Defined by as

  • the space around the printed or written matter on a page.
  • an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary.
  • a border or edge.


We don’t think much about a margin until we are updating our resume. We decrease the margin as far as possible to fit as much information as possible about ourselves on one page. We also think about margin when we are in school writing a paper, we may increase the margins (and font size) to help us reach our page requirement.  But we don’t tend to think about the concept of margin as it pertains to how we live our life. Life margin is the space that we leave beyond all of the stuff we have to get done. It’s the space we leave beyond all of the things that are necessary. From my time listening to crazy, busy individuals, I hear that there is very little margin left in our days and in our lives in general, but it is incredibly important.

Margin allows space for the unexpected. Something I am trying to work on in my life is to keep a good attitude even when the unexpected happens. I am a planner. When I make a plan, I want things to go just as planned. Well, we all know that is not how life works. I have found that because this is the way I think, I get easily frustrated and I do not want to live a life of frustration. What I am trying to start is to create my plan, but create it with more margin to allow for those inevitable, unexpected challenges in life.

Margin allows space for our mind to recover. This past week and the upcoming week, my co-worker is on a much needed vacation. Therefore, I not only had to make sure my work is getting done, but her workload as well. This is a common situation that we all deal with on a regular basis, especially when a co-worker leaves the company. Not only do you have to cover their work, but you also have to take on the load of training the new person. These situations take away much of the mental margin we have. I know I felt brain fried at the end of each day and had very little to give to the rest of my life. I did not do well with margin last week, so I am going to try to do better this week because my mind, and your mind need a break in order for us to live our best. Yes, there are times we have to push through with little mental margin, but we don’t want to make it an ongoing habit.

Margin allows space for our body to recover. What tends to happen when we go, go, go and go some more? What I see so often is our immune system gets weak and we get sick. Do you realize that wearing ourselves down affects our bodies and our immune system? What breaks my heart even more is when I see wonderful people who are sick still pushing forward because they “should be there” or “can’t miss it” or “it has to get done”. We are not taking care of ourselves and our bodies if we cannot take a break. Building margin into our lives is good for our health.

Margin allows space for calm and intentionality. What is calm and intentionality, right? Calm and intentionality should be listed on the endangered species list because they are almost extinct in our lives today. When we build margin into our lives there is time to sit in the sunshine and take some deep breaths. Margin creates time to get out of reactionary mode and think intentionally about our lives, our relationships, and our future. Calm and intentionality are components of living our best life, but they are likely found in the area of margin in our lives.

If you were me, I would be thinking, “This is great Jen, but how do I do this? How do I create margin in my life?” Well, I am still working on figuring that out myself, but I am going to jump into the “how” in next week’s blog post. In the meantime, your assignment for this week is to think about this concept of margin each day and increase your awareness of it in your life.

Until next week, here’s to keeping some “white space” in our lives, taking some much needed deep breaths and continue to strive to live our best!

Don’t Give up on Your Dreams!

Life is not easy at times, and it doesn’t always play out like we envision it to. Through the years we dream of fun trips, ideal careers, dream homes, and so much more just to find those dreams buried in all of the other “stuff” of life. How do we tap back into our dreams and make them a reality?


I have a bunch of dreams. I have dreams of becoming a bestselling author, of buying my dream bike and taking week-long trips on rails-to-trails around the U.S. I have dreams of taking a train trip through the mountains of Canada, and so much more. But all of these dreams take work and effort to make them a reality. I don’t know about you, but life can get in the way of my dreams and sometimes they feel like they start to slip away.

Many times our dreams take time to come to fruition. What can we do to ensure that they become a reality?

First, let’s write them down. There is something important about taking the time to pick up a pen and paper or sit down at our computer and put our dreams into words.

Second, it’s important to keep our dreams in front of us. That may mean taking what you wrote down and putting it up in your office or on the refrigerator. I also like to find pictures that represent my dreams and keep them in front of me. I love John and my home, but we have dreams of having a house away from town and in the quiet countryside. I have pictures of my dream house on the desktop of my computer. Just the other morning when I had a few minutes I opened them up and found myself excited about the possibilities.

Third, make sure you share your dreams with the important people in your life; some compromise may need to take place. I have always dreamt of going on a cruise, but John has no desire to do that. It’s funny, many couples that I have talked to about this have one for and one against going on a cruise. I joked for years that I was going to gather all of my friends who wanted to go on a cruise and go, and you never know, I might still do that. But I started to think about trips that both John and I would enjoy and that is when I came up with the idea of taking a train trip through the mountains of Canada. Even my dream of writing a best-selling book will impact my loved ones. It’s important to dream together and stay on the same page.

Forth, don’t allow anyone to discourage or tell you it can’t be done. Sometimes going after our dreams can be lonely. Others do not have the same passion that we have and therefore, may not think it is all that important. Some dreams take a lot of time, effort and investment and others may lose interest along the way or think you can’t do it. My book writing adventures have taken a long time, and they are going to continue to take time. Many people have written off the idea that I am going to accomplish this goal, but I have not. It may take me 5, 10, 15 more years to make it happen, but I am going to keep going.

Lastly, keep taking baby steps forward. A bunch of small baby steps will take you a long way. One of my dear friends is writing a book too. As she moved forward in the process she decided to go back to school. People wonder if she has given up on her dream of writing her book. From the outside there is no evidence of her moving forward, but each class that she completes teaches her amazing things and brings her closer to making her dreams and book a reality. She is taking one small baby step at a time.

What are your dreams? Don’t let anything stop you from dreaming and making your dreams a reality.  Here’s to big dreams and baby steps to make them a reality!

Three Main Ingredients for a Great Life!

What are the ingredients for a great life? I have been asking myself this very question for a number of weeks because I do not feel like I am living my “Best Life” right now. I have started a new job, and with that comes a period of adjustment, a period of time where my old “normal”  is gone and I need to find a new, wonderful “normal” again.


I think we can all agree that one of the ingredients to living our best life is prioritizing the “most important” people and things. I have been doing pretty well at this the past few weeks with some tweaks here and there, but I have realized it is not enough. I have come to see our “most important” things as the foundation to living our best life. It is essential to build the rest of our life on, but it is not everything.

Next we have the ingredient of what “needs” to get done. This is not always a fun ingredient in life, but the reality is that it exists. John’s and my life were filled will annoyances this past week that “needed” to be dealt with. We received an unexpected medical bill that required some phone calls as well as unplanned check writing. I had a delivery of some liquid laundry soap that decided to break in transit. Is it bad when the box is in a trash bag on your front porch and the bottom feels mushy when you pick it up? In addition to these annoyances, the laundry still needs to get done. We needed to get to the grocery store. Things “need” to get done in our lives, and that is never going to change. What we can do is: recognize it is a part of life, stop fighting the annoyances because they usually win, deal with them as we need to, and try to keep a decent attitude during them. Things will always “need” to be done.

The last ingredient, what I consider the sweet spot, it is when we take time for the things we “want” to do. This is the area I have been lacking in since I have started my new job. I have filled my time with the most important people and things. Check! I have been dealing with what “needs” to be dealt with. Check! But I have not been taking time to do the things that bring added joy to my day. These are the things we feel are selfish because many times they are all about us. Well I am hear to tell you, this is the areas that bring some spice into our lives and is not selfish. I am writing this post on my birthday and even though I have a lot of things that “need” to be done today, I decided to sleep in this morning just because I wanted to. I am going to treat myself to a pedicure here shortly and do a few other things just because I want to. Prioritizing the things we “want” to do is so very important!

We all know that we cannot distill life down to three ingredients, but if we can get these three right with the right attitude, we will be well on our way to living our best life.

Here’s to loving ourselves, loving others and approaching everything else that comes our way with the best attitude we can muster up!

P.S. Below is the link to this month’s “Something To Look Forward To” Calendar! It’s time to start planning some fun stuff for the months to come!

June 2017 STLFT Planning Calendar

Setbacks Happen

Setbacks happen in life. The question is, how can we continue to live our best in the midst of these trying times?


I am in the midst of another round of back issues. I have had chronic back issues for years. I have made tremendous strides in improving my back strength and mobility. It seems recently though, that every time I make plans to start my triathlon training program, my back flairs up and I am back to square one. Waking up and going to bed with pain every day gets old really quickly and it wears down my positive demeanor. I have had to ask myself, “what can I do to live my best even when I am in a holding pattern?”

  • First, I try not to allow the setback to get too much of my attention. When I have days that I feel sorry for myself and spend the entire day thinking about my pain and how I can hardly walk straight much less train, I find myself miserable. When I have days where I keep the attitude of “it is what it is” and focus on other things, I seem to be a much happier person. This is hard, but focusing on something negative will only make us more negative. Focusing on something good will lighten our spirits quickly.
  • Second, I do what is within my control to make things better. There is a lot that is out of our control when a setback hits, but there is a lot that is within our control as well. If you feel as though you are in a hopeless situation, spend some time reflecting on what you can do and how you can still enjoy life in the midst of this difficult time.
  • Third, I try to come to grips with the fact that setbacks take time to resolve. This is one of the areas that is very tough for me. Waiting for things has been a theme in my life, and because of it, I loath waiting. You would think that because I have had so much experience with it that, I would be used to it by now. Nope, but when I remind myself that these things do take time to get better, and take my advice from above, I do a little better with living my best.
  • Fourth, I stay focused on where I want to be in the future and never stop dreaming. Even though I have not been on my bike for weeks, I still spent some time the other night researching and dreaming about the dream bike I want to buy. It will be weeks before I can get back on my bike and probably years before I can purchase my dream bike, but I am going to keep dreaming about what I want, to keep my spirits up and have a goal to work towards. I will get there one baby step at a time.
  • Fifth, I need to remember that setbacks are a part of life. There is no such things as a life without them. Wouldn’t it be great if we could come to accept this fact and not fight the setbacks when they happen? I am not at this point yet, but I am starting to remind myself of this when things don’t go my way.

Setbacks are inevitable. The approach we take towards them can make a big difference.
Here’s to living our best when life is not ideal.