Tag Archives: quality time

Keep It Simple

(The Wisdom Share, Continued)
Living in Community, Part III


Point to Ponder:
Could you benefit from some life simplifying?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Spring Break was outstanding…well, minus the UT Men’s basketball team losing their first game in the NCAA tournament. This matters to me more than the average person because Russell, my husband, is an assistant coach for the program, so having mediocre seasons and losing is never great for job security. But, that’s when our faith consistently kicks in.

The kids and I could’ve made the trip to the tournament in Pittsburg, but I know my strengths, and schlepping a four-year-old and a 22-month-old on a plane, then to a basketball tournament in a city I’ve never been to (that’s cold) would have taken me down. At one point I thought I’d take Durant and Malaine to Sea World in San Antonio, but my sister advised watering down my plans and waiting until they are a little older so it would be more enjoyable for everyone. Then in class one day, iGnite member Tracy Picone gave me additional great wisdom: “Keep it simple. All your kids want is to spend time with you, and when Mom is happy, so are they.” What great advice!

So, we kept it real simple and because I didn’t have to worry about traffic (hurray), on Tuesday afternoon the kids and I went on a simple adventure to Cabela’s in Buda. We stayed for an hour — looking at the fish and all of the animals. We then stopped at a friend’s house on the way home and had dinner at Phil’s Ice House. It was a simple, yet a fun and full day.

Then, on Wednesday evening we drove to my mom’s in Waco and went to the Cameron Park Zoo on Thursday morning. Like a dummy, I didn’t bring a stroller or wagon, but we managed and thankfully had no meltdowns. Needless to say, after two and a half hours of walking, playing and animal sightings, we were all pooped, leading to a delicious afternoon nap. It too was a simple, yet fun day.

Finally, and because the basketball team lost, Russell got home early Friday morning and so the remainder of Spring Break was family time, which was so nice because time with him is something we don’t get a lot of during the season. This too was so simple, yet so rich.

Based on the great wisdom from my sister and Tracey Picone, the wisdom I’m passing along is this: Regardless of where we are in life, keep it simple. Bigger is not always better.

A few more pieces of inspiring life wisdom from our members and leaders:

“Pave your child for the road, don’t pave the road for your child”
-Barbara McTee, iGnite Member

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.” (basically, take responsibility for yourself and don’t blame others if you don’t reach your goals) – Tracy Picone, iGnite Member

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
– Tracey Picone, iGnite Member

“___ years are going to come anyway.” (my father-in-law’s response when I would say something was going to take too long, like finishing school or getting the job I wanted)
– Tracy Picone

Alli“I love this simple yet powerful nugget from Charlotte Benson: ‘We are put on this earth to help each other, plain and simple.'”


“The words of wisdom that I find to be truer and truer the longer I live are….
Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'”


There’s no point in having nice things if you don’t share them with others” (Mimi) This was my grandmother’s response to me being scared to drive her brand new fancy Lexus after she insisted I drive us around in it–I had just turned 16! It taught me to not value things for things’ sake, and remember that the real point of life is to share the things we’re blessed with. If I don’t plan on enjoying something WITH others, then what’s the point in having it?!


Advice from my mom: “not to worry” (in the vein of “no worries” — her sing-song words were, when something went amiss, “oh, not to worry!”)


When you and your husband or significant other finally get the opportunity to go on a vacation together, reconnecting can sometimes be difficult. Something my husband and I have found helpful in having the fun we need to have together is going on adventures, such as zip lining, hiking, water rafting, etc. These adventures are built-in fun that we don’t have to create for ourselves.

Kathleen ParkerVulnerability lost is intimacy gained” –Dave Sunde (at iGnite retreat last February). I grew up with a very proud father whose mantra is “Happiness is found through your accomplishments.” So, although we all looked good on the outside, not being able to share things led to some loneliness even growing up in a household of 8. How freeing it is to realize that I will not be judged when I show vulnerability! I love it! My relationships are much richer and my mind is at peace. Thank you Dave! Also, “If you focus on the mud on the windshield, you miss what is on the road ahead.” -Bill Swinney, my father.


You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” My dad taught me this.

Action Item:
Identify one small change you could make to simplify your week’s plans or responsibilities.

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Quality Time – The Best Tradition

Our Favorite Holiday Traditions, Continued


Point to Ponder:
What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It recently occurred to me that I am responsible for creating my children’s holiday memories and traditions… which freaks me out! I am trying really hard to not make Christmas all about Santa, receiving gifts, etc, but I have found myself using Santa an an incentive to “be good and kind, listen to Mommy and Daddy and eat all of your food.” UGH! In moments of desperation, it’s nearly impossible to not. And while I haven’t mustered up the courage to go to the mall so Durant and Malaine can see Santa (and Malaine can scream her head off), or take them to the Trail of Lights (EEK!), it dawned on me that I can’t forget to leave milk, cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer. It’s all part of the magic of Christmas, right?…and it’s all up to me to not forget anything!!

However, after re-reading all of the beautiful and various traditions from our Leaders in last week’s journal, it occurred to me that everyone’s favorite traditions (including my own) are about how we spend time together, and nothing else. My holiday goal is to stay sane and joyful, so quality time will be my primary focus. I can definitely make that happen and will stay off of Pinterest and Facebook to avoid seeing all of the elaborate and creative things other moms are doing for their homes and children. Comparison is the thief of joy, right?! Yes!

For a few more of our favorite holiday traditions, leaders Sha and Jill share their favorites, which also happen to be time-focused. Here’s to quality time together, the most important tradition of them all!

“We love our very busy Christmas Eve tradition. Every Christmas Eve we travel to Waco for the Klatt family reunion. Sometimes it seems like a lot of effort, but once we get the 5 of us in the car, we love our together time. We leave early in the morning and always stop at Monument Cafe in Georgetown for a fun breakfast. Once we get to Ganny’s house (Mike’s mom), we each stuff something in the 10 stockings hanging by the fire, then we commence “opening” them. After the larger family reunion lunch, we head back to Austin for a wonderful, festive, delicious dinner/party at a neighbor’s house. At 10:30pm we head to Good Shepherd for the beautiful Christmas Eve candlelight service, where a lovely small orchestra leads us in gorgeous Christmas hymns. It is a long, full day, but we fall into bed after midnight filled with the love of family, friends, and Faith that this season brings.” -Sha

unnamed-70“One of our family traditions that we started when my girls were babies is before opening one gift on Christmas Eve, we gather around the Christmas tree to read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Avery, my oldest daughter, received the book as a gift from grandparents her first Christmas, and it’s the same version we read together every year. It’s that special something that brings us all together for just a moment. We always do it right before bedtime. It is a tradition that they still enjoy very much, and will hopefully continue with their children one day.”

Action Item:
Amid the holiday chaos, make a conscious effort to briefly stop and simply observe and enjoy quality together time with loved ones.

Love is Spelled T-I-M-E


When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

-Rick Warren, A Purpose Driven Life

About Neissa

by Neissa Springmann

For as long as I can remember I have been wired to work. From a job, to exercise, to filling my plate with busy to-do’s, achievement in the form of action has been my mode of fulfillment and success. Eight years ago and upon marrying, my husband hinted that he’d appreciate me stopping to spend time with him before crashing in bed. I would honor his wishes out of necessity for our relationship, but I still felt the itch to move and do. In addition, when I wasn’t “achieving” or sleeping, I would feel a sense of guilt.

Now, eight years later, some wisdom has set in and time has become my primary love language. While I cherish the time I specifically set aside for my husband and son, I still struggle with the ridiculous guilt from not working or doing. In addition, and because I have figured out my busy predisposition, I have put in place rules and boundaries around this time. For example, I try to avoid my phone and computer because the second I look at either I am doomed. One missed call, text message or email can immediately change my focus from “T-I-M-E” back to achievement mode.

Since having put in place my self-imposed “time laws,” I still experience guilt (which is a waste of time and I must get over it), but my relationship with my husband is the most healthy it has ever been. Please know that I am not boasting as this is step one of a million-mile journey, rather I’m indicating that I am a work in progress and understanding the true value of time.

Now, more than ever, our lives are infiltrated with seemingly innocent distractions. From 515 television channels, never-ending commitments, and the world-wide web, if we aren’t careful our time is consumed with these things and not with what is most important. Side note — isn’t it ironic that the internet is called the “web?”

In conclusion, I leave you with a monumental excerpt from The Purpose Driven Life and wish you a week and holiday season filled with T-I-M-E.

I have been at the bedside of many people in their final moments, when they stand on the edge of eternity, and I have never heard anyone say, “Bring me my diplomas! I want to look at them one more time. Show me my awards, my medals, that gold watch I was given.”  When life on earth is ending, people don’t surround themselves with objects. What we want around us is people – people we love and have relationships with. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about.


Point To Ponder:
Are your relationships your first priority?


Action Item:
Determine who you need to start spending more time with and make the necessary sacrifices to fulfill this relationship.


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Quality Time


Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it but you can use it. You can’t keep it but, you can spend it.  Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back. -Harvey McKay

Point To Ponder:
Do you unintentionally allow the world to dictate your time and priorities?

Action Item:
Make a point this week to take control of the time and priorities, and enjoy uninterupted quality time with your family and friends.

By Neissa Springmann

By Neissa Springmann

Last week, as I attempted to master “The Juggle,” I had an epiphany. It occurred on Tuesday afternoon when my son Durant woke up from his nap, which meant my work day officially ended. He woke up perfectly happy and excited to see me, which of course made my day. So, after playing with him for a while I brought him into the office so Catherine and I could complete a few more tasks before calling it a day. As we began talking and my attention was diverted from him to my work, he instantly started fussing and grabbing my face to look at him, even though I brought his favorite trash truck and toys in the office. I didn’t get it! The only thing that changed from earlier was that I was talking to Catherine, and as soon as I focused on him again and stopped talking about work, he was perfectly content.

Within seconds, it all made sense to me. Durant didn’t care if he had a hundred of his favorite toys to play with, the bottom line was that he wanted my attention and my time more than anything else.  After all, I hadn’t seen him since I put him to bed the night before, nineteen hours before!

After Catherine left, Durant and I went outside to play in the sandbox where he was in good spirits. He actually didn’t care if I played with him, he simply wanted me close and not distracted. In fact, the second I looked at my iPhone to check a text or email, he would start getting grumpy. I really do think that if he could talk in complete sentences he would’ve screamed “MOM! STOP WORKING AND PAY ATTENTION TO ME….and THROW THAT STUPID COMPUTER AWAY!” I can’t say that I blame him one bit.

That night, as I thought more about the message from Durant, it reminded me of the time I took the ‘Love Language’ quiz, which identified that my primary love language is quality time. Don’t get me wrong, I also value and very much appreciate words of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch (especially a foot or neck rub 🙂 , but I’d take spending uninterupted quality time over them all, which leads me to my next opinion.

I feel certain that spending quality time is a societal challenge and is actually under attack, given that the internet provides 24/7 access to work and any desire of the body, mind, or spirit, television can be seen at all hours of the day and extra curricular activities are offered seven days a week. I can remember when the work day was actually 9-5, the Star Spangled Banner would play at midnight, just before the television would turn to a staticky screen, and there were no activities on Wednesdays or Sundays.

Don’t get me wrong, I confess that I am preaching to the choir, as I have an extremely difficult time turning off the work switch and get very easily distracted. I also understand that Durant is 19 months old and has to learn that he is not the center of the universe. There are plenty of times I wish a new toy would distract him long enough to give me a break, but the reality is that I need to be overjoyed that my son wants my attention…After all, there will be a day when my presence alone will embarrass him! Furthermore, the internet and television provide many benefits that I access everyday, but with that said, I am also acutely aware that just because something is available and happens to be socially acceptable doesn’t mean that it’s good, healthy or something I should or need to take part in.

Rejecting many of our societal norms is like climbing an uphill battle, but I believe, with every fiber of my being, that denying the daily, consistent distractions that keep us from spending quality time with one another is the best gift we can give to ourselves, to our families, to our community and to the greater world.

In conclusion, time truly is our most valuable commodity. The question becomes how will we spend our time? As I reflect on last Tuesday, I realize the best time of my day was when I dedicated my full attention to Durant and my family. In addition, I recognize that as long as I plan to live a big and full life, I will have to master “The Juggle.” However, I must never lose sight of the most important ball of all, “quality time.”

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