Tag Archives: priorities

Embrace “The Juggle”

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

iGnite - The Juggle

As the summer is coming to an end and the shift to back to school and more activity is happening, we are embracing The Juggle.  Our inspiration is from a blog post from a few years back. We encourage you to read it again and determine your priorities and goals, set some realistic expectations and practice patience in the moments when it’s not all going according to plan.

You May Also Like:


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.

You May Also Like:

Real Women, Real Stories | Patti Rogers: Living a Life that Matters

 Patti Rogers | Catherine Sanderson Photography~ The Basics ~

Roots:  I was born in Chicago, but my family moved to Austin when I was four. Coming from MidWest Irish Catholic roots, I remember feeling totally unsure about what living in Texas would be like… I was ready to give up Irish dancing for tumble weeds and cowboys. But we didn’t actually move to Texas… we moved to Austin, so that stereotype was not a reality.  Instead, we lived in a city that was more about creative expression, fitness, and eating healthy. The original Whole Foods was a tiny little place at 10th and Lamar and it was a daily destination for me and my friends. Those were the days when there was not a fight for a parking space, just a smile knowing you were going to saddle up to the best salad in town. I especially loved the organic peanut butter bins. So original and authentic for the time. And while I expected that living in Texas would mean I would become some kind of rodeo star, luckily, I fell into athletics. I graduated from summer league swimming to year-round swimming at the age of seven. And by chance fell into one of the most elite programs in the country, Longhorn Aquatics which was the club program associated with UT. It was a serious and rigorous program and a 2x/day commitment that transformed my life. It taught me many things:

  • Hard work is the secret to success. There is no substitute for it. Yes, people have good genes, but the people who have good work ethic are the ones who really win. Inside and out.
  • The power and the importance of self-talk. Our thoughts become our words, our words become our reality. So be intentional about what you think and say.
  • You can always go farther than you think. So do.
  • It’s not really a race about you and the person next to you. It’s a race with yourself to be the best of yourself, and achieving what is important to you.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to compete as a Division 1 athlete at the University of Hawaii. Which was a whole other culture-shock discussion we will save for another interview. 🙂 I stayed at Hawaii for one year and graduated from UT at Austin. After graduation I lived in D.C. and LA and worked as a graphic designer and marketing executive. I moved back to Austin in 1994 to start my own business and believe it or not reunited with my high school sweetheart. And we married a year later. Crazy!!

We have lived in Austin ever since. Lots of amazing growth over the last 20 years for us personally, as a family, and as a city too (wow, that makes me sound so old…).

Family life:  
Growing up, my parents were incredibly hard working — both from super humble midwest backgrounds. My dad’s dad drove a cable car in Chicago and his mom taught dance in their basement. And my mom’s dad ran a hardware store in Iowa, and her mom managed the house of four kids during hard times of the depression and world wars. Both my parents knew the power of showing up. They did not put words to the idea of service, they simply served. They always made time for their friends and organizations that needed them. Whether it was their church’s capital campaign, or the YMCA’s board, or their neighbors who were in transition, they always raised their hand. They, above all others, have inspired who I am today.

Both of my parents were entrepreneurs. They started things. In work. Outside of work. At church. At the pool. At home. And by the way, they probably never thought of themselves as entrepreneurs. They just were.

That was definitely passed down to me and my three sisters. All of them creative, hard working entrepreneurs who know the power of showing up. My parents amplified our potential, and I can only hope and pray that I can model the same inspiration for my kids.

I’m also married to an entrepreneur who I absolutely adore and admire. Watching my husband Michael grow his business from a blank piece of paper to being the number one Mac Game publisher in the world for almost a decade now, has been so inspiring. I feel so blessed to be married to a believer. Not just a believer in God but, but a believer in the power of faith. And a believer in the power of activating that faith with your voice and your heart everyday (which takes discipline by the way). It can and does move mountains. We all can be more and do more than we think we can when we practice declaring our vision, our gratitude and our dreams.

Work:  I’m currently founder and CEO of Rallyhood, a community collaboration platform that transforms how people come together with purpose. I founded the company after my personal journey through breast cancer. I witnessed the power of community in action and was changed forever by the extraordinary kindness and love in my life — but also witnessed the frustration of trying to organize a group when the tools are fragmented and hard to use. When I got well, I got inspired to build a new kind of platform to make it easy to come together with purpose—around a person, event or any common cause—in all segments of our lives.

We launched the platform in Fall of 2012 and today Rallyhood is the only platform that enables the social and mobile experience across an organization’s user groups, creating authentic engagement and meaningful daily value. Rallyhood, whose manifesto is “Do Good Today” now empowers more than 12,000 communities and provides solutions for organizations like The LIVESTRONG Foundation, Seton Healthcare, Susan G. Komen, Girl Scouts, Leukemia Lymphoma Society – Team in Training, and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation.

Rallyhood believes in the positive ripple effect of community. By empowering purpose-driven groups to be more effective, everyone wins. When things are well organized, we can do more together, and have more free time to enjoy the people and the moments that matter most.

Patti Rogers | Catherine Sanderson Photography~ My Story ~

On March 17th, while many of our friends were away on ski vacations and sunny outings for spring break, my heroic husband Michael and I headed into round 4 of chemo for breast cancer at ‘chemo palace.’ This is my term of endearment for the chemo room, which on a good day is as bizarre as Vegas—seriously bad lighting and insane people watching. While it was not exactly a dream vacation, I was thrilled to score a good chair next to the window so I could take in the blue sky and pretend I was in Hawaii. I normally scope out the room and try to choose a chair without a lot of people around, so when my reliable and loving posse shows up with their proverbial boom box and picnic basket, we don’t derail anyone’s luck at black-jack or sour their cocktail.

Even though there was a lady directly across from this particular chair, I seized the opportunity to settle in at the window position. Trying to mind my own business, I avoided eye contact, but I couldn’t help but notice her sassy grey haircut and her bright spring-colored outfit that was as uplifting as my window view. As I went through a series of comfort rituals—leaning the chair back to just the right position, tucking my cozy blanket around my legs, setting out my touchstones of faith on the table next to me—I closed my eyes to pray for courage to remember the value of the day. This day, every day, is a gift.

When I opened my eyes, I caught the beautiful, angelic gaze of the woman across from me. Suddenly, all of the Vegas surroundings dimmed to grey and all I could see was her face. It was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Clark. We both flew to our feet and into a hug that seemed to last a delicious forever. I held on so tight to her tiny frame while giant tears ran effortlessly down my face. At 82, she was just as bright and loving as I remember her 30 something years before. After the tears, we shared stories and jokes about how chemo had upset her golf game and how we should get together to sample bald-head balm. My cocktail waitress in scrubs hovered with an IV and a bag of saline, so Mrs. Clark and I said our goodbyes. She put her petite hands on my face and looked me in the eyes, “Do good today,” she said.

I did my best to keep from weeping until she left the room. The simultaneous weight and levity of these words washed over me like a second baptism. I remember hearing her say this very same thing when I was nine, when I thought doing “good” meant sitting still or listening well in class and my “today” was something all together different. But here I was, in the middle of chemo palace, I realized that what she meant then was what she meant today: “Open your heart and be the very best of yourself – today. Do something that matters – today. Make it count – today. It is the only today you will ever have.”

I was suddenly reminded of the words from a Native American song I had stumbled across a few days before: “You, whose today it is, get out your rainbow colors and make it beautiful.”

I made a promise to Mrs. Clark in my heart, I would make this journey count… I would find a way to pay forward the kindness that carried me through and I would live to that beat… to that promise…. to do good today!

~ For Fun ~

Patti Rogers | Catherine Sanderson PhotographyFavorite quote:  “It’s not about where you have been, it’s about where you are going.”

Who inspires me most:  
My husband. He is an incredibly successful business person who loves his family and prioritizes his time to never miss a game, an event, a moment to be with his children and me. He doesn’t choose the extra night in San Francisco over his son’s football game, ever. Even when it was flag, even when it was peewee. He never wanted to miss the moments that built the memories of life. He never would choose a dinner with clients over watching my daughter sing in her choir. He knows what matters to him and what doesn’t. He lives with intention… every day. He never lets false obligations keep him from prioritizing the people and the moments that he cares about most. He is also constantly reading and trying to grow and get better in all facets of his life. And he is so sincere and generous with his words. He dishes them out like party cake to all of us, while singing or dancing some embarrassing jig. Which inspires me even more.

Best advice I’ve been given:  It sounds strange, but the best advice I have been given came from cancer. It taught me that there are no days to waste, so we have to choose carefully about how we invest our time. Busy isn’t the same as full. If we believe in ROI in business, then we must believe the same theory applies in life.

While he never said it to me personally, I love the Steve Jobs quote, “Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things. And ‘yes’ to only one.”   He once told the CEO at Nike, “Nike makes some of the best products in the world. Products that you lust after. But you also make a lot of crap. Just get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.”  It’s the same thing for our lives. Our calendars. We need to get rid of the crappy stuff and focus on the good stuff.

Something people may not know about me:  My happiest moments are not…definitely not…about reading Facebook posts. They are drawing with my daughter. I love to draw. I draw, and she colors. She is extraordinary with color and sees things I don’t see, which I love. Such a simple activity but my most favorite and I think it is the time we are most connected.

If I wasn’t CEO of Rallyhood, I would… Hmm. I would be trying to complete a book; commit to doing art once a day until I had a worthy collection of art, words, or photography. Or…I would start a different tech company. I think the future of software hinges on everyday insights of everyday problems and will be solved by everyday people as oppose to people who have a theory about what people need.

I’m looking forward to…  my son’s football game this week and his musical in March. My daughter’s reading at church on Sunday. Her volleyball game this saturday. And her learning to speak loud and proud!! Thanksgiving at my house with my mom and sisters and their families and kids. And if there is a skit that night I would not be disappointed. Our next summer vacay which we adore. Beach house in Florida where we make sand castles and ridiculous human pyramids at sunset. More times to love and celebrate my family.

When I’m not working I’m… Celebrating every second with my kids and my husband and the friends who truly lift me up.

I collect… Stories and insights about how life is good and how divinity works in our life.

My guilty pleasure:  Wine, chocolate and spa treatments.

My perfect day would be …  Early workout at the gym from 6-7. Green juice. My son singing over his breakfast. My daughter laughing at our sweet dog Sadie. Driving them both to school. Working to build a company that is focused on helping people’s everyday life be easier, with less communication clutter so they can have more time to engage in the people, groups, and moments that matter most. Recounting the day with my husband as we stare up at a huge texas sky full of stars, tearing up about our blessings. And oh…maybe a little wine and chocolate. 🙂

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

 In light of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we encourage you to visit the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer resource page to learn more, donate, and get involved.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

iGnite 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

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

You Might Also Like:

Holidays Are About People, Not Perfection


Clark Griswold’s Christmas light “masterpiece”

“The greatest gift you can give others is your best you — your healthiest you.”
– Joseph J. Sweere

Point to Ponder:
Will all of my excessive spending on gifts, decorations, food, and holiday hustle and bustle add JOY, VALUE and IMPORTANT MEMORIES to my relationships?  Or will it stress me out, make me crazy and possibly even sick?

Action Item:
Use your personal health and well-being as a filter for choosing whether you take on excessive tasks, events and spending this holiday season. If you use your filter well, better relationships and more joy will no doubt follow!

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s likely you’ve seen the classic holiday movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo and Randy Quaid. It’s also likely that while you may not be as extreme as Clark Griswold, your expectations for creating the “perfect” holiday dinner, party or house, and finding the “perfect” gifts, decorations, tree and so on is fairly high. How do I know? Because despite personally setting an intention to focus on family, friends and faith each year, I still without fail become the ultimate consumer and drive myself (and my family) completely crazy trying to recreate images from Martha Stewart, Pottery Barn and now Pinterest. I dive headfirst into a tailspin of unnecessary, impractical and counterproductive tasks, and my goals subconsciously shift from people to perfection.  As the pendulum swings, the result is always poor nutrition, dehydration, sleep deprivation, a decrease in exercise, an increase in crankiness, stress, and then sickness (in that exact order) — everything I want to avoid!

Here are the simplified facts about how this physiological cycle works:

  1. When we strive for perfection, our bodies, minds and spirits become stressed by the never-ending, unsatisfying and exhausting process.
  2. When we are stressed, we typically don’t get enough sleep, which causes our bodies to naturally crave high carbohydrate foods (sweets, breads, alcohol, sugary drinks, etc).
  3. This high carbohydrate diet then leads to low energy and difficulty in burning off all of the extra calories. Therefore, the excess sugar that is not burned turns to fat, resulting in weight gain around the belly.
  4. This visceral belly fat is not only depressing and a downer (further adding to the vicious cycle), but it also increases the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes and a wide variety of preventable illnesses and mood swings.

To avoid this process, we’ve got to stop being short-sighted and start seeing the big picture for what it really is.  If we are sincere in our belief that the holidays (and life in general) are really about people and not perfection, then we should begin making our health a top priority, because when we don’t take care of ourselves, we hurt our relationships. The stress that we unnecessarily create for ourselves causes illness and disease, restricting our quality of life and ultimately damaging our relationships.

I know I am not the only person who begins each holiday season with the plan to make it more about people and less about stuff. I’d also like to think that I am the only one who suffers from the seasonal diagnosis of “perfectionists,” however a recent Forbes study shows that I am certainly not alone, finding that the average American spends an additional $1,697 during the month of December! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Gifts: $849.50
  • Tree: $41.50
  • Cards: $32.43
  • Flora/Wreaths/Garland: $22.61
  • Food: $500.00
  • Alcohol, Wine, Spirits: $200.00
  • Decorations: $51.43

I don’t think I’m stretching to say that most of those additional expenses are going toward achieving some sort of holiday “perfection.”  So, after reviewing those extremely generous numbers and comparing them to your typical holiday spending habits, give yourself what I’d like to call a “Joy Test” by asking yourself this question:

Will all of my excessive spending on gifts, decorations, food, and holiday hustle and bustle this year add JOY, VALUE and IMPORTANT MEMORIES to my relationships? Or will it stress me out, make me crazy and possibly even sick?

Bottom line, if we allow our priorities to shift from people to perfection, our lives will become out of balance and unhealthy. Let’s stop this cycle! As we begin this holiday season and prepare for our 2014 goals, let’s make people our focus rather than perfection, and keep the gift-giving simple by giving our healthiest and best self to those around us. I have no doubt that if we succeed in that, this holiday season will be our most joy-filled, meaningful and memorable one yet.


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

Where do the relationships in my life rank in my priority list?

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. 


The Magical Bank Account

“Yesterday is a cancelled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.”
– Kay Lyons

Point to Ponder:
Do you see your time each day as valuable?
Action Item:
Make every second of your day count by filling it with all things life-giving and worthwhile.

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

I assume that daily you come into contact with the same brain, posture and time sucking machine as I do. If you don’t encounter this phenomenon, I’d like to talk to you and know how in the world you keep the internet and your email from literally gluing your rear-end to the chair and making you feel like you need EVERYTHING that’s new or on sale at every store in town!

Emails and the internet can certainly be overwhelming, however more often than not I am extremely thankful, as they serve as incredible devices and have made the communication process convenient and infinite. Furthermore, every other week or so I’ll get an email that strikes me as “forward-worthy” and last week a friend sent me an email of this caliber. I enjoyed the email so much that I feel it necessary for everyone to read, so here you go:

Imagine that you had won the following prize in a contest:

Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private bank account for your own use. However, this prize has rules, just as any game has certain rules.

The first set of rules would be:

  1. Everything you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.
  2. You may not transfer money into another account. You may only spend it.
  3. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,000 for that day.

The second set of rules:

  1. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, “This game is over!”
  2. The bank can close the account in an instant and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do? You would buy anything and everything you wanted, right? Not only for yourself, but for all of the people in your life, right? Maybe even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself and the people in your life, right? You would try to spend every single cent, and use it all up every day, right?

Actually, this game is a reality, but not with money!

Each of us is in possession of such a magical bank. We just don’t seem to see it.


Each morning we awaken and receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life, and when the day is done, any remaining time is gone and NOT credited to us. What we haven’t lived up to that day is lost forever. Yesterday is forever gone.

Each morning the account is refilled, but the magical bank can dissolve our account at any time….WITHOUT WARNING.

SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? Think about that, and always think of this: Enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than we think. Take good care of yourself, and enjoy life. Live each day to the fullest, be kind to one another, and be forgiving. Harbor a positive attitude and always be the first to smile.

Honestly, I really can’t think of a better way to start the week than to be reminded that the time we’ve been gifted is precious, unrepeatable and not guaranteed and if we view the time as money we’d wake up eager and happy to spend it in all kinds of fun and wonderful ways. SO, let’s do it! As soon as you read this email start by spending every ounce of our 86,400 seconds with all things worthwhile and life-giving such as: smiles, fun, family, friendships, laughter, love, light-heartedness, freedom, health, prayer, travel, forgiveness, words of encouragement, acceptance, new beginnings, hugs, kisses, an open mind, empathy, joy, a giving heart, adventures, new experience, and taking action on your dreams and goals. Of course you can spend your 86,400 seconds on anything you desire, though I urge you to not waste your invaluable time on fear, doubt, complaints, excuses, regret, what if’s, whys, worry, apathy, resistance, negative people and procrastination- these are time and life suckers.

Leave a Comment

VIDOES WE LOVE: The Empty Pickle Jar

Video not showing up? Watch it on YouTube here: Empty Pickle Jar from GiftsToGive on Vimeo

With resolutions and goals on everyone’s mind, check out this quick and meaningful video, as it creates a nice visual of  how we choose to spend each day.  And of course we can’t help but love the reminder that “no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for chocolate.”

Enjoying the Little Things

Appreciate the Little Things in Life

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

-Robert Brault

Last Wednesday evening after our Christmas Market event, several of the vendors and I were gathering our things and making multiple trips to our cars when we stumbled upon a magical moment. As the full moon glowed and a dazzling bright planet sat to it’s left, the night sky was dark and oozed with holiday sweetness. The crisp cool air added to the charm, but then, as we continued to make our trips, we gathered outside to listen to and witness two owls hooting sweet nothings back and forth, from one chimney to another.

Sitting on top of a chimney was the silhouette of one owl, and across the street was the silhouette of the other owl who was also sitting on the chimney of a neighbor’s house. The hooting was enchanting and we all agreed that the male owl must have been courting the female owl. I also felt that at any moment Hedwig, the owl from Harry Potter, would swoop down and deliver us an invitation to Hogwarts. It was just that cool!

What I appreciate most about the courting owl encounter was it’s simplicity and spontaneity. We were all pretty tired and fairly eager to get home and have dinner when we were gifted with this magical moment. In addition, it wasn’t a huge thing, it cost nothing and it was a unique blessing from nature. (You know that anything that causes five hungry women to stop for an extended period of time must be something very special!)

If you’re like me, contentment is one of your opportunities for improvement — not a strength. I have the tendency to want more, try to “keep up with Joneses'” and covet my neighbor’s things. Our mystical owl moment reminds me to be more wise and treasure the so called “little things,” like family, friends, and nature — which are actually the big things! — for most often they are what makes life so memorable and worthwhile.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Point To Ponder:
Do you have the tendency to place too much value on material things, a.k.a. the real “little things?”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Action Item:
Spend time being thankful for the things that really matter in life — the daily gifts and blessings that cost nothing.

To Your Health,


About Neissa

Those Moments of Weakness We All Could Do Without!


We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.  -David Mamet

Point To Ponder:
Are you having more “moments” and experiencing more stress than normal?

Action Item:
Realize your limitations, set your priorities, focus on the important things and get at least seven hours of sleep per night.


by Neissa Springmann

Several nights ago before going to bed I had “a moment.”  It was on the heels of Russell leaving for two weeks, and the reality of being a single mom was sinking in. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely aware that I have a wonderful life, an equally fabulous husband, and that I do not have a clue what it is like to be a single mom, but I was very tired and feeling sorry for myself.

So, rather than go straight to sleep where all of my stress and anxiety would have been swept away by the sandman, I marched myself into the living room to voice my pity party. Thankfully I remained calm, but proceeded to tell Russell all of the reasons why I hated his job (which I don’t) and how I felt like I was raising Durant on my own (which I don’t). It even got to the point where he started to console me but I stopped him and told him I was not interested in his advice and simply wanted his support, which is code for “be quiet, nod your head ‘yes’ and let me complain.”  After about ten minutes of having “my moment,” I went to bed where the good night’s sleep took care of everything, like it almost always does.

Why not a calming walk around the lake?

Why not try a calming walk around Town Lake?
Girlfriends + nature + exercise = (: (: (:

A few days later I made the assessment that being an adult was hard, which -thank goodness- my parents never told me, because I might not have ever moved out of their house!  The truth is that adulthood is filled with a million decisions, responsibilities and stressful situations, but it’s usually nothing that time with girlfriends, exercise, chocolate, prayer and a good night’s sleep can’t cure.

In the all-too-often event you are experiencing stress and are in need of having “a moment,” below are three stress reducing tips from Susan Fletcher, a practicing psychologist and stress management expert, who is also married and a mother of three children:

  • Don’t read into things so much. Don’t make things bigger than they need to be—with people or work. Some people make a project bigger than it needs to be in an effort to increase their own value, but they are increasing their own stress as a result.
  • Recognize when you are being inefficient. “People who are stressed get stuck answering e-mails for two hours at the expense of higher-value items that need to be taken care of,” Fletcher says. “Don’t get lost in inefficient behavior. Ask yourself, ‘What’s my ultimate outcome I want here and what do I need to get there?'”
  • Say no sometimes. “You have to say no to things you might enjoy, but are not in line with where you are professionally or personally at the moment,” Fletcher says. Then you can spend your time on what matters to you most.

All in all, stress is a normal part of life and a healthy dose of it is a good thing, as it allows us to practice our faith, become more wise and more relatable. However, it’s equally as important that we realize our limitations, set our priorities, focus on the important things and keep a giant roll of bubble wrap nearby, as shown helpful in this week’s video:


We think you might also like:


Choosing the Important Things

Halloween Fun at Butler Park… Now these Monarchs know what’s important in life! Making time for friendship and having fun while iGniting their Lives!

Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.
— Dr. Shad Helmstetter

Action Item:
Set yourself up for an enthusiastic life and holiday season by setting priorities and choosing the important things.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

Have you been reminded yet that there are only forty-nine days until Christmas? Just last week I received my first notice and at that point there were fifty-two days until the holiday that I really do love, so why is it that when I received this information I gasped for air, my shoulders drew up to my ear lobs and I didn’t feel enthusiastic?  Well, I know… It’s because I choose to not set priorities and run myself into a physical, mental and spiritual mess.

So, back to the word “choose”- it’s such a bitter-sweet word. On the sweet side, it’s exhilarating to know that we are blessed with the freedom of options and get to make our own choices. On the bitter side, having freedom and options can be extremely overwhelming, as the act of making a decision can sometimes be grueling. Its kind of like a food buffet. Rather than choose my three favorite options and eat just enough to feel satisfied, I quickly become overwhelmed by all of the possibilities, and end up eating everything…and then feel horrible!

I actually think that is exactly why I send myself into a tailspin each holiday season. There are so many choices and I don’t choose the important things, leaving me consequentially exhausted, grumpy and unenthusiastic.

In the event you experience similar holiday madness, I propose we choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holidays a bit different this year. Rather than inundate ourselves with endless parties, shopping, decorating and expectations, how about we set priorities and choose the important things first? One great rule of thumb is to stick with the number three. According to science, the brain can only absorb as many as three things at a time, therefore choose three of your favorites, per category. For example, choose three of your favorite parties, three places to shop, three gifts for your children, three holidays attitudes, etc. Read our Weekly Intention Guide for Neissa’s recommended process and ideas for creating a realistic priority list.

In my quest for choosing my holiday priorities rather than the holidays controlling me, I found a great article below by Leo Babauta, the author of Zen Habits and The Power of Less. It’s not specific for the holidays, however it can easily be applied to the season by including “holiday season” each time you see the word “life.”

“While it’s easy to be busy and crank out the tasks on your to-do list, it’s a bit more difficult to choose to do the important      things — to live your life by priorities that you set for yourself. But living a life of smart priorities is one of the best ways to become much more effective, to make the most of your time and reach your goals with less effort. Instead of running around like a chicken with no head, you can walk calmly in the right direction, do less but be more powerful in what you do. Something you should remember, however: priorities are not what you say they are—they’re what you actually do. So take a moment to reflect on how you spend your time, what your priorities have been lately, until now.  And reflect on whether those are the priorities you want to live. If not, let’s look at how to change the situation—as simply as possible.”

Three Big Mistakes

Most people make one of three mistakes when it comes to setting priorities:

1. They don’t think about it. People often do their work and live their lives without consciously setting priorities. They’re showing their priorities through their actions, but they’re not consciously set. As a result, they end up living lives and doing work they don’t really want. They fall into a life they don’t want rather than designing the life they do want.

2. They make it too complicated. Some people do set priorities, but they do so with complicated systems of numbers and letters. “A1” is given to top priorities, then “A2” to the next level, down to “B1” and “C2,” etc. The truth is, you can only really have a couple real priorities at a time. If you think you have many priorities, you aren’t being realistic — you will end up putting a couple of those “priorities” on the backburner — which means they weren’t priorities in the first place.

3. They don’t live their priorities. It’s one thing to set priorities, and it’s another to live them. What you actually do, and how you actually live your life, reveals your true priorities. Your priorities are what you live, not what you put on paper. Too often people say their priorities are one thing, but their lives show those “priorities” are given very little actual time.

How to Set and Live Priorities

To live a life of conscious priorities, avoid the above mistakes with three simple solutions:

1. Consciously set priorities. Take time today, or some time this week, to sit down and figure out what you want your priorities to be. What’s most important to you? What goals are most important? What do you want your life to look like? Who is most important? Reflect on these questions, then write down your top priorities.

2. Keep them simple and focused. When setting your priorities, choose just 2-3 to really focus on. If you have a longer list, put the others on a “someday” list to focus on later. You can’t live more than 2-3 priorities anyway, and if you keep things simple, it’ll allow you to truly focus on these priorities.

3. Live your priorities. Keeping things simple and focused makes it so much easier to actually live your priorities. Take time each morning to remind yourself of your priorities, and to put them into your schedule. Block off time each day for your top goals or priorities, so your life will actually reflect the priorities you set.

Interesting, huh?! All of a sudden having forty-nine days until Christmas doesn’t feel so overwhelming after all! In fact, I’m excited to set my holiday priorities and choose the important things. Actually, I’m feeling enthusiastic and hopeful that by choosing the important things I’ll avoid my holiday meltdowns that can oftentimes look like the children in this week’s video, who found out all of their Halloween candy was eaten. This is hysterical, but less funny when I do it… Enjoy!

JOIN THE DISCUSSION- What is standing in the way of you setting a realistic priority list? 

Related Posts