Mar 19

How To Manage Life In Devastating Times

By Jen Regan | Baby Steps

Today, many of you are going through very tough times in life. Some have family members in the hospital with serious conditions, others are working through your own pain, physical, emotional and spiritual. Devastating times are a part of life because death is a given. As much as I wish I could remove the pain from your life, I can’t. What I can do is help you walk through the challenging times one day at a time, one step at a time.

As you may be experiencing challenging times, the world around you does not stop when you are struggling. It keeps moving and expects you to keep up when your heart is hurting and you feel like you have more on your plate than you can handle. 

I was supposed to publish this blog post last Thursday. However, on Thursday morning, just after nine o’clock, I received a call from my husband informing me that he was having chest pains at work. The plans for my day changed immediately. He was rushed to the hospital and into the Cardiac Cath Lab. By the time I had arrived, they informed me that he was having a procedure done. What procedure they were performing, I did not know. I headed to the waiting room with one of John’s close co-workers along with his mom and waited for news. We soon found out that John had a blood clot that caused 100% blockage in one of the main arteries of his heart. Many people do not survive such an event, but today was John’s (and my) lucky day. I had no idea how important this blog post was going to be for me personally when I originally wrote it.

Baby steps have gotten me through in the past, and they are getting me through right now. I wake up each day knowing I have to push through because there are things that must get done. I know, baby steps don’t feel like enough at times, but when life dishes out hard stuff, baby steps are likely all we can handle. They are a lifesaver.

With you in mind, I have put together a booklet called Living Through Devastating Times: Your Personal Baby Steps To Get You Through Today. This practical booklet is short and simple, because that is exactly what you need right now. But there is power in its simplicity. It helps you take one day at a time, one baby step at a time, to keep moving through this time in your life. It encourages you to try to live your best, whatever that looks like for you today.

It starts by having you move the million things that are on your mind and get them down on paper. Keeping all of those thoughts and tasks rumbling around in your mind uses energy that you are in short supply of. It then walks you through deciding what small steps you can handle today. It is simple, but makes a profound difference.

Living Life Together: If you know someone who is going through a challenging time in life, will you forward this information to them? This booklet is absolutely no good just sitting on my website or out on Social Media. There are so many who are hurting that could use some guidance and encouragement. We are all in this life together and we need each other more than ever. Let’s keep living life together!

You want to live the best life you can, even in the midst of the challenges you face. Download your copy below, to help organize your thoughts and know how to move forward each day, one baby step at a time.

My daily walk with Jesus:  For the many years that I have written this blog, I have talked very little about my relationship with Jesus Christ. I have shared that God is #1 on my priority list, but have not shared what that looks like, each day of my life. Many of my readers may not be interested in this focus of my life, and that is why, from here on, I will place it at the end of my post. You can read up until that point and walk away with great stuff for the week. But there are many of you who will enjoy reading it, and some of God’s Word as well. 

I love Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT). It says “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”

I am not a Bible Scholar. But I do read God’s Word every day and try to live it out the best I can, in my “non-perfect” way. This past week I thank Jesus for a peace that surpasses all understanding. I can not explain it in any other way. I had peace as I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital. I did not know what the doctor was going to tell me when he walked in the door. As I brought my husband home from the hospital, we both said we had peace about life and our future, even with all of the worries of our world right now. Philippians 4:6-7 (NIRV) says “Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to Him. Then God’s peace will watch over your heart and your mind. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus.” That hit the nail on the head!

Each day I get up, read God’s Word, ask Jesus for my next baby steps, and most of the time I feel a clear direction. When I don’t, I get up and start moving and ask for Him to guide my steps as I move, and He does. That is my encouragement for you today. Focus on these two Bible verses. Let’s lean on God and on each other, and we will get through our challenging times one day at a time, one baby step at a time.

Mar 05

Sometimes We Don’t Have To Hold It All Together

By Jen Regan | Be True To Yourself

Have you had to say goodbye to someone maybe due to death, moving or job change? Have you had to give something up that you really enjoyed, and not just for Lent? Have you had to come to grips with a dream that is not going to come to fruition, maybe not being able to conceive your own child? These things can range from disappointing to devastating, but they all bring sadness into our lives, and that’s okay.

Many times in life, we feel like we need to “hold it all together” and we feel sadness does not fit into that mold. We feel we are supposed to put a smile on our face and “buck up buttercup”. Sometimes we feel like we always need to be positive, we think that having a less than positive thought is wrong. 

There have been times in my life where I have simply been sad. Some have been because of the loss of a loved one, but other times it is because of the loss of being able to eat a favorite food because of health issues. In both cases, I tried to fight the sadness. I tried to see the positive in the situation, but what I found in the end was that fighting my sadness only made me both sad and exhausted.

When I finally allowed myself to recognize what was making me sad and allow myself to be sad about it, I actually allowed myself to heal.

If you are sad about something today, or tomorrow, or next week, spend some time to recognize what has made you sad. Work through your sadness in a way that is right for you and start the healing process. 

Live Life Together: If you find yourself falling deeply into sadness, find someone you can talk to. If you do not have anyone you feel like you can confide in, call a counselor or even a hotline specializing in the areas that brings you sadness. There is someone on the line that will be thrilled to talk to you. If you do have someone in your life, share your heart with them even if all you want to share is that you are sad right now. Life is not easy at times and having others to lean on is so important.

Sadness is an okay thing. It’s a part of life. Sometimes we don’t have to “hold it all together”.

Feb 27

Could You Use A Dose Of This?

By Jen Regan | Overcoming Obstacles

It is February, and I am from St. Louis, Missouri. February is a time when I and my fellow St. Louisians get tired of winter. The days tend to be gray and the temperatures tease us with a few warmer days followed again with cold, gray and even some more snow. On top of that, the cold and flu season kicks in with a vengeance, kicking us when we are down. Boy, this blog post is uplifting so far this week, isn’t it?

On top of the above mentioned gloom, I had my allergist place eight patches on my back yesterday to check my sensitivity to things like metals, detergents and dyes. When they were done placing the patches, they covered my back with tape that nether breaths nor flexes. If I start to have a reaction, my skin will start to itch under that wonderful tape collage, with no hope of relieving the itch. Thank you God that that has not happened yet! One more thing, I started to come down with a cold last night.

I brought you through this long lament because there are many of you that are going through challenging times as well. I know of others dealing with health issues, job changes, and many with difficult work and personal challenges. We can all use a boost this time of year!

When I am not feeling my best, I ask myself “What can I do to feel better?” Essentially, what is within my control to change? 

I have to let my cold run its course and my patch test is very important to continue to try to find answers for some medical issues, but there is always something I can do to feel better.

One thing I am lacking in my life right now is FUN. The nice thing about FUN is that there are so many different ways to have it. FUN is personal to each of us, and yes, we might not be able to get out and have fun in our garden yet, but we can have some fun planning it out. I enjoy reading, so I have just gotten a few books that I am excited to jump into. I love the picture of the women in this post. Let’s pull out some of our favorite tunes and allow them to lift us up! 

How about you? What can you do this time of year to add some FUN to your day? Write some ideas down right now and make them happen. You will bring sunshine into your very own day!

Living Life Together: Spending time with a dear friend is a great way to have fun. I don’t know about you, but I laugh more when I am with good friends and that laughter is good medicine. I already have a friend in mind that I am going to contact when I finish this blog post. If you do not have someone, who is someone in your neighborhood, work or church who you can invite out for breakfast on the weekend or coffee? Life is so much better spent together!

Here’s to pushing through these last few gray days before spring arrives by taking control and adding some FUN into our lives!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Feb 20

Want To Add More Beauty And Ease Into Your Life?

By Jen Regan | Perseverance

Every month or so, my friend Allison and I talk on the phone across the miles, catching up on life and always encouraging each other. Our phone calls are always a source of joy and encouragement for me. Last night I asked Allison a deep question and her answer helped me out so much.

I shared with Allison how I always want things in life to go fast and easy, but they RARELY seem to ever go that way. I try to think positively as much as I can, so to say that life rarely goes the way I want (fast and easy) seems negative, but is “fast and easy” realistic?

Allison reminded me that our culture stresses the quick and easy fix. Marketers sell us on the idea that their product or service will change things overnight so that we will buy their stuff NOW. They know that in our busy lives, a quick and easy solution is desirable because we are so limited on time. 

BUT, this idea of quick and easy seems to bring me a lot of frustration because it is rarely how life really works. Yes, we can order Amazon and get it as quickly as a few hours, but finding a diagnosis to a health issue takes time. Learning how to make changes in our lives and seeing results, take time. Building a strong relationship takes time. Creating a habit of ongoing exercise takes time. Seeing the growth of finances happens over time. 

I try my hardest to think for myself, but this concept of quick and easy has permeated itself into my life. Allison shared with me the visual image of the four seasons. The more we talked about nature we described it as slow, conducted with ease, flowing, organic. 

So I ask myself today, how would my life change if I started to remove the idea of fast and easy and embrace the idea that life really is a slow, beautiful process?

Now, there is no doubt we have to go to work in this fast paced world. We have deadlines that are imposed on us. What if we identify the fact that we do have control over our thoughts, attitude and actions and try to move with more ease where we can in life?

Spring is on it’s way! Join me in seeing the beauty. As you see the flowers pop through the ground and bloom, slowly and beautifully, allow it to be a reminder for us to do the same in our lives.

Live Life Together: My life was enriched by my time with Allison on the phone this week. I encourage you to find someone in your life who you can spend quality time with. If you do not have someone right now, pray that God brings that person into your life. He answered that prayer for me years back when I felt very alone. Also know that friendships require your investment of time, they just don’t happen (fast and easy). Start to invest in other people and see what friendships grow out of that time together. It is a slow, beautiful process that is worth every minute.

Here’s to embracing the slow beautiful nature of life and saying “no” to the fast and easy life that marketers want us to buy into.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels
Feb 13

If Somethings Not Working…

By Jen Regan | Overcoming Obstacles

Have you ever been in a place in life when you have tried to do something to move forward and you find that it is not working? The obvious next step to take is to try something different, but it is not always that clear and easy is it?

Next week I have three doctor appointments in three days. Last year I decided to seek the advice of  a medical professional to get some direction regarding some annoying symptoms I was having. Overall, I see food as medicine and always try to adjust my diet first to see if I can remedy things without medication. I did exactly that and found some improvement, but things slowly started to turn south and my symptoms worsened, even on the strictest of diets. I am finding that some things in my work life are not working. I also realized last week that things that motivated me to workout in the past were no longer motivating me. What has worked in the past is clearly not working now. It’s time to try something different.

Change is hard, and I do not like to change just for the sake of changing, BUT, when I can see a benefit to change, I am all in!

How are you feeling today? Are there any areas in your life that are not working real well for you anymore? Is it time to change things up? If so, let’s take these small baby steps together.

  • Define what areas have gone stale and need a fresh approach.

  • Think about, and maybe write down what is not working anymore and why.

  • Now that you have identified what is not working, think about a new approach, a new way of getting the result you are looking for. Write your ideas down. I always find that to be helpful.

  • Decide on the first few steps you need to take to move in the new direction.

  • Start moving!

This can feel scary because we do not want to fail, but one of the things I am trying to learn in life is that not succeeding at something does not mean I have failed. If I do something that does not work, and I learn something that continues to point me in the right direction, it is not a failure at all.

I do not know what my three doctors are going to tell me. All I know is that:

  1. I don’t want to stay where I am because what I am doing is not working.

  2. Every step I take to move forward will provide more insight to help me take yet another baby step forward.

  3. I love moving forward and not feeling stuck!

Live Life Together: If you feel stuck in an area of life, talk to a close trusted friend. Sometimes talking it through will help and sometimes they may have just the encouragement you need to start heading in a new direction. Share any new direction with them so they can cheer you on along the way.

Here’s to changing things up and finding new ways of continuing to move forward!

Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

Feb 06

Life Transitions Can Be Hard

By Jen Regan | Perseverance

Have you ever been in a place in life where you were not sure what was next? This can be especially true during times of transition. Maybe your youngest child is gaining more independence, has started school and is able to do more for themself. Maybe your child has started college and you find yourself with an empty nest. Maybe you have been caring for a loved one who has now passed away. Life transitions can be hard. Let’s look at a few small manageable baby steps we can take to get us through these challenging times.

Be kind to yourself. Transitional times in life have emotional strings attached to them. Experiencing those emotions is okay and many times very healthy. I feel guilty when I am not doing something or going somewhere, but staying still for a moment in time is important during transitions. Take a deep breath of fresh air and take care of yourself.

Revisit what is Most Important to you. As you think about what is next in life, ask yourself if you can transition some of your time to another area that is Most Important to you? Has there been an area of life that has been neglected? What could use a little bit more attention? Focusing on what is Most Important brings life to our lives!

Take one step and see where it leads, then take another. Sometimes during times of transition we can feel stuck, not knowing what to do or where to go next. An old friend of mine, who is a retired navy officer, one told me “You can only steer a ship that is moving.” It is so true! If you take one step forward it gives you a new perspective and helps you see the next step, then the next. If you have no idea where to start, take one step by taking a walk. While you are walking, think about one more step you can take. The key is to move and not get stuck.

Be patient. This is not my favorite thing to do, quite honestly, but life transitions take time. As you work through the previous steps, keep going. Keep moving forward even in the smallest of ways. Before you know it, you will have moved through your time of transition and on to whatever is next in life.

Live life together! One thing I know as, I have gone through the twists and turns of life, is that isolation can be one of the worst things. If you need to, force yourself to spend time with people who love and encourage you. You never know, they may share the key that will spark a great idea for your life.

Here’s to moving through transitions, taking care of ourselves, staying focused on what is Most Important, taking one baby step at a time, together!

Jan 30

How To Stay Focused On What’s Most Important In 2020

By Jen Regan | What's Most Important

My Online Life Planning Course is up and running on my website! I am so excited about this because Life Planning has been one thing that has kept me focused in the midst of life’s challenges. Isn't it hard to stay focused sometimes when life gets messy? Life wants to pull us in many different directions and having a Life Plan can keep us focused as we persevere through and out the other side of challenging times.

My life has been focused on a lot of “good” things in the past. In fact, probably too many good things. My time was filled with so many “good” things that I was missing out on some of the BEST things. My Life Plan made me ask myself the hard questions about what is truly most important to me in life. Then I had to ask an even harder questions, “Am I spending my time on the BEST things?” For many years, I have to admit, I was not. Creating my life plan opened my eyes to all of this and set me on a course to spend my time and energy on the BEST things. I want the same for you!

At first I had so many things to change, it was overwhelming. That is when I learned that taking small manageable baby steps was the key to my success. No matter how busy life was, I could fit in a few small baby steps that would help me focus on the BEST things. It was a process, but now I can look back over the years and see how far I have come. You can make the same progress, you just need to get started and move forward step by step.

Life has not turned out 100% as I had planned, but I do have a constant picture of the future that I work towards. I keep that picture in my mind no matter what twist or turn life sends me. There have been times when I had to take baby steps, like my friend Connie would say, “as small as a gnat’s a%$, but I could still say I was moving forward in the way that was right for me.

My Life Planning Course will have you looking back on the life you have lived thus far. There is a lot of good stuff to learn from our past. It has you look forward into the future and think about what you want that to look like. It then walks you through creating a plan to move you forward in filling the gap between here and there and gets you moving in the right direction.

If you have never gone through the Life Planning process, I encourage you to prioritize it sometime in 2020. It has the potential to set you off in a great direction for your future.

I am making my Life Planning Course available all of the time. It is there on my website ready for you when you are ready to jump in. Once you sign up, I give you 6 MONTHS access to the course, so you can work at your own pace and go back to review the materials at your leisure. I have provided a link at the end of the post to my Resource Shop if you feel now is the right time to get started!

Living Life Together: Is there a dear friend that would like to go through the Life Planning Course along with you? I have had a number of groups go through it together and doing it together is priceless. 

You live a busy life, wouldn’t it be great to know that you are busy on the BEST things in life? That is what I want for you as well.

Here’s to living our BEST, giving our BEST and invest in being our BEST!

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Jan 23

It’s Time To Move!

By Jen Regan | Accomplishing Goals

When I created my first Life Plan, I decided I wanted to be vibrant and active into my 70’s and 80’s. I wanted to be the happy, healthy woman at the retirement community dancing, going on walks and taking advantage of every fun day trip. 

After a challenging year of health issues and working to simply maintain the status quo, I am ready to get moving, in order to continue moving towards the life I dream of. How about you?

Life is about navigating all of the twists and turns it throws at us, creating a plan to live the lives we desire and keep moving forward in a way that is best for each of us, so that we can be the best we can be!

I don’t know about you, but I am getting a lot of experience with navigating life’s twists and turns, and quite frankly, that is life. There are times when the status quo is all we can muster up. It is during those times when we have to give ourselves a lot of grace and focus on taking care of ourselves. I have also found that I do eventually reach the point where I know I can start to move on and move forward. 

If you are feeling the same way today, let’s start moving together by:

  • Dreaming about the future and creating a picture in our minds of what we want our future to look like in 5, 10 and 20 years. Like the picture of this vibrant woman above, it is our picture of the future that will keep us motivated and moving forward. What do you want your future to look like?

  • Deciding on some goals or milestones you can work towards that will keep you excited and moving in the right direction. What goal can you set for the first half of this year? I have decided to sign up for my longest bike ride yet, scheduled for June 2020. I want to live a life where I am active, in some way, six days a week, then allow myself one day for complete rest. Training for this bike ride will help me move towards that goal. What is something you can do, that you enjoy, to help you move towards your desired future? What deadline can you give yourself?

  • Creating a realistic plan, especially if you are working through health issues. I say that because, if you are like me, we want to try to jump right back in where we left off. I know my body would not allow me to do that at this point in time. I pulled out my calendar and saw that I have 22 weeks to train. At first that sounded like a long period of time, but in order to move forward at a pace that is right for me right now, I can use every second of time I can get. I took out a piece of paper and listed numbers 1 through 22. I wrote down what I can manage this week on line #1, and my goal on line #22. Then I started to fill in a realistic timeline of training. I built in some cushion knowing that I might have some challenging weeks. I walked away with the beginning of a plan. How long are you giving yourself to reach your goal? Take some time to write it out. You will gain confidence in knowing your plan is realistic and attainable. 

  • Putting it on your calendar. We will have a much better chance of following through on our plan if we block off time right now for it. It is important to put our most important items on our calendar first, and fill in the less important things around them. Go ahead and do that now, don’t hesitate!

  • Let’s get moving! Don’t wait to get started. I have 22 weeks. I could definitely procrastinate if I wanted to, but why? Remember, this is not about a bike ride for me, this is about living a vibrant life now and into my 70’s and 80’s. This is about making your picture of the future a reality and starting to do that TODAY! Take one small manageable baby step today towards your dream. I am dog sitting a family member’s dog, so we are going to go out for a walk this afternoon. It’s small, manageable and exactly what I want to do as I grow older, so why not do it now!

  • Let’s do it together! Right now I do not know anyone else who is participating in the bike ride I am, but I do have friends that love to be active. Let’s all hook up with like minded individuals in our lives and make our future dreams a reality together! Life is so much better, and fun, together!

Here’s to creating an awesome picture of the future and moving towards it today!

Photo by Italo Melo from Pexels
Jan 16

I Expected…

By Jen Regan | Overcoming Obstacles

Have you ever expected things to turn out differently than they did? I don’t know about you, but this happens to me on a daily basis. I always expect things to go a certain way, and when they don’t I get FRUSTRATED. Expectations of ourselves and others is a tricky thing to navigate.

This week I am working on a project for work. This project involved a learning curve because I am using software that is new to me. I worked on it for two days last week and felt like I had a pretty good feel for what the software did. So I felt that I was ready to jump in with both feet this week. Well, I jumped in and landed flat on my face. Day number three became part of the learning curve. I took a deep breath and felt good about moving forward on day number four. This morning I got up, told myself it was a new day and I was going to make things happen. Nope. In fact, the progress that I thought I had made was not done correctly, so I am back to square one. I WAS FRUSTRATED! 

I walked away to calm down and reflect. After a few minutes, I realized that I had created unrealistic expectations of myself. I expected to learn and master software in four short days, that other people have worked their entire career to master. 

When we find ourselves frustrated, how many times can we point back to unrealistic expectations of ourselves or of others?

  • Have you ever expected to hit the gym and start back where you left off six months ago, but soon find yourself frustrated with how tired, weak and sore you are? 

  • Have you ever done something nice and expected others to take notice and appreciate you, but they didn’t? You find yourself extremely frustrated with them?

  • Have you ever worked to lose weight and expected the scale to read differently than it did. You want to throw in the towel because it is really hard.

I don’t think we can live life without creating expectations. I think our mind automatically goes there. The question I want us to ask ourselves when we are frustrated from an unmet expectation is “What can I learn from this?” 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Did I expect too much?

  • Did I expect things to be easier than they were? 

  • Did I expect things to happen faster?

There is a lot we can learn about unfulfilled expectations. I have learned that even though computer software markets itself as “easy”, it may take me some time to learn it and be able to use it effectively. Now to remember that for next time!

Isn’t that an important key too? Let’s take what we learn and use it the next time. 

  • Remember the next time you start back at the gym that it is going to take some time to get back into the shape you desire. Be proud that you are back at it and working to improve your health, no matter what it takes.

  • Remember that certain people in our lives are not known to show appreciation, and not expect it the next time we do something for them. Be proud of the fact that you did what was right.

  • Remember how your body works when it comes to weight loss. Be kind to yourself and go at a pace that is best for you. Be proud of yourself for tackling something very challenging.

Here’s to living a life with less frustration. Let’s do all we can to eliminate it by keeping our expectations in check.

Living Life Together: Sometimes we need a dear friend to remind of some of these things. Let’s lovingly do that for those we care about. Sometimes it can be a simple reminder of our past frustrations to help remind us to do things differently this time.

Photo by energepic.com from Pexels
Jan 09

What Do You Want MOST?

By Jen Regan | What's Most Important

Every Thursday I head up to our local rec center with a friend for a lunchtime spin class. I tend to get there about fifteen minutes early, so I head up to the elevated track to walk some laps. As I walk and get warmed up I can’t help but read a quote that is strategically placed on the wall just as I round a corner. The quote digs past my surface feelings and hits my heart and soul every time I read it.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST.”

What I want now is a scrumptious mocha from Starbucks with a slice of their lemon pound cake! What I really want now is to go home and take a nap instead of going to my spin class. What I really want now is to forget that looming deadline and go get a mani pedi.

As you know, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the things listed above. The real question is, “Will the things we want NOW keep us from obtaining what we want MOST?”

As I was preparing to write this blog post, I asked myself, “What do I want MOST?” The first thing that came to mind was “I want my husband and I to be happy.” My husband and I do not have kids, but if we did, they would be included in that statement. This prompted another question. “What does John and I need to be happy?” As I thought about this question I started to fill a piece of paper with the answers.

I wrote things like:

  • I want John and I to have a great relationship, now and in the future.

  • I want to follow God’s will for my life each day, now and in the future.

  • I want my body to be healthy, now and in the future.

  • I want great relationships and family and friends, now and in the future.

  • I want a safe, comfortable home, now and in the future.

In other words, I want my cake and eat it, too. I want great things NOW and MOST. 

I guess the question comes down to “What are the really great things in life?” 

Is it having the mocha and pound cake at Starbucks, or is it controlling your blood sugar, maintaining a healthy weight, and pinching pennies for the new car you will need soon? Some days it could be Starbucks, but most days, maybe not.

If you had to answer the question “What are the really great things in life?” how would you answer it? What would fill your page?

I want each of us to live a great life NOW and in the future, but in order to have both we have to go after the really great things in life. The things that matter MOST!

One of the greatest ways you could spend your time during these colder days of January is to sit down and ask yourself the questions “What are the really great things in life for me?” Fill up a page with your thoughts. Then ask yourself if there is anything you are doing right now that might be heading you in the wrong direction or holding you back from that great life? Stay in the NO STRESS ZONE and think about small manageable baby steps you can take to start heading towards the great life you want to live.

Living Life Together: Encourage a friend to go through the above exercise as well. Spend some time talking things through together. Support each other, encourage each other, lament your struggles together and laugh together. We all have room to grow and improve. It is so much nicer to do it with a friend!

Here’s to living a great life now and in the future, focusing on the best things in life!

Photo by Kaboompics .com from Pexels