By Jackie White
Today is about inspiration. Each day should really be inspiring in some way. What inspires you? What do you see in your world that ignites a fire within you? That which inspires you likely is connected to your purpose here on Earth.
Whatever that thing may be: a beautiful art piece, a soulful song, children playing, a perfectly baked pie or the architecture of a building. All of these can be that thing that inspires you.
The question then is, what do you do with that inspiration? If it excites you and you are drawn to whatever that thing is, then you shouldn’t waste it! Maybe you express it in something you do or make? Whatever that thing is, don’t waste another day not expressing that in your life!
It can be helpful to begin with gratitude when you are looking for inspiration. Gratitude for each day. Gratitude for another chance at this thing we call life. Just recognizing that the best gift you could get is that you get to be here today. In this day and in the days past, you have had the opportunity to live out your life. You have made the choices that have brought you here to where you are today. The great news is that you get another chance to make a choice that can direct your life in ways that inspire you most. You get to be better and do better!
Here is a quick exercise for you to find what inspires you.
Quick - what inspires you? What gets you excited? What would you do for free everyday if given the chance? Write it down.
Quick - what are you good at? What do people tell you are your talents? Write them down.
Quick - throw out failure or any constraints - What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want people to remember you? Write it down.
From this list, you should start seeing some things that really speak to your heart. You should see inspiration, excitement and likely your purpose in life. Those things you have written are your power base. They are powerful to you because they are in alignment with who you are and the reason you are here. Everyone has something special to give and when you express your gifts, you are not only inspiring yourself, you are inspiring others.
That’s how you find it. Inspiration. You owe it to yourself and to the rest of us to express your inspiration because we all feed on others excitement and energy when they are doing the things that feed their soul. Just imagine if everyone was following their calling and doing what inspires them? The positivity and happiness in the world would be buzzing with energy and inspiration!
So, if you take anything from this today, please just start. Start finding ways for you to be inspired. Find ways you can express what really lights you up! A great way to get started is to get involved with SoulShine’s Ready Reset Goal program. It’s free and it is all about inspiration and getting after your dreams and goals. Let us help you find your next right step and get on the path to your inspiration and your dreams! Click here for more information:
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
If you can do more, you should do more. This is the mantra of Bethli Zgraggen, wife, mother of 5, and family nurse practitioner, and why she felt the pull to take a travel nurse position in one of the United States Covid-19 disease hot spots on the East Coast. Most people say they want to help or wish they could, then there are the people that make it happen. Those that know this amazing woman are not surprised that she took action, leading by example for her children and all around her what it means to do more when you can.
The Unexpected Nursing Path
Bethli grew up in New Glarus, Wisconsin. Besides being home to the New Glarus Brewery, New Glarus is the Swiss capital of North America. Bethli, pronounced “bade ee”, comes from a strong Swiss heritage and actually has family that live in Switzerland. Bethli reports that she fell into nursing; her journey started and progressed naturally. Along the way, however, it became a perfect fit!
She worked as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) while getting her associate degree in nursing. She confesses she went this route because it was less expensive and had no waitlist. She began working in the Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit following graduation. Two years into her nursing career, she completed her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She realized she wanted to continue her studies with an advanced practice nurse degree. Initially, she thought she wanted to go become a nurse anesthetist, which is a specialty in anesthesia. After working in the cardiothoracic surgery and the pediatric post-anesthesia unit, she found increased interest in learning how patients got to the point of needing surgery and how she could help from the frontline. She turned her sights on becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner. She is slowly but steadily working towards her Doctorate in Nursing. She reports she is doing this mostly for herself, as she has always had the goal of achieving a terminal degree, but also wants to show her kids that you can accomplish anything with perseverance and determination.
A Calling to Do More
In January of this year, Bethli started to get the sense that Covid-19 was posing a huge health threat. She thought she would be needed at UW-Madison Hospital and Clinics in Madison, where she had previously worked as an ICU nurse prior to becoming a nurse practitioner. Since it had been a while since she had worked at the bedside, she began refreshing her knowledge on ventilator setting and intravenous medications. Leading with her mantra in mind, she had the mindset that if I can help, I should help.
Like many other places around the state and nation, she experienced job-related changes as her patient load decreased significantly and switched to telehealth. She kept thinking she had other skills that she could offer in this health care crisis. In March, she started thinking about taking a travel nurse position and helping in a high need area. She had a conversation with her husband as well as her mother and sister about whether or not she should do this; all of them were supportive of this idea, particularly her husband who never hesitated in his support of her.
She didn’t want to take her skills elsewhere if Wisconsin would end up needing her so she held off for a while. As March faded into April, it became clear that Wisconsin was successfully keeping case numbers contained, and the hospitals and ICUs were not overcrowded. Bethli approached her clinic regarding her desire to take a travel position to help on the East Coast and if this would be possible. Again, she was met with nothing but support and encouragement from her employer; they came up with a plan for her to work remotely via telehealth to see her family practice patients. Bethli and Joe discussed her desire to help with their 5 children, Madeline (11), Lily (7), Isaac (5), and twin boys, Fritz and Wally (3). Initially, Madeline was hesitant and didn’t want her to go. During the discussion, however, the entire family came to the conclusion that she had to go and help. Now, Madeline has told Bethli how proud she is of her.
Bethli contacted a nursing recruiter on a Friday. She decided on a position in Edison, New Jersey, which is about 1 hour from New York City. She would be going to the JFK Medical Center, which was a large neuroscience rehabilitation facility that was temporarily converted to an over 80 bed intensive care unit for Covid-19 patients. Her decision was not based on case severity, on the contrary, she wanted to go where her extensive ICU skills could be utilized to the fullest. Rather, her decision fell on not having to learn a different electronic medical record; for you health care providers reading this, you will completely understand that! (For you non-health care providers, learning a new electronic record is tedious at best.) She was granted an expedited nursing license 24 hours later. She packed up and left the following Tuesday, arriving in New Jersey that same day, and started her first shift the following day.
The Frontline Experience
Bethli was thrown right into the fray. She had two orientation shifts, then was started with patient assignments. When she arrived, there were 84 critically ill, ventilated patients. She was assigned 4 ventilated patients each shift; to put in perspective, a typical patient assignment would be 2 ICU patients as critically ill as these were for 1 nurse. Bethli said she felt very welcome and appreciated by the core staff; if it wasn’t for the travel nurses, the core staff would have had a 6 to 7 patient assignment. This would have been disastrous on two fronts; the core staff would have been stressed and overworked while patient safety and outcomes would have suffered.
Bethli recalls that she had to retrain herself on how she performed her nursing duties. One of the first things was on how she reacted. For example, when a ventilator alarms, her instincts were to go and help the patient. However, in the case of Covid-19, she had to learn to suppress this instinct and take the necessary steps to protect herself with personal protective equipment first. The emphasis was for health care providers to take care of themselves first before helping the patients, otherwise, they are no help to anyone. Another big change was maximizing her efficiency. The process of getting on the personal protective equipment was so laborious that she learned to do as much as she could at one time during each patient interaction. She had to shift her mindset to doing the necessary tasks only. Nurses often bring the human experience back to the hospital experience; they bathe the patient, give back rubs, hold hands, do all the little things. These patients were so critical and a staff stretched so thin that these had to be foregone most of the time. This was very hard for the nursing staff but necessary.
Initially, Bethli reports patient outcomes were very poor. There were multiple codes and patient deaths per shift. As the weeks passed, however, outcomes improved as providers started learning successful ways to combat the illness. As the critical cases of covid decreased, the hospital started shifting back to scheduled surgical cases. Since Bethli’s intention was to help with the crisis, and the crisis was starting to wane, she cut her assignment to 7 weeks instead of 8. It was time to head home and get back to her family!
While Mom was Away
Bethli is so proud of how her husband and kids stepped up while she was away. Between her
shifts at the hospital and duties as a family nurse practitioner via telehealth, Bethli worked close to 72 hours per week. Her East Coast colleagues couldn’t believe she was working that much. Bethli laughed at this and had two funny responses. First, this was a highly unusual time; since everything was closed and most people were quarantined, her only option was to hang out at her extended-stay hotel room. And, here’s the funny one all parents will relate to, she has 5 children ranging in age from 3 to 11; this is the best, uninterrupted sleep she has gotten in over a decade!
When she wasn’t working, she spent time on Zoom with family and friends. She had breakfast every morning via Zoom with her kids as well as other chats during other times. She was amazed that her kids stepped up and took on more responsibility to help out while she was gone; however, she is skeptical it will continue once mom is back on the scene. It was definitely a team effort to coordinate all of this! They had the help of two sisters who had nannied for them in the past that alternated days during the week for child care, and Joe was allowed some flexibility of his schedule while he was gone. Bethli reports that she and Joe are a great team. They have been through several hard and challenging times during their marriage, including raising twins with a 1 ½ and 3 year old at home. She is grateful for her family’s support and love while she pursued this drive to help out.
Life Lessons from the Frontline Experience
Another principle Bethli has always lived by is life happens, things get shitty, change the narrative. This perspective to change the narrative came front and center in her life just over a year ago when her husband, Joe, was found to have a life-threatening but benign chest tumor. He underwent life-saving surgery, which really highlighted this mindset that awful things happen in life but you choose the narrative. Instead of being scared or asking “why me”, they chose to be grateful that the tumor was found and the surgery successful. This is a principle that she and Joe want their children to live by as well. From the minute Covid-19 came on the scene in full force, she made the decision to find the good in these times.
She chooses to feel fortunate for the path her life has taken, to particularly change the narrative on the unexpected things that take us by surprise in life. In her experience, these end up being the biggest blessings. A great example is she never thought she would have 5 kids but she can’t imagine life without them! She remembers when she found out she was pregnant with the twins. Being the oldest, Madeline was starting to get into all the activities...sports, Girl Scouts, gymnastics, dance. Bethli kept thinking to herself, “how will I be able to do all these things with 5 kids?!?”. Her dad gave her an awesome perspective that has served her family well; he said simply that kids do not need to do all of those things to be happy and that it is okay to slow down. She realized that having a tight family circle with a few meaningful activities was the way to go. Awesome advice!
This experience has highlighted the people that truly matter in her life. As often happens during a big life event, people showed their true colors-support came from and was absent from unexpected places. She realized the importance of taking time to maintain the relationships that add value to her life; that this was a piece missing prior to this experience. She has learned it’s important to prioritize who and what are the most important!
She is also grateful that this experience has helped focus her life purpose. Prior to her front line experience, she was starting to wonder if family practice was following her purpose and considering going back to bedside nursing. These 7 weeks gave her a glimpse back into that world. She came to the realization that she went into family practice to help people on the path to health before health becomes an issue, to focus on prevention. This is the opposite perspective and influence of a bedside nurse. She realized that most of the critically ill patients had other medical conditions, which put them at higher risk. This solidified her purpose of helping people intervene earlier in their health to prevent this path from unfolding, to be their catalyst of health change. Along with this, she is interested in exploring per diem ICU shifts a few times per month to keep her skills fresh and satiate her desire for bedside nursing.
The final principle that Bethli believes strongly in is that do good and good things come your way. What a fantastic example of a positive mindset combining the power of the Law of Attraction! Bethli, you are an amazing example for others on taking action to make the world a better place, whether through your children whose lives you are positively molding, the patients you help in your family practice, or doing what others are not willing to do by going to the frontline of a pandemic. Keep leading by example and showing the world what kindness in action looks like!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
There is no denying that there is a special bond between fathers and daughters. That whole “Daddy’s little girl” thing is real. Being a daughter myself, I know it first hand but am also witnessing it with Lucy and Adam. All that little stinker has to do is give her dad a huggle with a back pat, and you see how tight she has him wrapped around her little finger. (And, let’s be real, she has her grandfathers and brothers sucked in just as much.) There are so many things I could write about my dad but one event surfaced as a perfect demonstration of my dad’s love for me and that special father-daughter bond...my wedding day.
A daughter’s wedding has to be a very emotional time for a father. It’s that pinnacle moment when “Daddy’s little girl” is actually growing up, no matter her age at the time of the wedding. In the days leading up to and on that big day, my dad’s pride and love for me glowed brighter than ever before. These were not only special moments but also amazing life lessons.
The Big Ask
My then boyfriend and now husband, Adam, met with my parents for lunch to do the traditional asking for permission to marry your daughter conversation. A little background on Adam and my history; we actually “went out” in seventh grade, graduated high school together, and Adam coached my little brother’s baseball team with my dad for a few summers. Adam and I reconnected after our 5 year class reunion and started dating then. Adam knew my parents very well so it wasn’t a totally awkward conversation.
My dad is the happy-go-lucky life of the party, always making jokes and having fun, kind of guy; he’s not an intimidating force. He rarely raises his voice or gets angry; when he does, however, everyone takes it very seriously. My dad told Adam that he appreciated him meeting with them and had only one concern. At the time, I had just started graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. My dad told Adam that school was very important to me and that my education, however far it might go, should be a priority in our future. After releasing his held breath, Adam said that would be no problem!
The Perfect Dress
My dad is a retired photographer; I actually hail from a family of photographers, starting with my grandfather and extending to my dad, uncle, and aunt. In his career, my dad has seen a lot of weddings. In an unexpected and surprising twist, my dad had strong opinions during the wedding planning process from the venue to the invitations to the decorations to the dress.
Like many newly engaged brides, I immediately went out and bought a bunch of magazines to start on the quest for the perfect dress. I found a dress that I absolutely loved but had a hard time finding a store that had it to try on. At the fourth bridal shop appointment, bingo! They had it! At this point, I had several contenders at other boutiques but the moment I put this on, I knew it was THE DRESS.
I’ll never forget this moment. I was standing on the pedestal, looking in the mirror with THE DRESS on when my dad walked in. He knew it was the one I had been searching for. He had me step down so he could fan out the train. He had me walk around the store. He had me turn to see how it would look with the train to the side. (Basically, making sure it would photograph perfectly.) Then, he said simply...yup, that’s THE DRESS.
The Special Touches
Our wedding had a fall theme as it was on October 1. We decided that it would be nice to have corn stalks, pumpkins, mums, straw bales, and gourds as decorations. My dad took on this job, and he took it very seriously, picking the best in each of these categories as well as delivering to the venue and staging it. My dad does have a great eye for detail, and it looked amazing!
At the reception, my dad had a few tricks up his sleeve that we didn’t know about. My husband loves pizza; I mean, seriously loves pizza with a capital L. During his father of the bride speech, my dad starts talking about the one thing that Adam loves in the world besides me was pizza. At that moment, he had arranged for the venue to bring Adam out a pizza! Everyone appropriately laughed but it showed exactly how much my dad cared about Adam. In true Tom style, my dad closed by giving Adam the perfect gift. It was a throw pillow that said, “A man’s home is his castle until the queen arrives” and ended his speech with, “Adam, your queen has arrived”. It was absolutely perfect with one exception; after having a daughter, a new queen may have dethroned me!
The Father-Daughter Dance
Neither my dad nor I are big criers. The joke between my husband and I is that he takes care of that for the both of us; it’s funny because it’s true. Not surprisingly, neither my dad nor I cried during the dress purchasing, the pre-wedding pictures, the walk down the aisle. We were totally riding on the high of fun and being the center of attention, and then, the father-daughter dance happened. It started out fine, and then, it was like all the moments along with all the feels came rushing in at once. The video is quite funny. The first part of the dance we are chatting and laughing, and the second part we can barely look at each other. It was very special, and very Tom and Erika.
As an aside, I am sure you have seen those really funny choreographed Father-Daughter dances, right? When they start out slow dancing, then the must changes to some dance number resulting in the bride and dad busting a move? If I had a do over, we would do that!
When your parents become grandparents, an interesting thing happens. Since grandparents often do not have to be the disciplinarians, they get to do all the fun and show all the love without restraint. Then, hand the spoiled rotten, sugar infused child back to their parents. One thing I have realized with my parents is the doting, crazy, over-the-top love they show to my kids is really how they feel about my brother and I. But, as my mom has often said, being a parent does not mean being a friend so that has to be reined in and balanced with discipline and structure. My parents have 5 grandchildren, 4 grandsons and 1 granddaughter; the lone granddaughter being my bonus baby, Lucy. It is evident that my dad loves all of his grandchildren, but it is equally evident that Lucy has a special place in his heart. I know she reminds him of when I was little and that undeniable father-daughter bond began, and that makes my heart so happy.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! To my dad, you are the best, and I love you very much. I’m grateful to have you as my dad, and I can’t imagine what life would be like without you in it. You are the rock so many count on. The guy that gets the job done. The person we call for how to do all the things. The man that brings the F into Fun and Family. Here’s to many more awesome adventures!
By Jackie White
Want to know a secret? A secret that can change your world? THE secret to life? If you know and practice this one secret, you can make your dreams come true.
If you have struggled with achieving your goals or if you have struggled with keeping a positive attitude in life, then learning this secret will help you rechart your course in life for success.
Does knowing this secret pique your interest? Are you intrigued to think that knowing this one secret could change your life? If so, I ask you to hear me out and read through this blog until the end. Once you do, then make your mind up on whether you might want to follow the way of this secret.
Are you in? Great! Here it is...The secret is something called the Law of Attraction. Hold on, don’t bow out on me yet! You may have heard of it before but maybe not understood what it really means.
What it doesn’t mean is that there is magic in the air, and you just wish for what you want and poof! It appears. Nope, that’s not it.
Instead, it is a very logical way of thinking that streamlines what you attract into your life. It also falls under processes of thought such as positive thinking/psychology, the power of the subconscious mind or manifestation. It is all one in the same. All of these ideas can be summed up as “all that we are is a result of what we have thought”. This quote is from Buddha and it’s words are wisdom for the ages.
Think About It:
When you think and focus on something you are sending out a signal to the Universe and to yourself that whatever it is you are thinking about will come to pass. In other words, when you believe in yourself you can achieve far more than if you felt you were not worthy or competent.
Employing the Law of Attraction is the difference between having a goal and making that goal come to fruition. It is the difference of living a life fraught with negativity and living a life where good things are in abundance.
When You Believe You Receive;
The Law of Attraction is a law of the Universe that states we attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. Another way to look at it is we focus on being positive and keep our goals to the forefront of our minds, then we are looking for ways to achieve rather than fail. When people have an internal dialogue that is positive they can manifest positive things happening in their lives.
Another way to look at the Law of Attraction is to consider your focus. If you focus on something intently, like a goal of eating better, You will very likely have that thought in the forefront of your mind and your energy will be motivated to support your desire to eat healthier.
Several books have been written about this secret to life. In fact, there is a book by the same name called The Secret by Rhonda Bryne explains what exactly the secret is. Norman Vincent Peale also spoke of this very same secret in his book The Power of Positive Thinking. Another classic book called The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murray are all accounts of how you can manifest what you want in your life by changing your mindset.
The next step is action. You cannot simply believe something into existence without action. That is the part of the Law of Attraction many people miss. Regular action against what you desire will build the momentum needed to allow for your goal to manifest. When you say yes to something in your life, you attract more of that into your life.
Now, to kick that up a notch, consider this next important law of the Universe and that is the Law of Inspired Action. The “inspired” portion of the Law of Inspired Action refers to what you feel is really important to you. Do you have a calling or a purpose that is pulling you to act upon a dream or a goal? If you do, then that will propel your ability to manifest that goal into existence. That inspiration will make your actions feel exciting and almost in a flow like state. You will feel aligned to who you are meant to be in life.
Consider these examples of utilizing the Law of Attraction with and without the Law of Inspired Action. Both of these examples are attracting your desires to come true because you are believing in them and focusing on them, but one will propel you forward faster and with more joy than the other.
Action against a Goal: Regular efforts that you make towards a goal. It may feel forced, robotic or draining, but you are getting the job done.
Inspired Action against a Goal: Regular efforts that you make towards a goal. It may feel exciting, joyful and energizing.You can’t wait to do more!
How you can manifest your desires in life begins with a vision. There are many ways you can do that, but the 3 most effective ways to utilize the Law of Attraction to your favor are through meditation, vision boards and journaling.
The reason why these pieces are important to think through, visualize and put into your life’s script as if they have already happened actually tricks your brain into believing that what you are saying and illustrating have already come true. By doing this, it helps the Law of Attraction to align those desires with reality.
Join SoulShine this month in our Ready Reset Goal Challenge or if you already have, kick it up a notch by utilizing the Law of Attraction! Grab your Manifestation Journal pages here:
Remember, believe and focus on that which you desire and the Law of Attraction will help you manifest your goals and dreams!
By Jackie White
I believe everyone is here for a reason. We have a purpose here and everyone imparts lessons to all of us. As we approach Father’s Day, I think of my own dad. His jolly soul lifted others around him. He was light hearted and it wasn’t often he was cross. He truly enjoyed life, and I believe his example in having fun in life was the reason he was here. I reflect back today on the lessons I learned from my dad, Jack Hare and on some of his really bad jokes that made us all laugh.
1. Have Fun: Let’s get right to it, my dad was about having fun. He would turn his glasses upside down, get on the floor and play with the babies kind of dad. Babies loved him! They probably could understand Dad’s attitude of fun! If you ever need a corny joke, he had it. How about painfully silly pun? He had them. If you ever needed a laugh, a party, a drink, he was the go to guy.
What’s a Zookey? A Key to the Zoo (Duh!)
2. Life is too short don't waste it: Dad was not a wallflower. He was in it and he was taking advantage of what life had to offer! He lived life large and loud and with only a few regrets.
Oh and Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
3. Be Fashionable: Before I was born, photos of Dad showed him to be a pretty hip 1950’s/60’s dude. He wore suits and ties to work and I remember these great black and white spats. The ultimate in cool! Then came the 70’s and he moved on to the God-Awful leisure suits, but he was stylin’! I admired that my Dad always could wear pink and pull it off. Shoot, I thought he looked so awesome that when I was in high school, I began wearing all his cool old clothes (thin ties and sport jacket with big shoulders).
What is a Honeymoon Salad Called: Lettuce Alone
4. Just Dance! This was dad. When there was an opportunity to dance, he was cuttin’ a rug! One of my favorite memories was the day he decided he would dance like a Pip (remember Gladys Knight and the Pips?). He was doing his Pip dance and thought he’d try to do the splits. He tipped over and hit his head on the coffee table. Listen, I didn’t say he was Fred Astaire, but sometimes, the spirit of something far outweighs technique! (Kind of like my singing!)
How Do You Make A Tissue Dance? Put a Little Boogie in it!
5. Be Yourself! There is only one of you ever in the world, so don’t try to be someone else. Dad was really good at making sure that I knew it was important to be proud of just who I am. He seemed happy with himself and for me, that looked like a good way to live.
Make it a Priority to Have Fun!
6. Vegas Baby: If you haven’t figured this one out yet, Dad was a firm believer in enjoying life and he did! Las Vegas was his Happy Place and we frequented there quite often! Number 7 and the crap tables, good food, the shows and sitting by the pool! We traveled the US in our motorhome visiting friends and family everywhere! Dad loved it all!
Erika Fehrenbach Prell is passionate about inspiring and educating, others on their path to complete wellness-mind,body, and soul. This desire led Erika to the helping profession of nursing, and she obtained her Master's Degree as a Nurse Practitioner in 2007. Erika specialized in cardiac surgery, largely influenced by her personal experience with heart disease. While she loved working with this population, her heart's desire has always been to impact lives on a larger scale and from a proactive, not reactive, place. The universe answered when her path crossed with Jackie and SoulShine was born. Erika finally feels she is walking in her purpose and is excited for this journey to unfold.