Oct 22

Five Things To Help You Through The Months Ahead

By Jen Regan | Perseverance

We are used to making adjustments, we do it everyday within the ebb and flow of life. Making quick adjustments is our specialty, but changing our lives for weeks, months or even a few years is not quite as easy. That is what the Covid-19 pandemic is requiring of us. What then can we do to reduce our pandemic fatigue?

I am a simple chick with simple ideas, but they are practical. I want you to walk away from each blog post with simple action steps you can take to live your BEST life, and today is no exception. If you are struggling with depression from isolation from loved ones, you may need a little bit more than my simple suggestions to get you through. Please seek professional help if you need someone to work with you through this challenging time.

I have good and bad days as we move through this pandemic, and it does feel like little frustrations can escalate into big ones easier these days. The reality is, this pandemic is taking up real estate in our minds and our emotions.

Because I am obsessed with feeling my BEST, I ask myself “what can I do to reduce pandemic fatigue and focus on other, beneficial things?” Here is what I am trying:

  • I’m trying to focus on what I have and not on what I don’t. There are a number of things that usually have my excitement and attention that are out of the question right now. When those things come to my mind, I don’t ignore them, I simply remind myself “not now”. Then I bring my mind back to all that I am able to focus on today, which is quite a bit. I focus on being grateful for what I do have and what I can do. All of this applies to your kids, too. Coach and help them to focus on the good that is right in front of them, even if it is different right now.

  • I keep a routine in my day, even when I don’t feel like it. This time in our lives is going to make us stronger. We are having to persevere in ways we are not used to. But persevere is exactly what we are doing. Whatever you have determined to be most important to you, keep it as most important. Keep exercising, continue having quality time with those you love, always take care of yourself. Let’s keep going even when we don’t feel like it.

  • I have planned ahead with hobbies and projects. Winter is very different from Spring, Summer and Fall. We have more time inside and less daylight. Plan now for the days, weeks and months ahead. I have planned different options to keep variety in my life. I have books to read, and supplies for different types of hobbies. If I get tired of one, I have something to fall back on. Plan now.

  • I have to be okay with having a frumpy day every once in a while, that is life, pandemic or not. I have a dear friend who reminds me that it is okay to feel those feelings. Feel them and move on with my day. That is what I try to do. When I have my routine, like I mentioned previously, I move on with what is next. Some days I feel rotten the whole day, other days I start to feel better as I keep going. Either way, it is okay to have a rough day here and there.

  • Accept that our lives are going to be altered well into 2021, if not most of it. I do not tend to focus on worst case scenarios, and I am not going to do it here either, but continuing to think that life is going to get back to “normal” any time soon is setting ourselves up for disappointment. Let's work to accept this time for what it is and make the best of it. It is a process, but one worth pursuing.

2020 has not gone as we imagined it would, but life's still good. Let’s focus on the good and continue to persevere, one day at a time.

Daily Walk With Jesus: I am working through a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers called My Utmost For His Highest. One of the themes of the devotional is that we live most of our lives living in the valley, plugging away at our everyday lives. He reminds me that the exciting  “mountain top” experiences we have in life are rare. This is not what is emphasized in our world today. We are told everyday we deserve to have mountain top experiences. God is showing me that He wants me to focus on and enjoy the simple tasks of life. It is in the simplicity and quiet that I find Him and learn what He wants me to learn.

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Oct 08

Here’s Something To Help You Focus

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

The idea of FOCUS has been on our minds lately. Sometimes it is hard to focus in a world that seems chaotic. But focus is possible. What has gotten your focus today? Do you feel something else should have your focus? There are many wonderful and beautiful things in life to focus on, let’s pursue them today.

I love the picture above. It’s a picture of a woman giving all of her focus to one young life. She is encouraging him and probably even instructing him as he embarks on this new adventure. She is holding tight to protect him, but allowing him to find balance himself. They are taking their time and not rushing. He has her undivided attention...focus. 

It reminded me to ask myself, do the people in my life have my attention? Do they ever get my undivided attention and focus? 

I know the other day I asked my husband a question as I was sorting the mail. I realized when I was done, that I had not listened to his answer. My attention was divided. It would have been easy for me to wait a few more minutes to look through the mail. I did not need to rush, but I did. John did not get my full attention.

Slowing down is a big part of focus and slowing down is a mindset we have to consistently work on. When life is slower, each item that presents itself is more likely to get attention. In contrast, when we feel rushed, we feel we have to multi-task, and nothing gets the time it deserves. If you are like me, I forget something important, like brushing my hair, when I am rushed and trying to do many things at once.

I also find myself in the mode of rushing from the moment I get up in the morning. Just today I had to tell myself that I did not have to rush. Rushing has become a default setting for me. One that I need to reset regularly in order to give each task and person in my life the attention and focus I want to give them.

If you are struggling with focus in your day today, ask yourself if you feel rushed. If you do, try to slow your mind and your actions down and see if that helps you focus more clearly. The people in our lives notice when they have our full attention. They deserve the BEST and so do you.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: It is no surprise that God is challenging me to keep life simple, to stay focused on what is right in front of me. There is a season for planning and preparing, but that is not the season I am in right now. I am in the season of giving my full attention to what is right in front of me. I wonder if this is how God wants me to live from here on out? Not worrying about the future (even though I can plan a fun vacation), but staying focused on Him today.


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Sep 24

Words Of Wisdom For Uncertain Times

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

After lunch each day, I listen to an audio version of the Bible. This past Monday, a few verses from Proverbs jumped out at me. I have been struggling with what to focus on this fall, as the uncertainty of our world continues. I hope they are an encouragement to you too.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; 

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet

And be steadfast in all your ways,

27 Do not turn to the right or the left;

Keep your feet from evil.

Proverbs 4:25-27 New International Version

I don’t know about you, but I have found it very easy to get distracted with things that are not all that important. I think that is why I perked up when I heard the first sentence “Let your eyes look straight ahead;” That idea brought a sense of calm to me. It was a reminder that I don’t have to have my head on a swivel, in fact, looking straight ahead is good and feels right. As I sat out on my deck listening, I literally looked straight out in front of me.

As I heard the next verse “fix your gaze directly before you” I did exactly that. I tilted my head down and looked five or so feet in front of me. It reminded me that even though I want to make plans for the future, it is good sometimes to give full attention to what or who is right in front of me.

“Give careful thought to the paths for your feet” because distraction will come and try to move our focus elsewhere. It does take careful thought to stay on track...on the right path.

“And be steadfast in all your ways.” I looked up the word steadfast and it said unwavering. I don’t know about you, but I can tend to waver depending on my mood for a particular day. 

“Do not turn to the right or the left.” We are to stay focused regardless of how we feel and what comes our way.

“Keep your feet from evil.” Stay focused on what is good and right.

After I finished listening for the day, I walked back to my office to get back to work. I sat down with my calendar and asked myself what I should stay focused on. What is right in front of me that should get my attention? In the process, I planned out my next few weeks with purpose and pushed all the other “stuff” out of my mind and off my calendar. It felt really good to bring that focus to my day and life.

What is straight in front of you that should get your focus? What can you do to stay on that path and not get distracted? What is the right and best thing for you and your family right now?

Spending time thinking about these questions will bring focus in the midst of much uncertainty. 

My daily walk with Jesus: I need continual reminders throughout my day to focus on God and His ways. I just recently read a book about the monastic way of life and those that follow it fill their day with scripture, prayer and singing the Psalms. They live a beautiful, focused and simple life. Following their example I start my day by listening to a few God focused songs as I eat my breakfast. I pray the Lord’s prayer as I walk and pray for family and friends. After my walk I take a short time to read the Bible and a daily devotion. I just recently started listening to the audio Bible for fifteen minutes after lunch, and I end my day thanking God for my day. I tell you this because I used to think it was not possible to focus this much on God during my day, but it is. It is good and it is right.

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Sep 10

It’s Time To Get Disciplined

By Jen Regan | Can Do Attitiude

How are you doing? Schools have been back in session for a week or so. Are you starting to find a routine in your day and in your life? Routine has always been the nice thing about the back-to-school season, and this year it feels even more important. With our new set of challenges, our daily routine is going to require a little bit more...discipline.

I have had conversations with a number of women over the past few weeks who are struggling with motivation and direction. I have definitely felt the same way at times over the past few months. One thing I have learned for myself, is sometimes I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and get going. Here are some techniques that have helped me.

When I wake up in the morning, I have to push the lazy, negative thoughts out of my mind and remind myself that I am strong, I feel just fine, and I am ready for a great day. Because I am tired, I have to remind myself of this over and over again, usually for the first hour of my day, but then I am off and running. Discipline your mind. Recognize the negative thoughts that are not going to improve your day, and replace them with good thoughts that encourage and motivate you.

I am almost exclusively at home right now. Because of this, I have found a schedule that works and I stick with it every single day, no questions asked. There are days I don’t feel like doing something, but I stick with it. My day includes meal times, walking with John, time with God, house work as well as writing, afternoon exercise to wake myself up and relieve some stress, meal/food preparation, time with John, talking to my family and free time in the evenings. I wash my dishes after each meal, even when I don’t feel like it. I walk every morning, with John, rain or shine. I sit down and write even when I don’t feel like I have anything to say. Having a schedule and sticking with it, no matter how you feel, will allow you to go to bed each night feeling good about your day. That sounds nice, doesn’t it?

I fill my day with the right things, the things that are most important to me. The list above are all of my most important things. My health, my relationship with John and God, my work at home, encouraging others, and staying in touch with those I care about. Filling your day with the right things...feels right.

It is time to get disciplined. Stop moping around and get focused. You can do it, I know you can. Try out a few of these techniques this week, one baby step at a time, and feel good about each day. You are already doing amazing things, let’s focus on the good and say goodbye to all of the negativity.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I have no doubt that God has helped me form my daily schedule. As I have spent time with Him each day, He directs my path. I have added one thing on at a time and my day is now suited specifically for me. Your perfect schedule will look very different from mine, but if you ask God to show you what is best, I am confident He will guide your path, too.

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Aug 27

When Life Is Not Easy…Be Kind To Yourself

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple , Perseverance

Life is not easy right now. The time of the year that is normally filled with excitement, energy and new beginnings is marked with starts, stops, continual changes, and uncertainty. As one facet of life changes, everything has to adjust with it. Just when you feel like you have a plan to move forward, it all changes again. What can you do to take care of yourself through it all?

For many, you are dealing with the beginning of a school year with kids going back to school. For others, you are dealing with health issues, job changes or death in your families. Each one of these life events requires a tremendous amount of time and energy. Yet somehow, we feel like we can pile it on and keep moving through life as normal. I’m like, you, I try. But I soon find myself exhausted, frustrated and emotionally drained.

Wouldn’t it be so much better if you gave yourselves a break during this transition time? 

I like to look at it as going into “maintenance mode”. Instead of pushing things forward, I simply work at maintaining the status quo for a while. You know, it’s okay. 

  • Instead of having the perfect meals for my family, I default to the easier, simpler snack and meals.

  • Instead of my normal exercise routine, I keep moving by taking a walk by myself or with loved ones.

  • Instead of trying to do everything myself, I ask for help with laundry, dishes, picking up the house, taking out the trash.

  • Instead of having a clean house, I have a clean enough house for the time being.

What are you going through right now? What can you do to go into “maintenance mode” for this time of change in your year? Remember, it is just for a short time. It will get you through to the other side and give you the break you need. The alternative is exhaustion, and I don’t want that for you, nor do the people that love you.

You deserve a break, but you are the only one who can give it to yourself. Give yourself the gift of a break today.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I have learned that God is all for rest, especially when life gets difficult. Through many of the ups and downs with my health, He is the first to remind me to slow down and be kind to myself. Yes, He does allow difficulties in our lives, but He is also the first to say “be still and know that I AM.” Regardless of what we are going through, He is with us. Let’s lean on Him today.

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Aug 20

This Fall Can Be A Great Season

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together

It’s looking like the uncertainties of life we have persevered through are going to continue for a while longer. What does that look like for you at home this fall? Are there opportunities to take advantage of?

John has always dreamed of buying an RV when we retire and to travel the country full time. I have always been reluctant because John and I have strongly opposing personalities and giving each other room to breath has been beneficial in the past. In the first month of our Covid 19 lockdown, I had a few moments when John’s continuous presence rubbed me a little wrong. But I am happy to report, we are now going on our sixth month of lockdown together and we have both learned to co-exist in the same space pretty well. I can say now, I am looking forward to my fall here at home with John.

Over the past months I have learned some practical things that have improved life together here at home. I hope they can help you, too.

  • First, don’t feel like you have to fill every minute with something both for yourself and for your loved ones. Sitting outside, feeling the wind blow on your face, listening to it rush through the trees and watching the birds whiz by is a great way to spend time. This attitude is an adjustment from the constant “go” and “doing” of our culture. It was hard for me at first too, but now it is a sweet part of each of my days. This also teaches our kids that they don’t have to be entertained  all the time. Down time can be enjoyable and is beneficial.

  • Second, allow each other to have a space they can call their own, even if it is a bean bag chair in the corner of the family room. We all need a space we can enjoy, keep as messy or as clean as we want and a place to be by ourselves when we need it. This includes you as well. You need time away, in your own space, in your own world to do what you want to do. Make sure everyone has a space to call their own.

  • Third, appreciate each person for who they are, for their unique personality, strengths and weaknesses. Each person brings immense value to your family and your home. One may be a quiet methodical thinker, another a bundle of energy ready to run when their feet hit the floor in the morning. Everyone is valuable. Recognizing that and remembering it daily will help everyone live together better and appreciate each other more.

  • Fourth, encourage everyone to work as a team and have each other’s backs. Serving each other is the key here. When one person takes the initiative to serve others, it changes the heart and taking care of each other becomes contagious. What a great atmosphere to promote in your home!

  • Lastly, allow each other to have a few rough days every once in a while. We all have them and we all need them to process the new and unusual life we are asked to live right now. Give each other the freedom to feel down. Love and support each other no matter what the day brings.

A lot is within our control this fall. Let’s take care of ourselves, those we love and enjoy the changes in seasons. Don’t miss out on the beauty that is right in front of you in your families, at home and in the world around you.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: God is personal. He knows me better than I know myself. He loves me and wants me to grow and learn. I look forward to each day, always wondering what He has in store for me that day. Some days are more challenging than others, but God’s comfort is always there and His plan is good. Let's invite Hims to be a part of our school year and fall season.

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Aug 06

An Extra Dose Of Love Is Needed

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together

You have a choice every single day in how you spend your time. Who and what will get your attention? Time is an investment. Who or what will get your investment today?

In many parts of the country, school will be starting back in the next few weeks. Some kids will be staying home and learning remotely while others will be going back into their school buildings. Regardless, kids need an extra dose of love and encouragement this time of year. This school year brings with it additional anxiety of having to wear masks, social distancing or challenges of learning at home. What can you do to calm some of the anxiety for your children right now?

This time of year is an adjustment for parents too, and this year brings with it some added stressors. What can you do to support each other and move through this time in unity?

You want the absolute BEST for your loved ones, but showing your love, in the way they need, does not always happen without effort. Tailoring your love for each member of your family requires thought and intentionality. In the next few days, when can you set aside some time to think about your loved ones, what they need right now and how you can provide that extra dose? Block that time off on your calendar and give your loved ones your BEST!

Let’s have a great back-to-school season in our homes. Loving each other is an investment that will pay off in groves.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: God is our perfect parent. He does not always do what we want, but He moved us forward in the areas that are right. God is also the great Comforter. He provides love, support and comfort when we need it. Today, I am trying to lean in to that love and comfort. Will you lean in closer to God too?

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Jul 30

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

By Jen Regan | What's Most Important

Your home is a wonderful place to be, but even with the most positive mindset, your four walls can feel like they are crowding in on you at times. Home is where the good stuff happens in life. You spend time with those you love, you share conversations, meals, fun times and disappointments. Home is the heart of your life and the lives of those you love. How can you make it a place you love to live...day in and day out?

I love my home. It is not the grandest, nor the smallest, it is just right for John and I. Over the past year I have spent a lot of time at home working through medical issues, healing my body and most recently, prioritizing my husband’s life and health. When I spend time at home, my priorities become aligned. I am reminded of what is most important to me.

Yet, it feels hard to stay at home sometimes.

I find I get a little stir crazy when I hear about and see others going on vacations, attending parties, and coming and going all day long, when that is not my reality. I find myself comparing my life at home with theirs. I was told once that comparison either makes you arrogant or depressed. Well, comparing my life at home with other’s lives can bring me down.

One way to love our life at home more, is to not allow ourselves to compare our lives with others.

I find I become more peaceful at home when I focus on what I do have, my numerous blessings. I have time for healthy eating, exercise, time with those I love, and work I care about. 

Once I focus my attention on what I do have, it feels pretty good.

I find I love my space more when I make it my own. I love a clutter free, organized space. When my home reflects that, I enjoy spending time there. When it is filled with stuff and in disarray, I feel bogged down and unsettled.

What is one way you can make your home reflect who you are? What changes can be made for those you love to feel more connected with their space?

What baby steps can you take today and this week to find more peace and contentment with your life at home? I have to work on not comparing myself with others.

Spending time at home is a wonderful thing, but like many wonderful things, it takes some effort to find peace and contentment. Let’s move towards feeling good at home one day at a time.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: One more benefit of spending time at home is having distraction free time with God. I am thankful for the time I set aside for God in the mornings. But I am equally appreciative of the calming voice I hear all day long as God directs me in my day. I have a much harder time hearing His voice when I am out and about. Home is where the heart is!

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Jul 23

Live With Ease At Home – Start Here

By Jen Regan | Overcoming Obstacles

For many different reasons, we find ourselves and our loved ones spending more time at home these days. Each day can be filled with frustration, tension, impatience or they can be filled with ease. Do you feel like “ease’ is possible in your life, your day and your home? I have found it to be possible and here is one great place to start.

Late last year I went to hear Sandra McCollom speak with my friend, Pam. Sandra has A LOT of energy! She had to calm herself down as she was bouncing around the stage. She shared with us that she has a “go, go, go” personality as well as having the desire for everything to always be perfect. These can be great qualities, but they brought some turmoil to her life because she was never settled, never happy, never content. She shared how one day she was sitting on her back deck looking up into the sky when she noticed a hawk soaring around, with complete ease. I could immediately see the image in my mind’s eye. She explained how she desired living that kind of ease, so she set her mind and heart to living that way. Since that night, I have not been able to get that image out of my mind, and it has been instrumental in helping me bring ease into my daily life and my home.

What about you? Does the idea of living your life, soaring with ease, appeal to you? You may think that there is no possible way to bring ease into your hectic life and high energy family. Well, let me tell you, if high energy Sandra can do it, I believe anyone can. Let’s start with one small baby step today and that is to work on our mindset.

The definition of mindset from Merriam-Webster Dictionary is: a mental attitude or inclination. With any attitude, it can be changed if we set our minds to it. 

Do you feel as though you can start to change your daily thoughts to one of ease? It might be a matter of taking a few deep breaths and thinking about that hawk gliding around with no effort. 

Are you willing to think about the times in your day that are hectic and maybe frustrating, and ask yourself how you can bring more ease into those situations?

Are you allowing the individuals in your life to raise your blood pressure? How can you change your mindset to stay calm when you are with them?

Are you a perfectionist and allow that tendency to get you riled up? How can you work on your mindset to calm your perfectionist spirit?

Is it hard for you to be happy for others who live with freedoms you don’t have? Does comparison bring you down? How can you focus on what you have and rest with ease?

Regardless of where you find unrest in your day, in your life and in your home, there are baby steps you can take to move towards a life of ease. What is that baby step for you today? 

You can all live a life of ease at home right now. Keep moving forward and make the most of each day.  Focus your eyes on the Hawk soaring around in the blue sky overhead.

I would love to hear about your baby step ideas in the comment section, and others would love to hear as well. My area of struggle is waiting. I still struggle with the frustration that waiting causes me. I try to focus on what I already have at home and not focus on what I want and what I am still waiting for. This mindset brings ease into my life, little by little.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I have no doubt that God is the one who wants me to live with ease. Even when He is teaching me something new, it is done with ease. When He is working to change a wrong attitude in me, He does it with ease. I have found that God is rarely in a hurry in my life, and my frustration comes when I want something before He is ready for me to have it. He really wants all of us to live with more ease so that we can hear His voice clearer. He has so much to say to us if we take time to listen.

FYI - Sandra McCollom wrote a book called I Tried Until I Almost Died  - From Anxiety And Frustration To Rest And Relaxation. I have not read it yet, but it sounds pretty good. She is a Christian Author, so be aware of that before diving in.

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Jul 16

Where Has All This Work Gotten Me?

By Jen Regan | Baby Steps

I talk a lot about baby steps and how they are important in the process of getting better at whatever you set out to accomplish. Baby steps are all we can muster up at times, but do they really get us anywhere?

The beginning of last year, I visited a physician in order to try to figure out why I had a bad reaction to almost every piece of food I consumed. She ran a few tests and tried out a few philosophies on me just for me to end up in worse shape than when I started. From April through July I was in a tremendous amount of back pain and discomfort. I stopped working out at the gym because it hurt so bad. Luckily, I was able to continue to ride my bike with no pain. I spent most of my time resting on my hot pad with no energy and more questions than answers. In July, after more tests and additional doctor visits, we were able to make one step forward to resolve my back pain, but it continued to point back to food and my original symptoms still persisted. I was thrilled to be able to keep biking and training for a ride I had been dreaming about for years. In September, I was able to ride 75 miles on the first day of the Bike MS bike ride, but once bike season was over, I rested more and more and day by day I lost muscle tone and more energy. As the new year approached, I knew I needed to gather up the courage to step back into the doctor’s offices to try to figure out what was going on with my body. This past February (one year later) I stepped into the offices of multiple specialists. Test after test revealed I was healthy as can be. I rode on the roller coaster of being thankful for being healthy, then sad and upset that I still did not have any answer. As we approached the end of the recommended tests, my Allergist said “if all else fails, we can run one more test to see if anything shows up.” It was in that test where  the answer and diagnosis was revealed. I am allergic to a substance called linalool. It was exciting to have an answer and a possible direction to provide some relief. My excitement dwindled quickly when I learned that linalool is found in almost EVERYTHING! It is in almost all spices used in everyday cooking, except for salt and garlic. Think about that for a second. Even black pepper contains linalool. It is in almost every fruit and many vegetables, and was in almost every household product I used for cleaning, deodorizing or moisturizing. It felt like a ton of bricks had hit me. Fast forward...as of today, I consume the same 15ish foods over and over again each day. Eating any prepared foods at restaurants, friends & family or prepackaged foods is not an option if I don’t want to have a reaction. Since March, when the reality of my diagnosis sunk in and when my husband had his heart attack, John and I have been focusing on the motto “get a little bit stronger every day”.

I share my story because I would not have been able to get through any of it if it weren't for waking up each day and focusing on one baby step at a time.

  • Baby steps can get you started when you don’t feel like it.

  • Baby steps can help you achieve long term dreams and goals.

  • Baby steps can keep you going when life is messy.

  • Baby steps can help you improve your health.

  • Baby steps can help you get a little bit stronger every day.

I understand, baby steps don’t feel like enough at times, but if you keep taking them, one by one, you will eventually make the progress you desire. The journey is not always pretty, and the results are not always what you expect, but through perseverance, you will keep moving forward  towards where you want to be.

I am going to keep going - to be a little bit stronger each day. I hope you will join me in the journey. Let’s see where our baby steps will take us!

My Daily Walk With Jesus: God is the author of baby steps. It has been His daily guidance that has helped me to know which baby steps to take. I have been reading His Word, reading from Christian authors I have grown to trust, and tried to stay quiet enough to hear His voice. God has a great plan for each of us. Let Him be the author of your baby steps.

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