Tag Archives: perspective

Celebrate By Saying Yes to You!

oct9_2016

Point to Ponder:
What self-care or passion action have been putting off? And, what friend/s can you invite to iGnite who have been unable to make themselves a priority, lately?

iGnite Neissa

By Neissa Brown Springmann

Around our house the word “work” comes up a lot. Durant (5) and Malaine (3) often asked why both my husband, Russell, and I work. We continue to give them the same answers: 1). We work so we can have food, water, clothes, a house, a car, t.v., toys, etc. etc. etc. 2). We like to work! Fortunately, our work is our passion. Going to work is fun for us and because we love what we do, we feel like our jobs allow us to use the gifts that God has given us.

Then, as it came up again this morning, under my breath I jokingly (but seriously) told Russell that work gives us a break from them which is what keeps us sane and them safe. In all seriousness, and as it relates to the quote above, I love what I do and am fed by iGnite. When I am able to spend concentrated time living my passion I am a much more patient, fun and happy person. This “me-time” allows me to give the best of me to everyone. It nurtures my mind and spirit.

In terms of the body, I think every woman would agree that any amount of time we are able to move our bodies and exercise, our whole world changes. Our confidence, perspective, outlook and mindset completely shifts. It’s a game changer!

For both men and women, taking good care of you is critical, however for women, I find this to be especially challenging because we innately put everyone and everything first and in front of our own needs and wants. We are nurturers by nature and between the changing life seasons, life stressors, and the ongoing needs of family and friends, our health is always the first thing to become compromised. Then, following a derailed healthy routine comes guilt and shame from getting off track, which makes starting again feel daunting and even impossible.

I can speak to this gender-specific phenomenon because for the past sixteen years in which I have worked with women in the health and fitness field, when a woman I know gets off of her exercise routine and she sees me, she shames herself and apologizes. She often tells me how “bad” she’s been and how “fat” she’s gotten, at which I always tell her that life happens, timing is everything and as it relates to her attending iGnite, iGnite will always be there so when the time is right for her to iGnite again, we will be there for her and would love to see her.

The longer I live the more I am learning that we are all doing the best we can, and while I wish I could say that making and keeping our personal health and passions a primary focus is a cinch, it’s not. In addition, the demands on women are only increasing and we are wearing more hats than ever. This is why having an encouraging, uplifting and loving tribe is critical. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a tribe of like-minded women to help us stay committed to taking care of ourselves: physically, mentally and spiritually.

“Taking good care of you means that the people in your life get the best of you rather than the rest of you” is the basis on which I founded iGnite ten years ago, and as we continue to celebrate our birthday month, I encourage you to keep saying “yes” to you! Keep iGniting (even if all you can fit in is once this week), choose a self-care action and/or passion project that you have been putting off. Then, because it’s our birthday month and therefore ‘bring friends for free”, grab a friend/s who have been unable to make themselves a priority and bring them to class with you so we can encourage them, lift them up and love on them, together.


Action Item:
Keep iGniting and choose one self-care action or passion project that you have been putting off and say “yes” to it. Then, because it’s our birthday month and therefore ‘bring friends for free”, grab a friend/s who have been unable to make themselves a priority and bring them to class with you so we can encourage, lift up and love on them, together.


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Member Spotlight: Martha Lynn Mangum

Roots:
I grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas and moved to Austin in 1986 to attend UT. I’ve lived here since with the exception of a few years in Dallas.

Basic Family Stats:
I’m married to Greg Mangum. I have two kids, Jackson, who is a sophomore at Texas Tech, and Madelynn, who is a Junior at Westlake. I also have two step-sons, Mark (recently graduated from TCU–woohoo!) and Kyle who is at Blinn College Station.

Current/Previous Occupation:
I am a business coach, and I’ve been working with Momentum Consulting since 2003.

iGnite - Martha Lynn MangumBiggest lesson learned through iGnite experience:
The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience is that everyone has an amazing life story. iGnite has provided me with a great reminder to deepen and open up my perspectives and be curious.

Best advice given and from who:
The best advice I’ve been given and continue to work on daily is from my 20 year old son, Jackson. He is one of my best teachers and reminds me to LISTEN before I judge, respond or react.

I am looking forward to:
I am learning that all we have to do here on planet Earth is to love and be loved. I’m looking forward to practicing this everyday with all the challenges, ups and downs I encounter. So far, it’s a lot easier said than done, and I’m playing the game!

If I were a pair of shoes, I would be:
My fluffy UGG slippers! They are cozy, warm and comfy and bring me joy! (I am more of a barefoot gal though.)

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It’s Not What You Endure, It’s How You Endure It

 

iGnite - unshakeable faithiGnite Members Christie Skinner (left) and Kerrie Pennington (right) at Christie’s home while the iGnite Community helped her sort through her salvaged items on Sunday.

“Forget what you can’t control and focus on what you can control: your attitude, your faith, and your perspective. Choose to make the best of every situation that comes your way.”
(Anonymous)

Point to Ponder:
How do you tend to react when faced with personal loss or tragedy?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As our iGnite community received word of via email this weekend, on Tuesday iGnite member Christie Skinner’s home burned. Upon learning the news, I sent Christie a text extending my sympathy, care and prayers. Honestly, I was nervous to reach out because I feared my text would be burdomsome. But, I tried putting myself in her shoes and I knew that I would appreciate friends reaching out. I didn’t expect or need a response, though what I received just minutes later blew my mind. Here is our exchange:

Neissa: “Hello Christie, Kathleen let me know about your home and I want you to know how very sorry I am. I am so thankful you all are okay. Please know that Russell and I are praying for you all and will continue to pray for you throughout the recovery process. Know that you are loved and being thought of.”

Christie: “Thanks!! It’s pretty sad but it’s just stuff!! And amazingly we are in the process of buying a little condo on Lake Austin so God’s timing is really good!!”

Neissa: “Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

Christie: “You can bring me a Diet Coke on ice anytime you happen to be around.”

My initial reaction was, “Really? Did I read that correctly? How is it possible for someone to have lost so much yet have such tremendous perspective? And, she’s only asked for a Diet Coke? I can do that!”

I was briefly able to stop by Christie’s home today, Sunday, while our iGnite community helped her sort through her items. I’ve always thought that if a big project or job needs to get accomplished, the quick solution is a group of committed women. Indeed the job was getting done, and Christie’s spirit was contagious. She was positive, smiled and did what she needed to do. The entire sight was inspiring, like Christie’s faith and attitude.

I am always amazed by the events, circumstances and losses that the human spirit is able to endure. Most everyone faces some type of tragedy or difficult circumstances in their life, though what distinguishes one person from the other is not what they endure but how they endure it. The way I see it is we have choices: we can either (1) endure alone, without faith, think that life is out to get us, God is trying to punish us, give up and have a bad attitude — or, we can (2) let go of our pride, let others know how they can help us (even if it’s simply a Diet Coke on ice!), pray for unshakable faith, ask for others who have unshakeable faith to pray for us and trust in the plans that God has for us: a plan to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

While we all will not experience the tragedy of a burned home, we all will experience loss in our lives. It is for this that having an unshakable faith, never underestimating the power of prayer, surrounding ourselves with a community of people who also have unshakeable faith, and trusting in the promise of a future is crucial. There’s no doubt that life is going to shake us over and over again, but it doesn’t have to break us. Thank you, Christie for showing us this!

Action Item:
Contemplate Christie’s response to the events of the past week and be inspired by her unshakable faith and ability to accept help in such difficult circumstances.

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Approach Your Fears with Child Like Perspective

iGnite - keep focused

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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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 🙂 ] 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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NOW

iGnite-journalPoint to Ponder:

Do you ever feel like the time or the day gets away from you because your mind is so hectic?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Have you ever driven somewhere and been so preoccupied thinking that you had no recollection of the time or things you passed?  It’s the sensation that someone picked up your car and placed it ten, fifteen, or twenty miles up the road.  It’s as if that particular block of time never even occurred. I wish I could say I’ve only heard about this happening to other people, but unfortunately, I’m guilty.  When it dawns on me that I completely spaced out while driving a large moving vehicle, it’s downright frightening.

Unfortunately, I think it’s impossible to live only in the present moment, be entirely mindful and go through life without ever being preoccupied, but I do think it’s possible to become more aware of how often we are mentally, physically, or emotionally chasing a rabbit down a dark and narrow hole that prevents us from experiencing the beauty, magic and miracle of each day.

As I am preparing to move to San Diego around the end of summer, one of the intentions I have set for myself is to try like heck to be mindful, present and live in the moment.  Before our move to San Diego was solidified and moving was a likely probability, my mind would race in a million different directions. Random questions that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to have immediate answers to would pop in to my head.  The idea that I would be responsible for creating a new life for my family, finding schools, making friends, expanding iGnite, etc. etc. etc totally overwhelmed me to the point that I would feel physical stress take over my whole body. I would get angry.  This chosen behavior was nothing short of torture.  It completely sabotaged any joy or happiness I was feeling and caused absolute paralysis — leading to zero productivity. So, I stopped. It was a waste of my time and energy and was in fact taking away from my family, friends, iGnite, my health… my life!

I’ve realized that the antidote to freaking out and having a miserable and frantic day is a non-urgent mindset.  I remind myself that everything that needs to get done will get done, and I will not let the magnitude of what lies ahead consume me. I keep a good calendar of what I need to do, combined with a list of things I want to do, because it can’t be all work, right?  Each day I do what I can do and relinquish the rest to tomorrow.  After all, (I continue to remind myself of this), what I am dealing with is a first-world issue.  It is not a problem, a.k.a. a sick child, a dying family member, a husband at war, a foreclosed house, no food on the table, no clothes on our back, an earthquake, or a tornado.  The list of real concerns and problems is endless. What I’m dealing with is just a move, and I mean that sincerely.  It’s just a move and all will happen as it is supposed to.  Worry and being preoccupied will only take away from the enjoyment of everything that I love and the things that matter most: people and my relationships.

As for how living in the moment pertains to anyone who is not moving, it’s May, and May is the “month of nutso.”  Regardless of how old your children are or if you even have children or grandchildren, the school year dominates a certain segment of our culture, and because energy is transferable, when the end of school crazies set in, the semi-chaotic energy can be felt by everyone.  If not the end of school, maybe it’s work, family, a project or life in general that has you preoccupied, distracted and is preventing you from being fully present and living for the moment.  I get that!  Life can happen like this, a lot, but being aware is the first step.  The second step is avoiding the victim mentality by taking responsibility, and the third step is taking action to stop the bleeding. 

For me, once I become aware, the actions are prayer, deep breathing (preferably in the fresh outdoor air), and a notepad or calendar to get what’s distracting me and occupying too much mental and emotional space out of my head onto paper.  According to an awesome Huffington Post article 13 Things Mindful People Do Differently Every Day, other ways to be mindful and live in the moment are: taking walks, being creative, paying attention to your breathing, uni-task (don’t multitask), knowing when to check your phone, find new experiences, enjoy mother nature, allow yourself to feel what you are feeling, meditate or pray, be conscious of what you put in your mind and body, have a great sense of humor, and let your mind wander.

I realize this is cliche, but life really is too short to be constantly preoccupied, worried or busy with “the list.”  Just as the quote above says, I’m learning that I’ll never get it all done, and the less force I apply when trying to get it all done, the more quickly it gets done and the happier I am.  It’s the idea of applying ease to the effort, and letting the ease lead the way.

All in all, becoming aware and having perspective so we can live in the moment and enjoy life’s blessings more often is certainly a goal that can be accomplished.   Even though the month of crazy is upon us and our lives in general feel hectic, it’s a good time to take mother nature’s lead and allow the springtime showers to slow and relax our minds, and know that our time is NOW!  Or in the wise words of Erma Bombeck “Seize the moment!  Remember all of those women on the Titanic who waived off the dessert tray!” HA!

Action Item:

Make an honest effort this week to be more mindful and present in the moment.

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It’s ALL About Perspective: Changing the “Have To”s to “Get To”s

Point to Ponder:
How often do you hear yourself negatively say that you “have to” do something?

Action Item:
Eliminate the “have to” and replace it with “get to.” Perspective is everything.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Have you ever been so sick with the flu or a stomach bug that all you can think of is how AWFUL it would be to stay sick? Or, while in the midst of being sick, actually thought you’d NEVER get better? Furthermore, have you ever noticed that after being sick or injured, or even after experiencing something sad, unfortunate or inspirational, that your level of gratitude and motivation to try new things and to live a fulfilling, fearless and joyful life is heightened? Personally, my answer to all of these questions is YES. It often takes me getting sick, injured or seeing something sad or inspirational to be reminded of how great my life really is and all of the incredible things I get to do everyday.

I’m not exactly sure why it takes an injury, being sick, or experiencing something sad or inspirational for us to be reminded of how blessed we are to get to live everyday. I suppose it’s one of those “human things,” but what’s most important is that more often than not we view our life and our day-to-day activities — work, going to the grocery store, seeing friends, taking kids from point A to point B, exercise — as things we GET to do versus things we HAVE to do.

Of course, if we want to earn money, have food in the house, be involved in our friends’/significiant other’s/children’s lives and stay healthy and fit, it’s necessary that we take part in these activities. But positive perspective, attitudes, and phrases such as “I get to” attract dynamic relationships, radiant energy and exciting opportunities — while negative attitudes and words attract bleak relationships, stagnant energy and very few new opportunities. Something as simple as saying and viewing your daily to-dos as things you “get to do” vs. things you “have to do” can and will change the way you view life as well as the way life views you.

In this week’s video, Patrick Henry Hughes explains what all life has given him. You’re bound to be inspired as perspective and attitude are everything! I’m eager to see and hear what life gifts you get this week!


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