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?

Photo by Albert Rafael from Pexels

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!

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels
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.

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

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.

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels
Jul 10

One Thing We Could All Benefit From

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together , Serving Others

We work hard every single day at home as well as in jobs that take us outside of the home. We work together to make great things happen and finish many tasks that no one even knows about. We are proud of the work we do, but so many times we don’t feel appreciated for the hard work. It feels like more is always expected of us. We could all use a little boost of appreciation.

Unfortunately, we cannot force others to show us appreciation for all we do, but there are two things we can do.

  1. Recognize all that you do in your day and acknowledge it as great! Know in your heart of hearts, that you are doing the right thing and doing a great job. Do something special for yourself on a regular basis to celebrate the great life you are living.

  2. I believe you reap what you sow. In other words, let’s all make an effort to show appreciation to others, and appreciation will find its way back to us. Appreciating the big things comes more natural, but showing appreciation for little jobs well done is important too. Appreciate your daughter for taking out the trash, for instance. It may be one of her assigned chores, but appreciation every once in a while gives us all a boost. This week, what do you think about making an effort to show appreciation to each of our loved ones? Let’s write a post-it note to remind ourselves and do it!

I appreciate you today! I appreciate the fact that you take time out of your life each week to read my blog. I appreciate you for striving to live your BEST life, for yourself and your loved ones. I appreciate all of your hard work at home and outside of your home. You keep the world running and make it a better place to live. Thank you for doing the right thing, even when others don’t show you appreciation for it.

You are a Rock Star in my eyes! Keep living your BEST, day by day. Show yourself a little love and extend that love to others as well. You are making our world a better place!

My Daily Walk With Jesus: God is working in my life daily and sometimes it is uncomfortable. I have been reminding myself that being uncomfortable is not always a bad thing. I’m trying to embrace the discomfort and know that I am growing and learning. It will all make me a better person, day by day.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Jul 02

Summers As A Child Were Special

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

I remember my summers as a child to be slow and sweet. It felt like my only obligation was to ride my bike to swim team practice each weekday morning and race in a weekly meet. My other time was spent outside playing by myself or with a friend, escaping the built up heat inside our non air-conditioned house. When I think back to it, it was simple and good.

Life is not always that simple as adults. We certainly have more responsibilities and obligations, but I believe we can find some sweet simplicity if we are intentional about finding it.

That intentionality includes awareness that our culture values busyness and a slower pace tends to be seen as lazy. How many times have you taken some down time only to feel guilty about taking it afterwards? The fast pace that our world revolves in is not necessary nor healthy most of the time. Individuals and families are starting to see a better, slower and simpler way they want to live.

What is BEST for you and your loved ones this summer? A jammed packed schedule or a slower pace that fosters meaningful time together? A little boredom that can spark our imaginations, or some silliness and fun, maybe walking in the rain and playing in puddles?

My husband and I remain committed to staying at home through this time of Covid-19, for our good health and for the good health of others. This time has been a gift. John and I have spent more time together over the past few months than we have in the 25 years we have been married. I have experienced some boredom, but it has sparked some imagination and allowed some time for rest. I have noticed more wildlife and have become especially fascinated with birds this summer, living a much too busy life in the past to notice them. I can’t say I have been too silly, but John and I have walked in the rain many times on our morning walks.

Each of us has an amazing choice to make in life. Love, embrace and live a simpler life...or not. My experience has been that the simpler life is filled with rich life moments that I no longer would trade for constant hustle and bustle. What is your choice? What can you do this week to move in that direction?

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I believe with my whole heart that God wants us all to slow down enough to have meaningful conversations with HIm. God loves to hear what is on our hearts, even when we are upset. God also loves to whisper love, encouragement and instruction into our ears, but many times we are too busy and rushed to hear it or acknowledge it. As my life has slowed down, my time with God has become richer. I believe He wishes that for you, too!

Photo by Yan from Pexels
Jun 25

Do You Have A Plan For You And Your Family’s BEST?

By Jen Regan | What's Most Important

Many families are headed out on the road this summer to have some fun and step away from our unusual life over the past few months. If you are traveling any distance at all, you will more than likely use a roadmap of some kind. Probably one that is built into your phone. Road maps are important, not only to tell us when it’s time to take action, like get off at an exit, but they are just as useful in telling us to stay on the current course. There is nothing more annoying than our phones repeatedly telling us to turn when we know it isn't time to turn. Each day of our lives can be filled with those same annoyances and stresses if we do not know what we want  for our own lives and the lives of our loved ones. If you don’t have a roadmap, now’s a great time to create one.

We focus back on what matters most when we face turbulent times and uncertainty. I think, now more than ever, we know what, and who, is most important to us.

Once we know what matters most, how do we ensure that those people and things get the time and attention they deserve? After all, you can tell what is most important to us by looking at our calendar. What fills our time?

When you know what is most important, it is time to decide what you want and need for yourself and for your loved ones, on an ongoing basis, in order to truly live your BEST. 

Take some time to think about that and start to write your thoughts down. It will be the beginning of your roadmap.

Once you know what is wanted and needed, knowing what to say “yes” to in life becomes clearer. Say “yes” to the things that promote great health in all areas of your life. Saying “yes” to things such as healthy relationships, physical health, spiritual health, and even financial health.

Your roadmap will also help you know what to say “no” to. We all have an itch for life to get back to the way it used to be, but was that life all that it was cracked up to be? Many lives were filled with running from activity to activity, never having time for a meaningful conversation and dinner together at home.

We all want to fit in and we all want to give those we love everything they want, but those things are not always the BEST.

As a child, I was on the swim team at the local pool during my summers off of school. I did pretty well, but I was always out swam by the other year around swimmers. I begged my  parents to allow me to be a part of the nearby year around team, but they said no. My parents had financial goals and my desire to win a swim race (which was all I really wanted) did not warrant spending the money. In addition, my mom would have had to drive me 30 minutes each way plus stick around for my swim practice and meets. Spending time in this way was not a priority for my parents and my family. My parents said “no” to year around swimming for me, but said yes to dinners together, family time, unrushed homework time, a slower pace and healthier finances.

When we say “yes” to something, we are in turn saying “no” to something else. Let’s say “yes” to the right things!

What/who is most important to you?

What is the BEST for you and them?

What are you going to say “yes” to and what are you going to say “no” to?

You have the control and power to make these important decisions. We have seen, through the past few months, that great things are possible at home.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I’m not going to lie, I have been struggling with the “non eventful” life I am living right now. I crave excitement, but that is not life right now. That is not my BEST life right now. I want things, but the timing is just not right at the moment. I am trying to find contentment in my everyday life and tasks. After all, life really is good.

Photo by Derwin Edwards from Pexels

Jun 11

A Little Bit Better Each Day

By Jen Regan | Baby Steps , Can Do Attitiude , Overcoming Obstacles

What are you struggling with today? Many of you are in the high risk category for Covid-19. You are struggling with staying home even though you know it is the right thing. Many of you are now transitioning back to work outside of your home and figuring out how to provide for your family's needs. Each of us are extremely resilient. No matter what we face today, we can work to make it better each day as we move forward.

Over a year ago, I had a really bad episode of back pain, which I found out later, was caused by a reaction to food. Now, fourteen months later, I am still trying to climb out of the downward spiral the reaction had on my whole body. This week I am trying to focus on getting a little bit stronger and a little bit better each day. I want to be back, good as new, but I have to take one step at a time...one day at a time.

Whatever you are struggling with today, would it help for you to work towards getting a little bit better at it each day, instead of focusing on the final result you desire? It is super hard, I know, but it is the right way forward. Each day that we get a little bit better will eventually add up, and we will make good progress. We tend to look at the final result we desire and expect that result immediately. But that is not how things work a lot of the time. Good, important things take time and many days of getting better and better to get there.

What are you struggling with today? (Write it down)

How can you approach this challenge to focus on getting a little bit better each day? (Write this down too)

What are the next steps you can take to make it better? (And this too!)

We each step up to challenge after challenge in life. As we do this, let’s also remember to give ourselves some grace and rest in the midst of it all. All of our challenges take energy. Let’s also lean on each other for love and support. Let’s make sure our tanks are not only full, but that we have some energy in reserve as well. 

Remember, our Simple Life is to be intentional about setting aside time and space and establishing boundaries in order to put our family first at home.

You are amazing and you step up to each challenge in life. Keep moving forward in your beautifully simple day.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: I’m being a spoiled brat this week. I want many things right now and I am not getting them right now. In fact, I don’t know if it will be days, months or years before some of my hopes and dreams come to life. I do not understand God’s timing, but I do know it is perfect. I just struggle with accepting that day in and day out. He wants me to focus on each day and getting a little bit stronger and better each day. It is hard, because I want more, now.

Jun 04

The Benefits Of Having Time And Space

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. These are vows that are taken when two lives are joined in marriage, but living through the bad times, living with sickness and through the death of a loved one can be devastating. There is something that can make life more manageable during difficult times, it’s having time, space and boundaries built in.

I worked full time outside of our home when my dad passed away. There was nothing I wanted more than to have more time and space to work through my own grief, take care of myself, as well as love and support my mom. It was heartbreaking to give my mom my leftover time, which wasn’t much. It was also exhausting to work long hours while my body and soul needed more rest. 

Things were completely different a few years later when I received a phone call from my husband, John, when he was having chest pains and was being brought to the hospital by ambulance. I was working at home at the time, focusing on taking care of my home, family and writing on the side. I had time, space and boundaries built into my life. When I received the call, I had time to prioritize John. Not just for a few hours, or a few days, but for the months of recovery that was required. I had time to walk with him every morning as he rebuilt strength. I had time to prepare meals, help him eat better, lose weight and regain his health. I was there to talk to him when we felt good and when he felt bad. Having time, space and boundaries built into our lives made our challenging times more manageable.

I have been talking more about “the simple life at home” lately. What does that mean? I define the simple life as “being intentional about setting aside time, space and establishing boundaries in order to put your family first at home”.

The lockdown we all have been experiencing over the past few months has allowed many of us to live this simple life at home. It has given us a glimpse of how good life can be at home, with those we love. Meals together as a family instead of picking up fast food. Eating healthier because we had time and energy for preparation. Activities together instead of running in different directions each night of the week. Down time that we did not know what to do with at first. Meaningful connections enhanced. The attitude of taking care of each other and working towards a greater good. 

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the simple life at home, how can you be intentional about continuing to set aside time, space and establish boundaries in order to keep that simple life a priority forever? Yes, I said forever.

It will look different for each of us and it will more than likely require a bunch of baby steps to get there, but I want you to know that it is possible if you set your mind and heart to it.

It may require some financial changes that are big and hard. One thing that has allowed John and I flexibility through the years has been the fact that we purchased a smaller home that was well under what the bank would allow us to borrow. This smaller home has kept our mortgage payment low, our utilities lower, the cost of upkeep lower and we have bought less possession because we just don’t have room for them. 

Would a job change allow you to better set aside time, space and establish boundaries at home? I recently talked to a single young woman who has come to realize over the past few months that she has been working outside of her strengths in the past. She said “I did not have any energy left when I came home from work. No wonder I struggled with balancing work and life.” She is now pursuing other options for her work.

If you are already home, it might be time for a perspective change. In the past I have felt extremely guilty when I have not been working full time and bringing home a paycheck. I have seen my work at home as less important, even though deep down I knew better. The work we all do at home to prioritize our loved ones is so very important. Don’t let your mind or anyone else make you feel less important. You’ve got it right!

The simple life at home. Is it something you want to pursue? If so, what do you need to do to start moving in that direction? What are your first few baby steps?

My Daily Walk With Jesus: Pray/talk to Jesus, read His Word and Godly devotions, listen for His voice, do what He tells me too, repeat. It’s far from perfect, but it is good!

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels
May 28

We Are Stronger Together…At Home

By Jen Regan | Be True To Yourself , Living Life Together

Through the years, many of us have discovered our strengths and have applied them to the work that we do outside of the home. Many are detail oriented, others are great at looking at the big picture and moving the team in that direction. Some move fast, others move at a slow and steady pace. Some work best in the morning, some in the afternoon and many are night owls. We have discovered, through the years, that when we work within our strengths, our work feels right and good. How can we make our homes feel more “right” and “good” by cherishing and using our strengths and the strengths of our family?

My husband, John, is the one in my family who is working from home to provide income for our family to thrive. Without him and his hard work, we would be under a huge financial strain. When it is time to get something done, John gets it done. He does not mess around. One thing that is not John’s strength is planning ahead. He thinks about lunch...at lunch time. He thinks about walking...when it is time to walk. I, on the other hand, am the planner. I am always thinking ahead, planning grocery lists, checking weather forecasts and planning for our needs. We are a good team.

Now that we have all been home more together for a few months, have you been reminded of your strengths and weaknesses as well as those closest to you? What are they? How do you work best? How do each of them work best?

We are all in this together, and we all should do our part around our homes to keep them moving forward as smoothly as possible. Once you have recognized the strengths and weaknesses of those around you, how can you help them to succeed better?

  • If someone is an organizer, what project can you give them to organize?

  • If someone is a morning person, how can you structure their day to utilize their early morning energy?

  • If someone is a “get it done” type of a person, what job can you give them that they can “whip out” and feel as though they accomplished something?

  • For those who work slow and steady, what long term project can you start them on to care for and maintain over a long period of time?

We all have amazing strengths, and when we use them together, our homes can be a much brighter place.

I encourage you to spend some time thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of those you are closest to. Write them down and think about how you can utilize everyone’s strengths to set everyone up for success.

You are doing an amazing job at home. Keep up the amazing work and live your absolute BEST at home!

My Daily Walk With Jesus: The strengths I have been given in life are a gift. I love to work slow and steady on projects, and God knows this. After all, He was the one who made me who I am. God has been blessing me with a number of slow and steady projects. Sometimes I want to rush them to completion, but He reminds me that slow and steady is my strength and to embrace it. Know today that your strengths are a gift and embrace them along with those you love.
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