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.
May 21

Struggling With The Simple Life At Home

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

I was once informed that I was a workaholic. I loved my job. I loved what I did. I loved the team I worked with. I loved getting things done and being appreciated for it. On one particular day, I was frustrated with my husband, John, because he wanted me to come home and spend time with him, but I wanted to finish a few more things at work. I received a timely phone call from a woman I looked up to greatly. I shared with her my frustration with John, sure that she would take my side. Nope. She lovingly shared with me that if my job was interfering with my time and relationship with John, I needed to make some changes at work. I did not want to hear it, but she was right.

I cannot tell you how long it was from that phone call to the time I took action on the wisdom of that friend, but it sent me on a journey of simplifying my life in order to prioritize my family. I started by transitioning to part-time work, and boy, was that hard. I spent less time in the place I felt valued for my hard work and spent more time taking care of my home where I did not get as many pats on the back. Why is it that we don’t get a pat on the back for cleaning the toilets? Why is it that it is just expected that there is food in the house? However, that is life at home. 

I remember taking a walk one day because I simply had to get out of the house. I did not understand the feelings I was having. On one hand, I felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to work part time and stay on top of more things for my family, but on the other hand, I was sad. I realized, on that walk, that it really did come down to the fact that I was addicted to getting value from other people for the work I did. It is not a bad thing all together, but I was going to have to make some mental changes if I was going to make this simplified life at home work.

One mental shift I made, and still have to remind myself of, is that the work I do at home does make the lives of my loved ones better. I made it my mission to make my home a sanctuary for John to come home to after a long day of work. I never had children, but I learned the needs of my sweet puppy as she grew older and did all I could to make her life better.

I also knew that everything at home did not have to fall on my shoulders. We need the help of everyone, but, as you know, that does not automatically happen. We hold a leadership role in our homes. We keep it running smoothly with the help of a team. I heard someone once describe the job of a homemaker as a management position, and it really is. The role we hold at home is essential.

Today, we are all finding ourselves in different roles at home more than we have had in the past. Let’s see ourselves as leaders in our homes. Know that the work we do, day in and day out, is very valuable. Rally the team, so that everyone can do their part. Celebrate the big and small wins we have along the way.

Life at home can be a simpler life, and it can be one that is savored and enjoyed. Here’s to living your best life at home with those you love.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: Many times we see certain jobs as “spiritual jobs” and others as not. I have learned that everything we do in our day is part of God’s plan and will for our lives. Mowing the lawn is part of His plan for our lives. Folding laundry is too. Knowing all of the simple things I do at home is part of His plan, helps me see them in a new light. It helps me see them as important and valuable.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
May 14

Small Changes Count, Big Time!

By Jen Regan | Perseverance

Do you know you have rocked out living and managing a whole new life for the past two months? When you are faced with a challenge, you rise to it. Yes, we all have had rocky days, but we have persevered and made things work. Are there any changes that you have made that have improved your life? If so, let’s not let those things go. Let’s hold on to them as we move into the weeks, months and years ahead!

As silly as it sounds, I have learned that I do not need to go to the store every other day. I have a grocery store and many other stores a stone's throw from my home. Before Covid-19,  I would not plan ahead at all and I would run to the grocery store whenever I needed something, which was often. Over the past two months I have learned to enjoy planning ahead and stocking up my pantry for weeks instead of days. 

This is one simple thing, but it is something that has improved my life and brought many benefits. Yes, it was initially out of necessity, but I added it to my plate with grace. Now, I want to keep it as a habit in my life.

What new things have you rocked out over the past few months? Are there any you have enjoyed and want to continue into the future? If it helps,  write them down now. Writing helps us commit to them and think about how we can keep them going. It’s also nice to put them in a place where they can be used as reminders.

You are continuing to tailor your life by taking small steps in the right direction, day after day. You are making your life more of what you want it to be!

Let’s see every small change as a gift that makes our lives better! Let’s keep doing the best we can as we march into the future.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: My daily walk with Jesus improves every single day. He teaches me something and loves me as I try to learn. He is truly the model of a patient teacher.

Photo by Lina Kivaka from Pexels
May 07

We All Want To Give Our Best

By Jen Regan | Prioritizing Yourself

Is your life starting to feel simpler? Even though there is much unknown? Is life wonderfully centered around those you love? Even though the past month has been a big adjustment? Are these areas you want to hold on to as you move forward? I definitely do! There is one thing that can derail all of it, and it’s all about you.Enter your text here...

I had a rough week last week. I had a number of health setbacks that decided to hit all at once. Now that I have started to make a turn for the better, I look back and realize, understandably, I was not at my best last week. I was not able to go above and beyond for my loved ones. It also seemed like there was less simplicity and more loose ends.  It reminded me, in order for me and my loved ones to live our BEST, it is so important for me to take care of myself first. When I take care of my needs and health, I have so much more to give to those I love, and keep our lives running smoothly and simply.

Do you find the same to be true for you? What are some areas you can keep in check to make sure you are at your BEST, so that you can give others your BEST?

Your Physical health! 

  • Food brings energy, or not. Can you take baby steps to improve what you are putting into your body? 

  • Exercise. How are you doing with your movement? What can you do that is fun and active? What baby step can you take today to get going?

  • Sleep. How are you sleeping? If you wake up in the middle of the night, what are you thinking about? What would be something beneficial to think about as you try to get back to sleep?

  • Medications. Sometimes when our schedules change, we get out of the routine of taking our meds as our doctor has prescribed. What reminders can you put in place to make sure you stay healthy?

Your Mental and Emotional Health!

  • What can you do to have some time to yourself? Many of you are home 24/7 with your children and have very little time to get away. This will require some creativity, but it is so important in order for you to be at your BEST.

  • Are you having some fun? Have you picked up an old hobby? Started putting together a puzzle? Whatever you enjoy doing, how can you add more of that into your life?

  • Are you staying connected to others? We are meant to live this life together, and we have had to change the way we do that lately. Are you staying connected to people you care about and who care about you? Who can you touch base with right now?

  • Cry when you need to. There are just times we need to grieve and cry. Allow yourself to express your emotions, and give love and grace to friends who need the same.

What else do you need to live you BEST? What baby steps can you take to add more of it into your day? Some days and weeks are harder than others, but there is usually something we can do to feel better. In turn it will help us not only be our BEST but give our BEST to others too!

My Daily Walk With Jesus: This past week I asked God many times why He was allowing me to be in so much pain again. I think we all can ask the same question. Why is He allowing so much pain in our world today? For one, I do believe that God loves us each so very much. I believe sometimes He has to allow pain to get our attention, sometimes to teach us something important, and many times it is for reasons that will only be known by God Himself. He loves us so much and has a great plan for us. For me, I believe that God is teaching me a lot of things right now. How about you? Is He trying to get your attention? Teach you something? If you ask, He will show you, even if you don’t expect Him to.

Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels
Apr 30

Enjoyment Right Now

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

I have always been an advocate for making sure we add things in our calendars that we can look forward to. I have a friend that schedules camping trips for the entire summer so that she looks forward to getting away from the hustle and bustle of life. I have registered for bike ride events in the past to have something to train towards and the event to look forward to. But adding things to look forward to, like we have in the past, is not our current reality. How, then, do we add enjoyment to our lives right now?

Earlier this week I was struggling, and feeling very ho-hum. My inner dialog kept saying “I have nothing to look forward to right now.” I have no trips on the horizon, and no bike rides to train for. Sure, I have ordered some craft supplies to work on, but it all feels like “work”, nothing feels like FUN!

I had to find a solution. I like to live my BEST. I don’t like to live a ho-hum life, even through a down day here and there is okay. I started to think about life as a whole. It really consists of about 95% “everyday” type work. 

  • Getting ready in the morning.

  • Making and cleaning up from meals.

  • Work that brings home income to provide for our needs.

  • Work that needs to be done around the house to keep it running smoothly.

  • More meals and clean up.

  • Mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.

  • Helping others in our world.

The majority of our time in the past and today is spent in “everyday” kind of work. 

I had to come to grips with that and turn my feeling of BLAH into feeling of peace and acceptance. Our lives actually don’t need to be “exciting” all the time. Our everyday work is good stuff and is part of an amazing life, our BEST life. It does not feel glamorous, but I realized the glamorous life I thought I wanted was something that marketers have filled my mind with to buy their products. 

I am actually starting to realize that my everyday, simple life is pretty amazing. I am starting to enjoy things that I rushed by in the past. 

  • Today is a beautiful rainy day. We have a gentle rain that sounds amazing as it hits the new leaves that are blooming on the trees. 

  • Today, we sit next to loved ones, maybe doing “common” things, but we are together, like we have not been able to be in the past.

  • Today, we all try to do our part to make the world a better place. For some that means going out of our homes to work, for some that means staying inside and away from others, for some that means making face masks to protect each other, and yet for others it’s taking the time to call someone who lives by themselves to let them know you are thinking of them.

  • Today we cut our lawn and enjoy the scent of freshly cut grass. We love the look of it when it is all done. 

  • Today we take a walk to keep our bodies moving and healthy.

These are the simple things that our everyday lives are filled with. I am trying to embrace them as significant, because they are. They used to be after thoughts, sometimes even annoyances, but now they are the things that will bring joy into our lives, if we allow them to.

Let’s live our BEST lives, ENJOYING the things that come our way in EVERYDAY life.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: The concept of enjoying the simple things was brought forward for me in a Joyce Meyer Podcast that I listened to as well as my morning devotion with Oswald Chambers. Joyce shared that God is teaching her that she can hear His voice clearer when life is simpler. I can see how that is true. When life is hectic, we can barely hear ourselves think much less hear clearly from God. Oswald Chambers said in April 28th devotion in My Utmost For His Highest “God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough.” I read this devotion at a time where I did not feel like “simple” was enough. In the days since, I have worked to embrace the simpler things. God is working in me to find peace and joy in my everyday simple life.

Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels
Apr 23

The Simplest of Reminders

By Jen Regan | Baby Steps

I don’t know about you, but one day I am happy and motivated, the next I am depressed and ready for life to get back to “normal”. Some days everything seems to run smoothly, others are a crap shoot from the moment my feet hit the floor. One thing I do know is that no matter what kind of day I am having, one thing works in every situation...baby steps!

Baby steps work with ongoing projects. Be it for work, for home or helping your loved ones with their projects, dividing the big project into smaller pieces helps us feel like we are moving forward and making headway. 

Baby steps work with daily tasks and chores. Many of you are working with your kids with schoolwork and we are all having to keep up on more housework with more traffic in, out and around your home. Keeping up with groceries and meals can get overwhelming. Take it one step at a time and know that one step is perfect. We will feel like we “should” be able to get more done, but you have taken on so much more this past month.

Baby steps work when you are trying to make the best of this time and focus on good habits. You may have a day every once in a while that you slip a little, but take it one day at a time and be proud of what you can do, baby steps.

Baby steps help us give grace to those we are with and work with during this time. Know that it helps everyone to take baby steps. Allow your kids to take baby steps. Allow your co-workers to take baby steps. Allow your spouse or significant other to take baby steps. We all need some love and grace. Baby steps will provide that.

You know all of this, so it is a simple reminder to take it easy on yourself, take one step at a time, and take each day as it comes.

My daily walk with Jesus: You guessed it, God is the author of baby steps. He teaches me slowly and lovingly. Through my prayer time, Bible reading and devotion, I learn something new each day. It all moves me forward to love God and others more.

If you are going through particularly devastating times right now, baby steps will get you through each day. I have a free booklet to help you. Click here and download a free copy in my Resource Shop.

Apr 16

You Have A Greater Purpose

By Jen Regan | Living Life Together

I was challenged with a question this week. Do I believe I have a greater purpose to live out in life, one that is more important than the job I get paid to do? I answered “yes” and I believe you would, too. My greatest purpose is to love and nurture those loved ones that have been entrusted to me in life. Why then do I find it so much easier to do my “job” and struggle with investing in my loved ones here at home?

To start to get my head around this, I spent some time thinking about this “greater purpose”. It is my greater purpose to love and invest in my family. But it is not a one way street. It is also their greater purpose to invest in me and the family as well. I think this is key. This is not just about mom or dad taking care of everyone, this is about everyone taking care of everyone.

I don’t know about you, but even though this is common sense, this requires a big shift in my thinking, and a big shift in what we teach our kids to be important. 

If we really believe in this greater purpose we have to start by…

Defining what that means and looks like for our family. Each of our families look different. Some of you are single with no kids. Some, like me, are married without kids. Many of you have kids, and some have grown kids with grandkids entering the picture. Right now, let’s define who the individuals are in our lives that we are to invest our time in. They are our greater purpose when all is said and done.

Envision a future where our family is living this greater purpose out on a daily basis. How are we going to know what steps to move forward if we do not know what we want to work towards? Start to make a list of what this might look like for you and your loved ones in the future. As thoughts come to your mind throughout the week, add them to your list. 

Ask yourself:

  • What baby steps can I start with to move forward towards the future I have described above? 

  • How can I love myself as I learn? 

  • How can I help each of my loved ones start to think of others more?

  • How can I love them as they try to learn and grow?

These changes are not going to happen overnight, but what a great purpose to strive towards. We are all home together right now. It has the potential to be so much better if we all think of each other, and slowly but surely, make each other our greatest purpose. 

My daily walk with Jesus: I believe this blog post was birthed out of time that I spent focused on God. He challenges me to be better and better every day. My growth and personal development is very important to Him. He wants me to focus on the right things and not get sidetracked with less important things. His challenges are not always easy, but He helps me through them one step at a time, one day at a time. Most importantly, He loves me as I try to learn.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels