, because I can’t see them. I have uninterrupted time to think.”
  2. Expect the unexpected: “I think the beauty of being 91 is that you can look back and see how the little pieces fit into the big pieces of life, and life is a complete puzzle. Only when you get to be this age can you see it, and that’s the joy and the excitement of it.”
  3. Don’t let age get in your way: “Age is not a barrier to performance.¬†Live life as an adventure, and¬†expect change¬†and endorse it, embrace it. Because as you age, every day you will be making changes. You will be adapting to changes in the way you have to do things whether they’re physical or they’re visual.
  4. Don’t let “old” become your identity: “Everybody has untapped resources. You just have to find them.¬†They may be in music, they may be in childcare, they may be in volunteering at the hospital or at the library. I think with the aging, you so often lose your identity, and I think this is what¬†IDEO¬†gives to me, the opportunity to explore what my identity is.”

Here’s to an awesome Spring Break, living in community, sharing your life experiences &¬†wisdom and enjoying¬†this rich video¬†about Barbara!

VideoOnToday

Action Item:
Embrace your life as an adventure, open to the idea that things you thought you’ll never get to do or become, are still a possibility.

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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 ¬Ĺ years ago, I retired from a career at Hillcrest Hospital.

 

I’m inspired by‚Ķ¬†Daddy and Mother.¬† I regret I didn‚Äôt 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‚Ķ¬†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 ‚Äúbubble.‚Ä̬†¬† We raised chickens as part of the family income — the most chickens we raised at one time was 1,400!‚Ķand no, that isn‚Äôt a typo.¬† We had our after-school and summertime chores of gathering, washing, grading and cartoning the eggs.

When my brother and I got ‚Äúolder‚ÄĚ (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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äúsupper.‚Ä̬† We never sat down to eat until at least 8:00 pm, and we ate as a family. After eating was our ‚Äúvisiting time,‚Ä̬† 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‚Ķ.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‚Äôs basketball and football games were Friday night, Neissa‚Äôs 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‚Ķ 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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