Tag Archives: wisdom

A Holiday to Learn From

feb19_2017

Point to Ponder:
What president can you learn from?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

It’s no secret that I am a quote junkie. Besides a story of hope, perseverance and courage, there’s nothing that gets me more fired up and inspired than a good quote or a book of quotes!

Tomorrow, February 20th is President’s Day, a national holiday. Originally, President’s Day was founded in honor of George Washington’s birthday (his birthday is February 22), however it has since morphed into a day to celebrate all United States presidents. Unfortunately though, as most national holidays have become, President’s Day is overshadowed by commercial sales and the opportunity to enjoy a three day weekend. None of these are wrong, as a sale and three consecutive days off are glorious, however the opportunity to truly observe the day for it’s primary focus has become diluted, overlooked, and even obsolete.

In an effort to bring attention to and honor our nation’s presidents and absorb their wisdom and inspiration, I’ve created a top 25 United States President’s quotes list. My personal favorite president is Abraham Lincoln. In fact, if he were alive I’d volunteer to be his full time protege! His integrity, wisdom, courage and love for family and country is awe-inspiring, so you will see a few extra quotes from him.

Therefore, without further adieu, I hope you enjoy the words of wisdom from our nation’s presidents, all of whom were not perfect (who is, right?!), however their service and wisdom are commendable and worthy of pause, reflection and great gratitude.

“Let your heart feel for the afflictions and distress of everyone, and let your hand give in proportion to your purse.” –George Washington

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book wisdom.” -Thomas Jefferson

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”  -Abraham Lincoln

“Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air. ” -John Quincy Adams

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight–it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” -Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Great lives never go out, they go on.” -Benjamin Harrison

“I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If wrinkles must be written on our brow, let them not be written on our heart. The spirit should never grow old.” -James Garfield

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

“The harder the conflict the greater the triumph.” –George Washington

“Try and fail but don’t fail to try.” -John Quincy Adams

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorns bushes have roses.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Be patient and calm. No one can catch a fish with anger.” -Herbert Hoover

“It’s amazing what can get accomplished if you don’t care who gets the credit.” -Harry S. Truman

“Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  –Abraham Lincoln

“Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.” -John F. Kennedy

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.” -Ronald Reagan

“If you look for the bad in people and expect to find it, you surely will.” -Abraham Lincoln

“If your going to think anything, think big.” -Donald Trump

“The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope and you will fill you with hope.” -Barack Obama

“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our purposes, not to make a great show in the world, or a name. There is but one just use of power and that is to serve people.” -George W. Bush

“In the end, it’s not the years in the life that count. It’s the life in the years.” -Abraham Lincoln
“If you live long enough, you’ll make mistakes. But if you learn from them you’ll be a better person. It’s how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is to never quit, never quit, never quit.” -William J. Clinton

“We are a nation of communities….a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” -George H. W. Bush


Action Item:
Learn something from a former president that you can apply to your life.


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Member Spotlight: Kelly Glasgow

iGnite - Kelly GlasgowRoots:
I grew up in Dallas. My husband grew up in Houston. We moved to Austin in 1983 for my husband to get his MBA, and we never left!

Family Life:
I met my husband, William, at Vanderbilt. We married the January following graduation. We have five wonderful children and five beautiful grandchildren. Merrill (30) and Chase Laguarta live in Austin with their three daughters (5, 3, and 15 months). Megan (29) lives in NYC. Walker (27) and his wife Haley live in Oahu with their two boys (23 months and 6 months). Molly Frances (25) and her husband Joe Denham live in Austin. And last, but not least, Mallory (23) lives in Chicago.

Work Life:
I am a Registered Nurse (currently unemployed).

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
Hmmm…that’s a hard one. I have so many lessons learned through iGnite but I would say my biggest take away is that there is so much wisdom to glean from all ages
of women. I have learned as much from the younger women as I have from my peer group. These young ladies are mature and very cool!
The best advice I’ve ever gotten… “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”  Matthew 6:34

As a mother of five children, I have done my share (and more) of worrying. I knew as a Christian it was not biblical to worry, but I was very stubborn in this area. I think I somehow believed the amount of worry correlated with my love for my family or some such nonsense. I did bible studies on worry, read books on worry, but yep, you guessed it, I continued to worry. I am a very slow learner. I didn’t release my kids until my son joined the army. At that point, it became very apparent to my that I WAS NOT IN CONTROL. All of those wasted hours worrying…as I loosened my grip on my children, I had a new outlook on life. When our son deployed to Afghanistan, I didn’t want his absence and my worry to define me. Instead, I put into action what I knew but never truly embraced…God has a plan, and I need to trust in that. So there you have it. I let go and trusted God. Every day is a new day, and daily I have to renew my trust. I must admit that I am so grateful that I’m not in control. It’s too big of a job for me! Do I still worry some? YES of course…I am a work in progress 🙂

Something people may not know about me…
I am a NCIS junkie.

My guilty pleasure…
A glass of bubbly at lunch.

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Unexpected Helpers

May22_2016

Point to Ponder:
What frustrations or challenges do you currently experience that could become teachers and helpers in your life?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As I did yesterday, every Saturday I attend a Power Vinyasa Flow class. Each week my goal is to balance out my more intense strength and interval training workouts with yoga, and while I take yoga from three different instructors, my favorite instructor leads on Saturday mornings. This particular class is taught by a man, and what I love most is his introspective and intuitive nature. He is always teaching, both physically and mentally, and I regularly walk away with nuggets of information and wisdom, as I did this Saturday.

Like in all of his classes, they are heated and we begin in child’s pose (my absolute favorite pose in the world). Yesterday, as we melted in child’s pose he said this, “As you can feel, this room is heated. This may frustrate you, but it’s here to help you.”  Ahhh….there’s the wisdom that I count on! As my body heated up with the room and I flowed in and out of poses, I contemplated his words.

In the case of his yoga class, the heat, especially once my body is covered in sweat, can be extremely frustrating and maddening, but it helps my tight body ease in and out of the poses more comfortably. And, when I am dripping with sweat, I become more uncomfortable and my mind becomes agitated, so I take long deep breaths and focus on calming my mind. The heat is my teacher that helps me control my breath and my thoughts.

Then, as I moved past the thought of how the heat is irritating yet helpful, I began reflecting on other frustrations and challenges that I currently experience and have experienced, and wonder if they have helped me? The answer is a consistent “yes.” Each one has helped me and taught me a valuable lesson. From unmet expectations and deadlines, being married and having children, to the annoying unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are all my helpers.

For example, the extremely frustrating unmet expectations and deadlines have helped me to relax more and recognize that no matter how long or hard I work, nothing will ever be perfect, there is always room for improvement and there will always be more to do. So, breathe, let go of control, have fun and celebrate all victories- big and small.

As for my husband, he absolutely makes me crazy and I know I make him crazy too. However, marriage has helped me understand compromise and that my way isn’t the only way. Being in a committed relationship helps me realize the significance in letting things go. Even though I always want to be right, I don’t have to be right (all of the time, at least) and just because I do it one way, doesn’t mean that it can’t work another way.

With regard to our children, while I have a ton of fun with them, they drive me bonkers. However, as every mother would confess, as irritating as children (off all ages) can be, children are the best teachers and helpers in life. No matter what age, children help teach patience and letting go of expectations. Little children help me find beauty in the little things. They love without judgement, they do not judge themselves (even their plump bellies and dimply rears), they are fearless, they believe in themselves, and they only want to love and have fun. They help me to slow down, not sweat the small stuff and live for the moments.

Finally, for the obnoxious unknowns and unanswered prayers, they are my helpers because they consistently teach me humility and patience. They have given me the gift of letting go and the understanding that just because I want it now, doesn’t mean that I need it now, or that it’s the best thing for me, now. They are my faith-building helpers and protectors.

All in all and frustrating or not, I think everything and everyone can be our helper. It’s all a matter of awareness and perspective. If we choose to look at things as helpers, then they will become our helpers, but if we choose to fight them and see them only as annoyances and inconveniences, then that’s what they will be. Therefore, rather than avoid a perceived uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.


Action Item:
Rather than avoid a perceived uncomfortable or challenging situation, conversation or opportunity, or wish it to just go away, remember that what we resist, persists, and with a mindset shift these things can become our greatest teachers and helpers.


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YOU ARE Nature’s Greatest Miracle

Inspiration from the iGnite Archives

April17_2016 Point to Ponder:
Do you live like you are nature’s greatest miracle?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

During the weekend I needed a motivational jolt so I grabbed one of my favorite books by Og Mandino called The Greatest Salesman in the World. I immediately thumbed through the back of the book and began skimming through the ten inspirational and empowering scrolls. When used correctly, each scroll is to be read three times a day for thirty days before moving on to the next one. Also, when reading a scroll for the third time each day, it is to be read out loud. The basis of Og Mandino’s method is to create positive mental and emotional programming which breaks down fear and hesitation and builds self-confidence. This then becomes part of the transformational psyche.

While all of the scrolls are powerful, the scroll that I was drawn to was IV, “I am Nature’s Greatest Miracle”, which also reminds me of another one of my favorite book’s of his called The Great Miracle in the World. Before I go on, just stop and think about the mind-blowing fact that “you-are-nature’s-greatest-miracle”. WOW! Regardless of your current mood or state of mind, believing that you are significant and you are nature’s greatest miracle is not only encouraging but it’s life-changing. But wait, it get’s even better. The scrolls continues with wisdom like, “I am not on this earth by chance. I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth I will apply all my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. I have been given eyes to see and a mind to think and now I know a great secret of life for I perceive, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise. And nature knows not defeat. Eventually, she emerges victorious and so will I, and with each victory the next struggle becomes less difficult.”

The words of this scroll not only set my mind at ease, but it also sent my heart racing with excitement, as it is a reminder that we are all made for greatness, and despite our past, our mishaps, mistakes or struggles, our potential is unlimited. Furthermore, with nature as our guide, we can and will bounce back from adversity and stand taller and more wise, as this becomes our gift to one another and to the world.

Finally, as you begin your week I encourage you to live like YOU ARE nature’s greatest miracle and believe all of the council provided by Og Mandino and “Never demean yourself again! Never settle for the crumbs of life! Never hide your talents, from this day hence! Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity! Go another mile!”

Action Item:
Believe in and live like YOU ARE nature’s greatest miracle. Remember that you were not put on Earth by chance and you are here for a purpose. Never demean yourself again! Never settle for the crumbs of life! Never hide your talents, from this day hence! Count your blessings! Proclaim your rarity! Go another mile!

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Let Your Friends & Family Love You Through It

What’s Love Got to Do With It, Part III

Feb14_2016_SAME 2

Point to Ponder:
Do you reach out to your family and friends and let them love you the way you need to be loved?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! I hope your weekend and day have been sweet and filled with pounds of chocolate (yes, pounds!!) and most importantly, plenty of lovin!

Speaking of “lovin”, recently I hit a sad and unloved wall, called homesick! Maybe you can relate. As I was driving down the highway to pick up the kids from preschool, the deep and dark sadness hit me. I missed home (Texas) and missed our comfortable life in Austin. I missed my family, twenty years worth of deep friendships, our cozy and sweet home, knowing our neighbors and them knowing me, and familiar faces wherever I went. I missed feeling like I was somebody, people knowing my name; and frankly, I missed feeling relevant, important, and purposeful — the way that I felt when I lived in Austin.

What started the heartache was a text from my sister, letting me know they were putting in a pool. To give you some history, when we lived in Austin my sister and I only lived fifteen minutes apart. Each Friday (and sometimes Sunday evenings) our families would get together. We called it “Family Fun Friday.”  As happy as I was to learn that they were getting a pool (a goal they set as a family many years ago), I was so sad for my family! I was heartbroken that we weren’t going to be part of this exciting and fun time of their life and create the memories that I had envisioned.  Instead, I just got to see it all via a text, which is definitely not the same.

From that point on and for several days, I was just gloomy and depressed.  I did talk to Russell, my husband, and called my mom and sister, and they all lovingly validated my feelings and gave me great advice, which was so helpful.  However, it wasn’t until welcome events occurred that I finally felt myself come out of the sad and sunken hole, and nearly all of these soothing gifts arrived within 24 hours of one another.

First, I heard an uplifting and encouraging song called “Good Fight” by Unspoken. Some of the lyrics are, “When we feel all alone and when it’s hard times- keep fighting the good fight, let your light shine, keep on singing, keep on dancing, joy will be your banner and God’s love will be my anthem. God’s never gonna leave me and always gonna see me through to the others side! He holds my tomorrow.” (In case you are interested in hearing the song, click here: Good Fight)

Second, my mom sent me a beautiful devotional about “rainy days,” which, despite it being perfectly gorgeous and sunny in San Diego, I was having plenty of.  Not only did it confirm that rainy days are normal, it also confirmed the importance of them.  As I read, these words washed over me: “A good rainy season can awaken us, test us and turn us to God. And when we do turn to Him, He may stop the rain, shelter us from the worst of it, or remain with us as it pours. His concern is not our comfort, but our growth.”  OUCH! Okay, really?!  I’m not sure if you recall, but in the January 31st journal, I stated that my 2016 goal was to GROW. So, there ya go! The moral of that story is to be careful for what you ask for but really, I do know this all is true. I just needed someone to send it to me so I could be reminded. (If you’d like to read it, click here: Devotional Page 1, Devotional Page 2)

Third, I reached out via text to the wonderful iGnite Team, my very dear friends, and let them know that I was struggling. It wasn’t more than one minute that I was flooded with encouraging and loving texts and phone calls–all validating my sadness and feelings. They encouraged me to be mad, sad and cry when I needed to. They reminded me of my 2015 motto, “We can do hard things”, and that at the end of every rain storm is a rainbow. I bathed myself in their prayers, scripture and wisdom.

Finally, several weeks ago I informed a spiritual mentor and friend of mine know that I was struggling with my purpose. At the time I wasn’t sad, rather I was trying to determine what God wanted me to do in San Diego. Then, within 24-hours of hearing “Good Fight”, receiving the devotional from my mom, getting showered by love from the iGnite Team, my spiritual mentor sent me a text. She said that during her quiet time I popped into her mind and so, she sent me the most powerful and true spiritual wisdom. Her text started like this, “What we think determines what we feel and what we feel leads to how we act. When I feel an over abundance of fear or dread or despair, what am I thinking or saying to myself? What thoughts lead to those feelings? Inevitably those thoughts are not the truth. I have an error in my thinking.” (To read the spiritual wisdom, click here: Spiritual Wisdom)

It’s ironic that I preach on the importance of community and not living life alone, yet I found myself in that lonely and isolating place. It happens to all of us, and maybe you are in the middle of it right now too. Or, maybe you know someone who is. What I know to be absolutely true is that while we all are in different life chapters and seasons, we are never alone and we are not intended to go through anything alone. It is essential to reach out to friends and family so they can love us through it and pull us up and out of the hole. That’s what life is all about and that’s what love has got to do with it!!

Action Item:
Avoid hanging onto your troubles, struggles, burdens and/or any sadness that you might be experiencing. Instead, reach out to your friends and family so they can love you through it!

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Spreading Hope, Love and Joy to the Hopeless

Operation Spread Hope, Love & Joy, Part II

preview-full-kindness

Point to Ponder:
How do you view the homeless or those on the street asking for help?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Sadly, in Austin and in most cities it is common to see homeless, desperate or hopeless people standing at busy intersections asking for help. Despite being advised by law officials and professionals to not give them money, if I have cash, change or any unopened food I always give what I have. And, when I do not have anything to give I get embarrassed and avoid eye contact. Ugh! Definitely not a mature and or compassionate response! I realize that by giving money I could be enabling their pursuit of getting a job or supplying funds for their next possible drug fix, but I don’t know their life story or history so to judge seems wrong and unfair.

Shamefully, there was a time when I didn’t feel this way and my heart was filled with judgement. While I didn’t voice it, when I saw someone asking for help my thought was that they should have more pride and work ethic than to lazily ask for my hard earned money. After all, I grew up with limited financial resources yet managed to work my way through college and make it. Why can’t they? However, several years ago I attended a Caritas luncheon where the co-authors of the book, Same Kind of Different as Me spoke. This experience changed my heart and perspective.

If you haven’t read the book, I encourage you to. Or if you wait until April 2016 it will be out in the theaters. In summary, through volunteering at a homeless meals program in Fort Worth, the co-authors Ron Hall (a wealthy Fort Worth art dealer) and Denver Moore (a literal modern-day hobo) developed a unique friendship. An intense bond was formed and both lives were changed– with Ron’s heart experiencing the greatest transformation. As a result of the book’s message and success, the two men traveled to speaking engagements, with Austin being one of them. Towards the end of the luncheon, Denver, the modern-day hobo and former prison inmate spoke. While he had no formal education, he understood life, the spiritual world, and had a connection with God like I had never seen or heard before. The room was silenced by his compassion, faith and wisdom and while I clung to every word he spoke, it was his advice on whether or not to give the homeless and hopeless money that I will never forget.

Having lived a life of homelessness, desperation and having people look down on him, Denver passionately urged the audience to bypass judgement towards the homeless, as we will never know what they have experienced in life and why they are in the situation they are in. Furthermore, he acknowledged that we’ve all been told not to give the homeless money, however he pleaded that we give what we can, and in doing so respectfully look them in their eyes and smile. Ultimately, he reminded us that we will never know if it will be our dollar, our smile or our words that will be the difference in their life.

After his sincere message, rather than look down on the homeless or beggars, I began to view them, their situation, and people in general with more compassion. I contemplated how I would want someone to treat me, my children, my family, and friends if we where homeless, desperate or falling on hopeless times. Or, if we were just in need of some help, support or encouragement. In doing so I realized how self-righteous and judgemental I had been. Then recently it was upon reading Matthew 26: 34 – 45, verses that I have listened to many times before, that I finally heard and realized how much more I can and need to do:

On His right, he will say; (Jesus) Come here, you beloved, you people whom My Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation. You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink; I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives; I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.
Even then the righteous will not have achieved perfect understanding and will not recall these things.
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find you naked and clothe You? When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
And then He will turn to those on His left hand.
Jesus: Get away from Me, for I was starving, and you left Me with no food. I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see you without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
Jesus: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.

Despite your faith or belief, the idea that we should treat others as we would want to be treated says it all. And, we have all been given a conscious that guides us and gives us valuable information, which is why I am unable to make eye contact when someone is asking for help and I don’t have anything to give them. I know it’s not right or respectful to not show someone respect and give them the dignity they deserve by simply looking in their eye and exchanging a smile.

As a result, several months ago I began creating baggies of crackers, rice crispy treats, and breakfast bars. And, as of last week I added our printable ‘iGnite spread hope love and joy’ note cards. I keep the bags in my car so that I can have them with me at all times and it truly has made a difference! Therefore, as we continue to focus on spreading hope, love and joy, I hope you will consider doing the same and making care packages that you can hand out when needed. While the person you give the goodie bag and smile to will appreciate your generosity, I promise that your heart will be the one filled with hope, love and joy.

IMG_4106

Goodie Bag Basket

Action Item:
Create goodies bags and fill them with helpful items and the printable iGnite note cards. Keep them in your car and with a smile and eye contact, hand them to the homeless, hopeless or someone in need.

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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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