By: Jackie White
Moments come and go, but memories are burned in our brain. So, how do you take an ordinary day and turn it into a memory of a lifetime? In the book, The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, they have researched what are the ingredients that make up a lasting memory.
Life moves fast and besides the occasional birthday or holiday celebration, life can sometimes feel like a blur. How can you slow down that blur and pop some excitement or interest into the flatness of the day to day routine? You begin by being intentional about setting up those moments. Here are some strategies and actions you can take to make an ordinary day and turn into an extraordinary day:
Rise Above the Routine
These experiences make us feel joyful, engaged, amazed and motivated. Examples of these moments are those that make you want to pull out the camera (and no, I am not talking about photographing your breakfast). Think spontaneous road trip, competing in a sports event or going to a party.
Your Turn: A great way to step out of the routine is to create a list of Your Perfect 30 Days. If you are given a limited time to live – really live, what would you do in your Perfect 30 Days? Choose at least 3 items off your list and go do them!
Stretch out of your Comfort Zone
I know, immediately you don’t like this one. It can make you feel uncomfortable. Hear me out. What would you do if you could not fail? What if you walked through that fear of failure? Anytime, you step into the arena of trying something new, it can be exhilarating and revitalizing! To keep the excitement in life, you have got to do this!
Your Turn: Pick one thing (or more!) to do that takes you out of your Comfort Zone. Do this in the next 30 days. You have been in that Comfort Zone for so long, you might need to brainstorm and write down ideas until you get back into the flow of what is possible.
This one is easy! We can all do this, yet many of us don’t take the time to extend niceties or gratitude towards others. How does doing this make a memorable moment for you? Being kind to others has a boomerang effect. Expressing gratitude to others not only makes the recipient feel good, it makes the grateful person feel good too.
Your Turn: Choose someone who you know you could make a positive difference in their life just by acknowledging them or doing something for them. A great way to do this is through doing a service project for others. An example would could visit a nursing home and brighten the day of a resident.
Connect with Others
It is great to get together and have coffee with a good friend. Those moments are enjoyable, but not always memorable. The key to strengthen those connections through meaningful conversation or activities you do together.
Your Turn: Find an activity or purpose you can engage in with a friend. Maybe it’s a shared love of helping others, cleaning up a local park or discussing a mutual passion. For example, if you and your friend like reading, you could discuss a book or better yet, create a book club. Take that everyday interaction and strengthen the connection.
You now have some concrete ways you take the day to day routine and infuse more memorable moments. For more information on how to create moments, check out The Power of Moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Third times a charm,...or so they say. This is my third go-around with all things baby. And since there is a seven-year gap between my middle child and baby, it is a bit like being a first-time mom, except with the chill factor of being number three. It’s probably okay that I don’t remember most of “the baby things” because many of them have changed anyway!
One thing that has changed a bit is when to introduce baby foods. The recommendation per the American Academy of Pediatrics is introducing solid foods at six months, which is a bit later than it was with my first two kids. What has not changed is how to introduce the foods: slowly over days and one at a time to assess for allergies,starting with basic rice cereal then other bland foods such as apples, bananas, pears, etc. Being a nurse practitioner, I appreciate the evidence behind these recommendations. For details regarding this information, head over to the American Association of Pediatrics’ website at www.aap.org.
I would like to give some insight into what I finally figured out this time around...a smarter schedule for introducing these goods to potentially decrease constipation. Here’s the bottom line, breast milk and formula are very easy to digest. However, as you start to introduce solids, your baby’s digestive tract actually has to start working. And, as us adults may realize, when you change your diet, your digestive patterns change with it. Often, constipation is the result for babies. And, adding to this problem, many of the recommended first foods are very constipating, including:
On the flipside, here are some of the best foods to alleviate constipation:
Here is the solution that no one seems to mention: alternate constipating foods with non-constipating foods! I recommend having prunes and apricots ready in your arsenal if constipation does become a problem. Here is an example:
Once several foods have been introduced without issue and your baby is tolerating larger servings, you can explore baby food combinations that contain constipating and non-constipating foods in 1 jar (like, pears, carrots, and blueberries). Hope this helps!
By Jackie White
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, three words we know we have heard before, but are you living them? It’s Fourth of July. Along with celebrating the freedom provided to us in America, you should reflect on your own life to see if you are living life to its fullest.
Today we commemorate the Declaration of Independence. It says that Americans have the basic human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Wow, that’s deep. Think about it. Those who came before us have thought through what this country should be founded on. What each of the future generations should hold dear. Let’s chat a bit about that. What do these three words mean to you? Have you given it any thought? If not, today is the day. These three words should be guiding you to live a life that reflects the rights you have been given just by being an American.
Life: You have been given the right to live your life as you see fit. Having said that, know that life goes by in a blink of an eye. Are you placing importance of living your life with intention? This has been given to you by your forefathers. You can create what your life experience is all about. Are you living in accordance with who you are supposed to be, according to you? If you aren’t sure, here is a gut check for you, a literal gut check. When you think of the path your life is taking, how does it feel? Is your stomach turning or yearning for more? If it is, then it’s time to adjust the sails and remember or discover who you really are. It’s an obligation to your soul to live out the life you were destined to live. It’s an obligation to those you gave you that right way back in 1776. It’s ultimately, an obligation to yourself to live your life in the way that best fits who you are supposed to be. Do not waste this opportunity.
Liberty: A word and a concept we can take for granted. I don’t know why because it allows us to live the life we choose to live. Society can try to mold you into a person that might not be you. Responsibilities can pull you in different directions. But you have the absolute freedom to create your life experience. It is your right and I would argue, duty, to live your life as a free person. That is a gift that should not be wasted. Think about how many people in the world today who do not have that freedom. You are one of the lucky ones, so get to getting on with living your life in a manner that satisfies your dreams and also benefits others. Yes, I said benefiting others. The meaning of your life will expand as you not only follow your dreams, but also when you do for others. Remember the authors of The Declaration of Independence sacrificed to provide these opportunities for themselves and for you. At the very least, you can pass on the favor.
Happiness: The pursuit of happiness is an inalienable right in America. In other words, it is your right as an American to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy as long as you are not violating the rights of others. If our forefathers didn’t think happiness was important, it would never have made into a document that outlines as a right. So, are you pursuing happiness? Are you choosing a mindset that focuses on positivity? Living your life in gratitude is synonymous with living a life of happiness. When you are grateful for whatever it is you have, it is impossible to feel unhappy about what you don’t have.There is always, always, always something to be grateful for. I think the wording “the pursuit of happiness” is especially important to note because it indicates that happiness is a journey, a choice to be made. It is not bestowed upon you or falls from the sky, it is your responsibility to pursue your own happiness.
So, there it is. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s your invitation to start living the life you want. Those passions, and those desires gnawing at you are telling you there is more life to live. There is more meaning in your life to live. Now is a great occasion to embark upon fulfilling the dreams of our forefathers by fulfilling the dreams in your heart and soul.
For more inspiration and guidance on how to live your best life, go to www. FindYourSoulShine.com
The best way to learn is from your own mistakes; the next best way to learn is from the mistakes of others. I do not want to assume other first-time homeowners are as clueless as my husband, Adam, and I were. But in case others could benefit from the mistakes we have made, I impart my knowledge onto you (and, if nothing else, you might get a laugh out of these). Unfortunately, since neither of us are particularly handy (Adam always likes to say that his tool box contains a cell phone and a credit card), I shudder to think of how many other things we have forgotten, but here are my top five.
Lesson #1 - Furnace Filters Need Changing
Close to two years after moving into our first house, I started to notice that it was dusty all the time. I’m talking, just got done dusting the coffee table, and five minutes later you could write a letter in it. I assumed the increased dust was because of all the construction going on in our neighborhood. My father-in-law happened to be visiting, and I casually mentioned to him that the dust level was driving me crazy. He said the construction could be contributing to it, and we might need to change our furnace filter more frequently.
Excuse me, what? Change the furnace filter?
Noticing our shock, he asked when the last time we had changed our furnace filter. Adam responded with what we were both thinking, “What do you mean you have to change your furnace filter?”
As it turns out, you have to change your furnace filter, but different furnaces have different filters AND different filters need changing on specific schedules. For instance, at our first house, it needed to be changed every six months, and at our current house, it needs changing every month. In case you were wondering, the dust situation does improve greatly once you change your furnace filter.
Lesson #2 - Water Softeners Run Out of Salt
Incidentally, we learned another lesson along with the furnace filter one. My father was also at our house, so he, my father-in-law, and Adam went downstairs to the utility room to check out the furnace. My dad asked if we had refilled our water softener.
Again, excuse me, what? What do you refill it with? And, by the way, what’s a water softener?
Depending on the water in the area, not all houses have water softeners, so do not be too alarmed if you are completely confused. Our current house does not have one, but our previous house did. But if you have a water softener, in order for it to actually work, you have to add water softening salt to it every couple of months. Huh, who knew? Clearly, not Adam or me.
Lesson #3 - Buy The Snowblower Before It Snows
I live in Wisconsin. In case you’re unfamiliar with Wisconsin winters, it snows. A lot. So, if you happen to live in a climate that doesn’t snow, you can skip this specific lesson, but keep in mind there is a good chance something in your climate requires a special tool or preparation that is better to have before it’s needed. Ask an experienced homeowner if you are totally clueless about what that might be.
When we moved from our condo, where our snow was magically removed, to our first house, I told Adam I had budgeted money for a snowblower. He decided that he didn’t need one; we didn’t have that much sidewalk or driveway. He didn’t want to be “that guy” that had a snowblower when a shovel would be fine. As snow removal was part of his marriage vows (I am only sort of kidding on this. I made it clear when we were talking about getting a house that I had never mowed the lawn or used a snowblower, and I really had no intention to start.), I asked one more time if he was sure he didn’t want a snowblower. He was adamant; his ergonomically correct snow shovel would do the trick. Okie dokie.
Fast forward to after a huge snowstorm dumped like 16 inches of wet, heavy snow. I was eight weeks pregnant and definitely not helping with snow removal (let’s be real, I wouldn’t have even if I wasn’t pregnant), so Adam and his snow shovel went outside to get to work. About 2 hours later, the doorbell rang, which I thought was odd. I answered the door, and there stood Adam. He was a hot mess--flushed cheeks from exertion, covered in sweat, and his hat barely on his head. He looked at me, holding his now-broken, ergonomically correct shovel and announced, “I broke my shovel. I’m only halfway done. I’m buying a snowblower.”
I stifled a laugh as well as an “I told you so,” and said good luck. He went to the local hardware store and, luckily, bought the very last snowblower in the entire city. In fact, as he was about to purchase it, there was a call from another store asking if they had any left. That solidified the purchase for sure.
There are two lessons here. One, if you live where it snows and you have a sidewalk and/or driveway, buy a snowblower. Two, buy the snowblower before the snow begins to fall.
We ended up having record snowfall that first winter in our house--over 100 inches! Adam lucked out on getting that last snowblower, and I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for the poor person, or people, who were not so lucky. Ironically, the two years we were in our condo, where snow removal was included, it barely snowed. Go figure!
Lesson #4 – Grass Farming is Hard Work
I always thought that outside plants and grass grew all by themselves, and that once it’s established, grass is as resilient as are some plants. Perennials, like hostas, are very hearty plants. For you fellow non-gardeners, words like “resilient” and “hearty” translates to “hard to kill.” However, the key is established plants/grass. Root systems for grass and “hearty” plants are deeper, but it can take a few years to reach this point. And even the hearty plants go through shock when transplanted!
To get to this point, you need to water and water frequently. I’m talking daily. I’m talking find-someone-to-do-it-for-you-if-you-don’t-have-a-sprinkler-system. Our first go-round with this, we tried to fashion a system of connected sprinklers on a timer. This had to be hilarious to watch. You see, every additional sprinkler added decreases the force, and distance of the stream. So there we were, trying to cover the entire yard with just the right amount of sprinklers. This would be fine EXCEPT we also had to carefully remove the sprinkler from the hose so we could water the perennials at a slow trickle for 10 minutes daily.
I will be happy to report, the plants survived despite abandoning them after doing this for about two weeks. I decided plants outside need to figure out how to survive. And, they did…but I probably just got lucky. And you better believe we invested in a sprinkler system in our current house.
Lesson #5 - Know How to Turn Off Your Water
Ok, this happened well after being a first-time homeowner, but is the most valuable lesson to share. We were getting our first house ready to be listed when we woke up to our refrigerator leaking water. A small hole had developed in the hose that brought water to the fridge, and it had leaked through the floor into the basement. It was amazing how much damage happened after only a few hours!
Knowing how to turn off the water was imperative to stopping the issue from causing more damage. Two more points:one,make sure you have access to the water shutoff valve (very important if you are finishing the area where it is), and two, turn your water off when you are out of town, just in case.
Let’s be real…I could go on and on. Check back for more stories of home ownership faux pas. I truly hope you can find the joy in first-time home ownership just as we did...these stories have entertained us for years!
Have you been wondering where we came up with the name SoulShine? It was an interesting journey. In fact, we originally had a completely different name selected...we even had a website and the start of a logo. Then, I happened to do a little research (aka, I turned to Google, because, let’s be real, that’s what being an adult is…googling the answers to things). Much to our surprise and naivety, our original name had scandalous definitions in Urban Dictionary. So let this be a lesson to you when naming your future company--do your research first. You’re welcome.
We went back to the drawing board and brainstorming, and eventually SoulShine surfaced as our favorite. Learning is when you take a failure and use it to get a different outcome, right? Of course, before we registered the new domain, we went back to Google and Urban Dictionary. In fact, it was actually the definition in Urban Dictionary that solidified the name for me. SoulShine is defined there as “the act of being frickin' awesome” (except the real f-bomb is used).
I know our relationship is new, so I will let you in on something. I. Love. Swearing. Now that I have children, I don’t get to do it nearly as much as I like. But there is nothing more fun than a well-placed f-bomb. Hence, my equal love of this name and the potential it holds for everyone. This was a sign from the universe that we had not only nailed our name, but also that we were on the right track with our vision.
Since all amazing relationships are built on a foundation of trust and truth, we will shoot straight with you and provide uncomplicated no nonsense inspiration to help you live your best life. Jackie and I are two people who have a passion for becoming our own version of effing awesome and have a few pointers on where to start and what to avoid. We hope to serve as catalysts to ignite your own spark…your inspirational catalysts so to speak. All the ingredients are in you; we are assisting the reaction to start.
Now that you know the definition of SoulShine, let’s get back to the title of the post-7 reasons you need the act of being frickin' awesome in your life. I mean…who doesn’t want to be work on being frickin' awesome?!?
SoulShine will help you to:
1. Let your light shine
2. Be inspired (in all shapes and forms)
3. Infuse FUN into your life
4. Create your Life Vision
5. Live with a positive attitude through shifting your mindset (it all starts here, my friends)
6. Begin your own personal growth and development (promise, this isn’t a dirty word. You might be surprised that you already are doing this!)
7. Learn something new (so many topics, so little time!)
I just can't stop, so, here are 10 more:
SoulShine will provide you opportunities to:
8. Hear about different perspectives and life journeys of others just like you
9. Uncover your purpose (even if you have no idea where to start)
10. Be accountable to yourself (spoiler alert: this is a game changer)
11. Learn about total life wellness (to do your best, you have to be your best in mind, body, and soul)
12. Find joy (in little and big things, and even harder, the sad or bad things)
13. Practice gratitude (another one of those game changers)
14. Be a part of a community and hearing real life stories (because we are all in this together)
15. Re-frame failure as a positive (failing is key to learning)
16. Laugh (it’s okay to laugh at us…life is too short not to. In fact, I dare you NOT to LOL at some of our
17. Educate yourself through books to add to your reading or audio list
I'm feeling inspired now, so here is a bonus 10:
SoulShine will give you:
18. Recipes and health hacks (who doesn’t like these?)
19. Time-saving tips (we all have the same amount of time…it’s what we do with it that matters)
20. Useful tools (favorite gadgets or exercises to assist with deeper and personal topics)
21. The assistance to help you determine what your Goals are (why you need them, how to write them, and
how to crush them)
22. The inspiration to live with a positive mindset (this is the key to everything else)
23. Resources to help start or progress your journey (there are so many awesome ideas we are working on!)
24. The motivation to get unstuck (ever feel like you are in the movie “Groundhog Day” and everything just
repeats itself over and over? Been there, done that.)
25. The connections (with us and others that might be able to help progress your journey)
26. The courage to stretch your comfort zone (nothing good comes from the comfort zone)
27. So much more that will unfold as we build a positive, supportive, effing awesome community to elevate all
of us together
I’m looking forward to starting this journey together! Shine on!!
Once upon a time in a land not so far away school let out for the summer. Children beamed with joy and parents hugged and cherished their bright little faces. Summertime is here, they exclaimed as they held hands and skipped off the school grounds! They thought it’s a time for slower days, relaxed schedules, sipping lemonade on the porch and whiling the time away. A vision of pure perfection. That is until he third day of summer vacation appeared and suddenly a little voice yelled out brashly “I’m BORED!” The blissful happy playing with toys, the reading of the books, the joy of sibling-love all comes to a crashing halt. Parents wince and know it’s all over. They hang their heads in defeat. Some parents kick it into overdrive and try to entertain the little rascals, but everything they try is still BORING! Parents are exhausted, but then what’s that? A bright twinkling of salvation on the horizon. Could this be the answer to these worn out parent’s prayers? OMG, some parent was coherent enough to come up with the genius idea of a Summer Bucket List!
For those of you unfamiliar with the Summer Bucket List, it is a list that you put together with lots of activities, places to go and things to do over the summer that you can do with your child. The list should have as many items on it as there are days in the summer, so you don’t run out of things to do! Hang it up some place where all can see. You can plan your days around the schedule. You can stop the “I’m Boreds” in their tracks! Best of all, you can even start your Bucket List out with the activity to make the List! Brilliant! One time slot taken care of!Some things to know about Summer Bucket Lists. They are highly effective with children 2-10. The kids eat it up! They want to tick every box on the list and won’t mind spending the time to complete the list. For kids of this age range, many of the things on your list will be free or virtually no charge! Bonus! Things like building a sandcastle, making popsicles or going to the library are fun and affordable for everyone! This is the stuff memories are made out of!
But, what happens when your kids get older? Tweens still need some corralling. They would love to sit in front of the computer and play video games all day, every day, but we all know that’s not a good option. The List looks different of course. Storytime at the Library doesn’t usually make the cut, but Reading Challenges many libraries offer will be accepted. As the kids grow older, the items on the list can get a bit more expensive. Things like Laser Tag or Bowling and many times they will want to include a friend to go places. There are still plenty of free things to do and you get to experience most of them with your child. Again, another opportunity to make memories.
Then there comes a time, when your tween is now a teen. You’ve gotten in the hang of the Summer Bucket List and look forward to spending the time with your children going through each activity. But, suddenly, your teen wants to do things only with their friends and not you. Punch in the gut. They have a summer job and there is no time to do all the fun activities you have put on the List. Sad Face. In all honesty, you will probably do a few things together, but you may as well use that Bucket List to line the bottom of the bird cage.
After the initial blow that your children are growing up and that summer looks different now. It might seem bleak and lonely. You loved going on a picnic with the kids and orchestrating the Lemonade Stand for them. However, do not fret. A new day is dawning and it’s actually brilliant! Are you ready? You make yourself a Summer Bucket List! Think of all the fun things YOU like to do and make yourself a List. Maybe you still go on that picnic but invite a friend or bring a good book! You can take a bike ride to the local farmer’s market or attend a performance, and no one is whining. Wait a second, do you hear that? It’s the sound of peace and quiet. You may have forgotten what that sounds like. Yes, it’s true, as kids grow and become more independent, it can feel like a sad time because they don’t need you like they once did, but you need to look at this time differently. The sky is the limit on what you can do, learn, become in this time for you. You can set a few goals for the summer and make the activities to achieve them be a fun Summer Bucket List item. For example, getting more fit could include a walk in a local park. Take advantage that this time can be for you and don’t totally dismiss those teens, they will likely circle back around and join you for some summer fun too.
Summer Bucket Lists serve different purposes over time. At first, they help you keep your sanity and provide quality activities for your younger children. For the middle years, they become a good time management tool and then the Summer Bucket List becomes a list just for you, filled with things you like to do! So, whatever season of life you are in, sit back and enjoy the days while you check off the boxes of your Summer Bucket List.
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.