<![CDATA[SoulShine Life Connections - Blog]]>Tue, 27 Sep 2022 11:56:29 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Now, Where Did I Put That? The Ultimate Guide to get Organized and Not Lose Your Sh*t Literally and Figuratively]]>Tue, 27 Sep 2022 10:00:00 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/now-where-did-i-put-that-the-ultimate-guide-to-get-organized-and-not-lose-your-sht-literally-and-figurativelyBy Jackie White
We have all been there once or twice or like every day…where did I put my keys? Where did I put the hammer? Darn it, where is that bill I was supposed to pay this week? We all get unorganized at some point in all the busyness life brings. I am the first to admit this! But how do we turn this chaos around and get it together? 

First, we begin with awareness and admittance. It’s sort of like an AA meeting for us, unorganized people. I, (fill in with your name), am unorganized. That’s it, now let’s move on. We can all move from being unorganized to actually being organized and you know what happens then? We begin to start enjoying life just a little bit more and the reason why is that we are not frantically looking, searching, buying another or being late because we couldn’t get it together on time! Just the thought of that is refreshing, isn’t it?

So, let’s get to some fundamental things that need to be put into place to bring you over into the Land of I Know Where Things Are.

Information Central: Organizing information is really half the battle! Set up a system to track your/your family’s activities, appointments, and commitments. You know if you are the mom in your family, you are keeping track of everyone, so color-code your system to manage all the peeps properly. Keep this primary organizational tool easy to use, and updated, and make sure people are using it (which is the other half of the battle, right?!)

Calendar: A family calendar online or posted on the fridge, so all can see. A personal calendar/planner is also helpful to manage yourself. I like a paper planner, but if digital works for you, then use that. The trick here is keeping it updated and keeping yourself updated but looking at it every day so you know what’s happening. 

Scheduling: Here we really have to get honest with ourselves. Be overly conservative with the time you have. Part of the problem with being unorganized is we overestimate what we can get done in a day. Remember when running errands, attending appointments, picking up kids, there is travel time (we always forget that it seems!). Realize no matter how much you want to get 82 things done in a day, it will likely be a lot less, so be realistic!

Bulletin Board: A bulletin board can be really helpful to hold school notices, invitations, field trip slips or other action-needed items. The beauty of this is that you can see it and it’s easy to slap up a paper that might otherwise get lost if not managed right away.

Important Paper Binder: In this keep birth certificates, social security cards, bank info, marriage license, will, or any other important legal documents you need to access. Keep this in an inconspicuous place in your home. 

Communication/Office Bin: This bin holds things like envelopes, stamps, pens, paperclips, pencils, checkbooks, printer ink and thank you notes. 

Bills: There are many ways you can organize your bills but I found paying online as a great way to streamline payments. You can opt in to an auto-pay where it comes directly out of your account and you don’t have to do anything or your can choose to pay online but you have to execute the transaction. Either way, you must keep a running tab of what is coming in and going out as well as when you need to pay so that your bills are not late. This may sound rudimentary, but you would be surprised how fouled up this can get if you don’t stay on top of it.

Menu Planning: Make a plan for a few days and I stress, only a few days to ensure you are utilizing the foods you are purchasing. I have tried to do the month long planning only to throw out so much unused food. If this could potentially be your scenario, menu plan for only 2-3 days at a time and use what you buy. It can’t hurt to have a back up freezer option if you can’t get back to the store on time.

Get Off the Phone: Yikes! The biggest time suck of them all can be the dang phone/social media. Watch yourself here because it tends to take up so much more time than we ever realized!

Stay Aware: Pay attention to how you are doing once you have put some of these strategies in place. Is it working for you? What can be better? What can you tweak? Continuous improvement will be your focus here so that eventually you get a system in place that is keeping you organized like a well-oiled machine!

For more help getting organized, join SoulShine for the FREE Squeeze the Day Life Organization Challenge starting September 27 - September 30, 2022! 
Sign up here → https://soulshinelifeconnections.podia.com/squeeze-the-day-challenge

Shine On!

<![CDATA[Happy World Heart Day! 7 Fun Ways to Celebrate…and Boost Your Heart Health]]>Tue, 20 Sep 2022 09:41:39 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/happy-world-heart-day-7-fun-ways-to-celebrateand-boost-your-heart-healthBy Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Are you as excited about this as me?!?

You should be, DreamChaser! That heart of yours…it's the engine that powers everything you do and want to do. Just like you maintain your car's engine with oil changes and scheduled maintenance, you gotta do the same for your heart! It's so dang important there's a day dedicated today to remind you and the whole month of February! 

Taking care of that ticker isn't hard…and it can be fun! Fun is our middle name…we believe firmly that having fun is a key part of life. Without further ado, here are 7 Fun Ways to Celebrate World Heart Day…and the bonus is you will boost your heart health along the way!

1. Get Moving!
Regular exercise and physical activity is one of the best ways to show your heart some love! Exercise not only strengthens your heart muscle and your overall heart/lung function, it also helps reduce stress and boosts your mood, among other heart-healthy things. Try something fun…like dancing! Go get your move, or groove, on!

2. Cuddle Your Pet
We sure love those furry family members, don't we? (Well, our pet is a turtle but he's still the best!) The joy pets bring to your life has been shown to boost your heart health by decreasing blood pressure and lowering your cholesterol and triglycerides. Boost it further by enjoying a walk with your furry friend! 

3. Chocolate, Anyone?
Did this one catch your attention? Studies have shown that chocolate contains several heart-healthy nutrients that can reduce inflammation and increase your HDL, or good cholesterol, levels. This is an area to use moderation…lol…but, you're welcome!

4. Have a Laugh
Talk about a fun way to boost your heart health and overall wellness. Laughing increases your heart rate and causes you to take deeper breaths. Combined, this allows highly oxygenated blood to circulate through your system, causing your blood pressure to lower. Laughing also helps lower your body's stress response, which is always a good thing! Let those giggles go…laughter really is the best medicine!

5. Start with Breakfast 
Eating a nutrient-packed breakfast helps kick-start your metabolism to burn calories and helps decrease the chance of overeating later in the day. Studies have shown that people who eat a nutrient-packed breakfast have significantly less heart disease and stroke compared to breakfast skippers. Yum!

6. Get Your ZZZ'S 
During sleep, your blood pressure decreases. Having poor sleep patterns means your blood pressure stays higher longer, which contributes to heart disease such as hypertension and stroke. Simply put, the better your night's sleep, the better your heart health….so get those ZZZ's!

7. Relax With a Hot Bath
Ahhh…this sounds nice, but how? Hot water allows your arteries and veins to dilate, or get bigger, making it easier for your heart to pump. The double whammy? When you are relaxed, you breathe deeper, therefore, you circulate highly oxygenated blood during your bath. Get your soak on!

See, DreamChaser, taking care of your heart can be easy and fun! On this World Heart Day, celebrate your own heart health with one of these fun ideas. Here's to a happy heart, one day at a time! Shine On!

<![CDATA[Finding Inspiration in the Triumph of Others. 5 Life Lessons from a Kid’s Success Story]]>Tue, 13 Sep 2022 11:00:00 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/finding-inspiration-in-the-triumph-of-others-5-life-lessons-from-a-kids-success-storyBy Erika Fehrenbach Prell
An interesting thing happened to me the other day…let’s just call it a huge dose of perspective. A quick recap, DreamChaser. At SoulShine Life Connections, we are fueled by helping you on your Best Life journey. At the heart of this is your goals, and one of the best ways to achieve those big, bold, audacious goals is to chunk them into bite-sized pieces and focus on doing the little things daily to push your needle in the right direction. Doing this consistently combined with good ole time and a heavy dose of patience and grit will inevitably lead to success.

But, let's be real, it can be a grind. During the process of baby steps, while effective, can seem like you aren't making progress. The truth is, you are making progress but, in your process of becoming what you have set out to achieve, you might not notice the changes. You might not notice…but others do!

Here's where the huge perspective came into my life recently thanks to my oldest son, Ethan. Last year, this baseball-obsessed young man threw out a huge goal. He decided to try out for a local baseball travel team. This team has 3 skill-based teams with the best team having just taken third place in the 13U Babe Ruth World Series. Ethan declared he would make the highest team and would be in the 14U World Series in summer 2022. Whoa…big goals, buddy, but go for it.

Ethan made the 2nd team but was not deterred. He put in the extra work daily with practice, hitting and pitching lessons, stretch training and speed, and focused mindset work. In May, he was moved up to the highest team, which was a huge accomplishment since it was a well-established team, with the warning he would need to earn playing time. He continued to show up, even when his confidence was low. Fast forward to the Regional Championship, he was put in suddenly as a pinch hitter, resulting in a single that scored the go-ahead run! Off to the World Series!! It was at the World Series that his hot bat continued, moving him from batting 9th to batting 2nd for the last 3 games. 

He did exactly what he said he was going to do. From the highlight reel view, it looked like this kid came out of nowhere. The truth? He consistently showed up with his best effort and attitude, despite it being hard or even when he didn't want to. He had times of embarrassment when former teammates teased him when they saw he wasn't playing. He dealt with frustration when it didn't seem he was being recognized for his effort. He kept his eye on his goal, put his head down, and kept going. And, it was worth it! It was glorious to see, and an amazing demonstration that those small, everyday actions both make a difference and pay off.

While there were many lessons that Ethan demonstrated on his goal-getting journey, here are the top 5 that I will carry with me…and, I encourage you to do the same:

1. Be specific on your goals. The clearer your goals, the easier it is to see the actions you need to take to get there. Also, rarely will you exceed what you set out to do so aim high! You are more capable than you give yourself credit for, DreamChaser.

2. Stumbles might hurt but won’t crush you - if you don't let them! Any goal worth achieving will have stumbles and obstacles along the way. Embrace the suck. Find the blessing in the stressing…look for the positives and find the lessons. Lean into working on a positive mindset.

3. Don't quit before payday. Those goals get harder right before the triumph. You are tired, frustrated, just want to get there already. Focus on your areas of control - your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Keep pushing through…it will be worth it!

4. You have done the work - you are ready! A special kind of negative, limiting belief often sets in right before your triumph, often called Fear of Success. Thoughts that you might not be able to pull this off or keep it going or aren't deserving…so many ways for that negativity to creep in. Here's the truth. You've done the work. You have changed to be the person who can pull this off. Your time is now so step into that greatness.

5. Enjoy the view! You've made it to the top of the mountain. Time to stop and enjoy the view! The funny thing about reaching the top of one mountaintop is suddenly more are uncovered, ones that were hidden until now. Listen to me…they can wait. They aren't going anywhere. Take time to sit in and enjoy your triumph. Celebrate all you have done to get here!

It can be easier to see the progress in others, especially as you are in the middle of your own journey. Use this inspiration from others to fuel your own journey. Don't forget this part…you might be inspiring someone else. Be the evidence…embrace the process…and enjoy the ride! Shine On!

<![CDATA[The Time Conundrum... Not having time, to make time, to spend time, on the things that really matter...And What To Do About It.]]>Tue, 06 Sep 2022 11:48:32 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/the-time-conundrum-not-having-time-to-make-time-to-spend-time-on-the-things-that-really-matterand-what-to-do-about-itBy Jackie White
Time is a little like trying to hold onto jello, it just keeps slipping through your fingers no matter how hard you try to manage it. The problem seems to be that we are all just too busy, right? Well, not really. There are many reasons why we find ourselves in this vicious time-lacking life and all of the reasons are really good but have a warped sense of what is reasonable. Let me explain.

According to a 2020 Gallup poll, in America, women make up almost half of the workforce, and yet they still are managing most of the household duties like laundry, cleaning and cooking as well as caring for children on a daily basis. Doh! Right there, many of us can identify why we don’t have any time.

On top of that let's expand on kid management. Depending on your child’s age, you could be chauffeuring them all around town, attending sporting events, volunteering to manage a scout troop, attending band concerts, helping with homework, running out to get pants when they suddenly have grown 5 inches, delivering them to the dentist, ortho and doctor appointments, hosting birthday parties and sleepovers…Whew! It’s a job in itself to raise the kids, right?!

Now, let’s add in aging parents. The sandwich generation tends to fall on the shoulders of the daughters who are trying to raise their own children but need to help their own parents financially, physically, or emotionally. Dealing with medical, self-care, or housing issues for aging parents can be difficult to navigate practically and emotionally. It’s tough to see parents needing aid in some way or form. It can be downright exhausting.

When you think that is too much, don’t forget that some of you have a spouse or partner who might need some attention too. That partnership needs nurturing as well. Psst, when was the last time you got out of those sweatpants and got yourself gussied up for a night on the town? Ya, I know, that’s exhausting too!

By this time you might be saying, the question shouldn’t be “why don’t I have any time for myself?”, instead, it should be “How could I possibly have time for myself?”. That’s the question we are here to answer for you.

Let me step onto my soapbox now. Please feel me when I say, the remedy to all of this craziness is getting ORGANIZED, PRIORITIZED, and BAPTIZED into a new religion of self-love! C’mon Girl, get pumped up! Raise your hands to the sky and say “Hallelujah!” 

The reinforcements are here to help! SoulShine has you on this! We are offering a FREE Squeeze the Day Time Organization Challenge. We want you to Squeeze Each Day (see what we did there? That’s “seize the day” for those of you who aren’t getting my drift). Seizing each day with a plan of organization will help you manage your load. We are also helping you decide what the important stuff is that has to get on the schedule. Stuff like caring for yourself. You know being organized is a form of self-care! We will do all this with fun and a few laughs and I am thinking right about now, that you may need just that!

Please join us September 27-30 for a fun, free week of getting organized! Click the link below to get yourself back on the list!


Shine On!

<![CDATA[The Recipe for a Good Day is a Good Morning Routine]]>Tue, 23 Aug 2022 11:00:00 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/the-recipe-for-a-good-day-is-a-good-morning-routineBy Jackie White

Good morning Sunshine! How are you on this glorious day? Some of you jump on that greeting and are peppy as all get out, and then some of you pull the pillow over their heads and grumble about going back to sleep.  No matter your affinity for the morning, there is one thing we all can benefit from and that’s a morning routine.

What’s the big deal? Morning routines will set the stage for being productive, intentional, happy, and less stressed. When you take the time to go through a pre-set routine each morning you are preparing yourself for the day. You are systematically checking boxes of accomplishments before the day has barely started. This psychologically sets you up for success. Admiral William McRaven wrote a book about it called Make Your Bed. In it, he says “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. He means that the simple act of making your bed is an accomplishment that sets the tone for the rest of the day. 

Are you in? Let’s take a look at what a good morning routine looks like. You can modify this however you see fit, but this framework is a place where you can begin.

Get up before everyone else: This is a great way to carve out time for yourself before the rat race begins. 
Make Your Bed: Set yourself up for success by accomplishing a task right away.
Drink Lemon Water: This is amazingly good for your body as it detoxes and wakes up your system.
Enjoy Your Coffee: Enjoy your morning java. Don’t glug it down for a shot of caffeine.
Eat Breakfast: Skip the donuts and go for a good dose of protein in the morning. It will fuel your body for the start of the day.
Meditate: The morning is a great time to ground yourself through meditation.
Gratitude Journaling: Taking time to write down what you are grateful for helps keep your mindset in a positive state.
Exercise: Morning exercise gets the blood pumping and sets the intention for healthy choices.
Shower: Utilize your time in the shower to curate big ideas. Many people find the shower a great medium for your brain to tap into your inner intelligence.
Hug and Love on Your Peeps: Don’t forget to share the love with your peeps!

Now doesn’t that sound better than rolling out of bed and racing against the clock? So much more peaceful and accomplished. Adopt what works for you. Maybe start with your top 1 or 2 things to implement in your routine and as you get comfortable, add in more. 

Join the successful productive people of the world, get your butt up and let’s get in the routine Sunshine!

Oh yes and don’t forget to Shine On!

<![CDATA[Tis the Season to Feel All the Feels. Time to Double Down on the Self-Care]]>Tue, 16 Aug 2022 19:24:02 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/tis-the-season-to-feel-all-the-feels-time-to-double-down-on-the-self-careBy Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Anyone else riding the back to school emotional rollercoaster? This seasonal transition seems to always be highly charged, even if you are excited for, ahem, school to resume. Even the most excited parent may find themselves unexpectedly sobbing at the Target back to school flyer, especially if any of these scenarios are happening:
  • Your baby is starting preschool, 4K or, gasp, Kindergarten
  • Your child is moving onto a bigger school like Middle or High School
  • You are dropping a kid off to college for the first, or 4th, time
  • Your adult child gets their first apartment
  • You are feeling melancholy that summer is almost done

Spoiler…these are just some of the things that Jackie and I have going on in our lives - thank goodness we each have a kid with no major, emotionally charged milestones…this year. And, we know we aren’t alone! Granted, some of you might be like, nope…not me! As King George III from the popular, and hilarious, musical Hamilton would say, “Great, awesome”! Chances are, the time will come when this does hit home so you just might want to bookmark this blog, or you may know someone that is feeling all the feels right now and on an emotional rollercoaster, send this to them! 

There are always times in our lives that we will feel these extra feels. We have a solution to ease this season for you…double down on the self-care! If you are a mom with a family, no matter the ages of your kids, you are busy. You wear multiple hats and have to get all those things done. We have a tendency to put our heads down and push through, and forget about stopping for a second to take care of ourselves. 

Let me stop you right there, DreamChaser! As we like to point out, taking care of yourself is a daily must-do, not a have-to or get-to or when I have time-to. And, in times of high emotion or stress, a great solution is to double down, or do more, self-care, not less! To help you out, here is an approach we recommend when emotions are running on high:

1. Become Aware
As with most things, it all starts with awareness. You need to realize you are in a high emotional or stressed state so you can take the proper action to calm that chaos! How does this show up in your life? Are you tired or low energy? Are you quick to anger or snap at others? Do you feel scattered or unfocused? Are you teary? Take note of your signs so you know what to do to feel better!

2. Feel Those Feels
This is a big one…and often skipped over. Why do we avoid feelings, anyway?!? Seriously, we often avoid feeling those feelings at all costs. I challenge you to sit in them for as long as you need…avoiding or suppressing feelings has a tendency to make them compound or bubble up later. Feel them, then find a way to pull yourself up to deal with them.

3. Double Down Time!
Pull out your Calm the Chaos plan. (If you haven’t had the pleasure of doing this with us yet, stay tuned for the next opportunity to develop your personal Calm the Chaos plan. In the meantime, brainstorm a list of activities that help you feel at peace or centered such as exercising, meditating, reading a book, watching a movie, or having a coffee with a friend.) First, look at the things you have to get done…I’m talking the bare bones, not all the bonus extras you pack into your day to day. Look at the actual time they need to be done. Spread out these activities accordingly. You should have freed up some much-needed time to do something you WANT to do, not HAVE to do. Fill that time with something for YOU. 

4. Repeat as Needed
Still feeling emotional or stressed? Pick another self-love activity. Repeat until you feel more like yourself. 

Here’s the truth. If you have children, you will reach a point where you are like, “whoa, how do I already have a (kindergartener, senior in high school, college freshman)”. Putting off school shoes shopping to go for a walk or go to the pool with your kid will be a better use of your time and just might be the ticket to soothing that mama heart. Shine On!

<![CDATA[Stay Off The Crazy Train! 10 Tips To Help You Transition from Summer To Back To School]]>Tue, 09 Aug 2022 11:00:00 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/stay-off-the-crazy-train-10-tips-to-help-you-transition-from-summer-to-back-to-schoolBy Jackie White
It’s August. All aboard The Crazy Train! It is the time of the year to cram in all the lasts of the summer like swimming, camping, roasting marshmallows, and picnicking. It’s also the time to get organized for the upcoming school year. What school supplies are needed…you think darn it where did I put that dang list? You wonder do the kid’s shoes still fit? Oh thank goodness they do, but just when you thought you could mark that off your list, you realize they have a hole in them!   Now, who needs new underwear? Everyone! And oh my gosh, your son grew 8” and all of his pants are highwaters…the list goes on and It can become too much! 

The question then becomes how do you do all this and stay sane? We got you! The following framework will help you ease the transition from summer to back to school.

1. Enjoy the Last Bit of Summer with your Kids: Grab the calendar and pencil in the last few events of the summer. When you are doing the event, make sure to stay mindful of it. Take pictures and participate in the memory you are sharing with your kids, it’s important!

Find Time for Yourself: It might seem impossible to squeak in some time just for you, but this too is important. Get up a little earlier, plan time with a friend, or hey, go all out and get a massage. Lord knows you're going to need one once the chaos of the school year ensues!

3. Stay Energized: Energy is everything and when you are dragging everything seems more difficult. Go to bed and sleep minimally for 8 hours. Get rid of the phone on the bedside table because electronics and sleep do not go together. Finally, get your body moving. It’s a great time to establish a fitness routine to support hectic lifestyles.

4. Get Ready for School: Do not drag your feet on this. Hit the stores early for what your kids need. Make sure you have thoroughly reviewed everything the kids will need: supplies, lunch boxes, lunch money, bus pass, lock for the locker, and don’t forget the athletic stuff like cleats or mouthguards.

5. Sports: Speaking of athletic stuff, there is a lot to manage here. Get signed up for the team, go to tryouts, and purchase any required equipment or uniform. Make sure to get the doctor to fill out the sports forms needed too.

6. Appointments/Sign-Ups: Set some time aside to sit down and make the calls for doctor and dentist/ortho appointments. Sign up for snacks for the team, scouts, tutoring, or any other extracurricular activities.

7. IEP/504 Plans: If you have a kid with special needs, please make sure to establish their individual learning plan or 504 plan. This will set expectations for the accommodations and support your kids will receive. You may have to push a bit to get these documents going, so start early.

8. Medicine/Allergy Plans: If your child has allergies or needs to take medicine at school. Make sure to complete all the necessary paperwork and submit it along with your child’s medicines before school starts. 

9. Establish Schedules and Routines: Take the time now to plan out a schedule and routines to help alleviate the chaos back to school brings about. While you are at it, get those kids to bed earlier and please set a shower schedule! You definitely don’t want to be wrangling those stinky kids the night before school starts!

10. Stay On It! Once you get all the balls in the air, pat yourself on the back..but don’t drop the balls! LOL! Seriously though, give yourself a high five (don’t drop the balls!) and then prepare to manage all the pieces now, by being proactive and putting together reminders for you to continue to stay organized.

And there you have it! 10 top tips to stay off that crazy train called August! Stay tuned and look for more organization and time management tips to help you calm your chaos!

Shine On! 

<![CDATA[It's Coming…Back to School! 3 Things To Do Right Now for a Stress-free Return to School]]>Tue, 02 Aug 2022 10:25:49 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/its-comingback-to-school-3-things-to-do-right-now-for-a-stress-free-return-to-schoolBy Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Um…how is it August already?!? Whoa. Know what that means? We are entering the BTS (Back to School) zone. This might make you jump for joy as you are over all the kids fighting, whining, and a constant need to entertain the troops, or you might be lamenting that it's going too fast. (Or, you are like me and fluctuate between the two, depending on the current situation. The days are l-o-n-g sometimes…amirite?!?).

Either way, the time will pass, and the first day of school will seem to pop out of nowhere. Suddenly, the last days of summer are replaced with a frantic flurry of getting everything in place. And, good luck finding those elusive classic Crayola colored pencils on the classroom supplies list. Side note, have you noticed there is always 1 or 2 items on each list you can't find anywhere? What's the deal with that anyway? Sorry, I digress…

Man, I'm feeling stressed just talking about it! What if I said I had 3 things you can do right now to set you up for a stress-free back to school transition? That got your attention! In the name of protecting the summer vibes, let's do this!

#1 - Get Your Schedule On
Chances are your kids and you (yes, you!) are due for appointments. You know, all the routine things we forget about like dental, orthodontist, eye, annual physical, influenza and other vaccines, to name a few. Have a middle or high school athlete? Don't forget the sports physical that is required every 2 years! These are not only necessary routine health but also ones that book out weeks or months in advance. While you are at it, fill out any necessary paperwork or online registrations. This might not sound like a fun task…lol. But, a little focused time and attention here, I'm talking an hour or so, will save you so much time and stress later. 

#2 - Gear Up
Back to school time comes with new gear…school supplies, backpacks, shoes, clothes and any fall sports needs like volleyball or cross country shoes. As you get closer to September, these items become as elusive as spotting a jaguar in the rainforest. Know what else? There are often really great deals to be had starting now. Whether you choose Amazon delivery or shopping in person, get your gear now!

#3 - Plan It Out
Ready for the game changer? Get a large, weekly calendar. This can be paper or, my new purchase, a dry erase one that came with a variety of colored markers. Give each person in your family a section; for example, my calendar is divided into 6 equal rows, 5 rows for each family member and 1 row for that evenings meal. Every week, write out each person's commitments. (I also have colors assigned to each family member.) This is taped on the backslash in my kitchen, opposite where the kids sit for breakfast and right above the silverware…so, in plain view for even the most oblivious teenager or, ahem, significant other. This calendar has a bonus feature. Not only will it help everyone know what is going on that week, it can also allow you, the parent, to help kids take on the responsibility of preparing for these activities. No matter the age, it's good for kids to take on packing their sports gear or snacks. Delegation, baby!

Just think how much less stressed you will be during the final week of summer having these big tasks checked off the list? Get to it so you can squeeze every last good time out this summer! Shine On!

<![CDATA[Judgment Detox. Choosing Kindness Over Judgment]]>Tue, 26 Jul 2022 10:49:54 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/judgment-detox-choosing-kindness-over-judgmentBy Jackie White
It’s so easy to assume someone acts a certain way because you can “logically” see that they are just a jerk or stupid or ignorant or uncaring… You put in the descriptor. We all do it. We all decide that we know why someone is behaving a certain way but the truth is most of the time we don’t know.

We don’t know what might be driving their behavior because we don’t know their story. We don’t know that they were bullied as a child and now face the world with fear and anger. We don’t know that their controlling behavior is a result of a traumatic past that left them completely under the control of someone else. We don’t know if they are fighting depression every day and to keep their mind from racing they need to compulsively sweep their sidewalk.

                             “Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” ~ Carl Jung

Maybe it is that thinking is difficult and we just slap a definition on another. Maybe it’s we assume that we know because we need to have a story about the person. We like to have definitions like “the busy body” or “the neighborhood jerk” or maybe it’s the “ego-inflated co-worker”. We’ve all done it. I’ve done it. I’m not proud of it. So, how about starting today we take a judgment detox? 

Let’s begin with why do we judge others?

More often than not, the things we judge in others are a reflection of the things we cannot accept about ourselves. The yardstick we use for ourselves is the yardstick we use for the world. The way you measure yourself is how you measure others, and how you assume others measure you. Ugh, that’s harsh, but in many cases true.

According to research by psychology professor, Dustin Wood, “Your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality. Seeing others positively reveals your own positive traits and how satisfied you are with your own life, and how much others like you.

Starting a judgment detox requires us to take a hard look at ourselves and our habits. We have to step back and catch our thinking and reframe it. In the book “Judgment Detox” by Gabrielle Bernstein, she states the first step is to look at your judgment and bring awareness to it. It is important to bring awareness to it yet keep some compassion for ourselves. We all make mistakes and get into not-so-good habits, so give yourself a break and release the guilt or shame you might have. A prayer she offers is “I forgive this thought and I choose again”.

After awareness, it is important to realize that when you judge others, you are not defining them, you are defining yourself. When you frame your judgment in this light, you might feel some resistance, but it is important to examine why you are judging. We all have things we need to work on and this is an opportunity to get honest with ourselves and be compassionate with others.

              “When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Earl Nightingale

Next up, interrupt your pattern of judging by bringing compassion towards the person and forgiveness for yourself. Choose another response, move on and do better next time.

To summarize, the steps for a judgment detox are as follows:

  1. Look at your judgment and bring awareness to it.
  2. It is essential to realize that when you judge others, you are not defining them, you are defining yourself.
  3. Interrupt the pattern of judging
  4. Bring the focus to compassion for the person and for yourself
  5. Choose another response
  6. Let it go and do better next time.

                            “You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Always”

It really is all about catching our natural desire to want to define someone and instead ask ourselves what could this person be going through that I am unaware of? Could they be struggling or maybe they are doing the very best that they can right now? Let’s hope others have the same grace for us, right?

So just for today, and tomorrow and for always, choose kindness and compassion.

Shine On!

<![CDATA[Muddled Failure…The Secret Ingredient to the Mojito Cocktail of Your Life]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2022 11:00:00 GMThttps://www.findyoursoulshine.com/blog/muddled-failurethe-secret-ingredient-to-the-mojito-cocktail-of-your-lifeBy Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Mmmmmmm…mojitos. Nothing says summer beverage like a refreshing mojito. Lime, simple syrup, soda or sparkling water, ice, mint. To rum or not, that's up to you, either way, mojitos are the ultimate in summer refreshment. Well, as long as that mint is muddled properly.

I'll be real. I've had my fair share of mojitos, enough to develop a discerning palette for a good one. The difference maker is properly muddled mint. Muddling mint and other herbs or fruits is a way to release their juices and oils by mashing them, which allows for a better flavor than a whole mint leaf or fruit piece. Muddling is an art, applying a gentle yet firm pressing motion that releases the flavor without destroying the leaves. It takes finesse, practice, patience and time. Frankly, it's an extra step that many mixologists skip, even though it elevates the final mojito product as well as the enjoyment of the sipper.

Why am I talking about mojitos and muddled mint on a blog dedicated to your best life journey? Well, first, it's fun…lol…and, we are all about infusing fun at SoulShine. But also, muddled mint is a fun and unique way to look at failure in your life. Huh? Let me explain. 

Failure is not looked at favorably by most of us; in fact, failure is often something we try to avoid at all costs. And, when failure happens, we try to move on as quickly as possible. Why? Many reasons but one of the most common is that failure is uncomfortable. Failure can trigger a negative pathway fueled by self-doubt and negative self-talk.

One thing you can count on is that your Inspiration Catalysts are going to challenge beliefs like this. You see, failure has an undeserved bad reputation. Failing means you are going after something big, something worthwhile…I mean, if it wasn't new to you or hard, you would already know how to do it, right? Failure reveals lessons…perhaps uncovering a different path or different way to get the result you want. Failure builds resilience as you get back up and confidence in your abilities when you push through to success. But, it’s up to you to make the effort to see failure this way.

You see, failure is not the enemy…it is the ultimate best life teacher. Like mint in the mojito, you need to properly muddle it to release its benefits to the cocktail of your life. Left whole, failure tends to sour your experience, leading to the path of negativity. Rather, taking the time to pause and muddle the failure releases failures true form, one to make you better. What do I mean by muddling failure? Taking the time and extra step to gently, yet intentionally, press into the failure…really lean into it for a minute. Look for what it can teach you, then apply these nuggets as you move forward. That’s the extra step that releases the failure’s life enhancing powers, and it’s definitely worth the effort!

So, let’s raise a glass and toast - here’s to muddling failures…and, perhaps, a few mojitos as well! Shine On!