It Can Be Life Changing!

Do you know that it is never too late to learn? Seriously! We can learn new amazing facts and statistics, but we can also learn a new way of living. If something we are doing in our lives is not working well, we can learn a new way of doing it. We are not limited to what we know today, the sky’s the limit! Learning new things can be life changing!


I have the dream of one day publishing a book, even many books. As I began dreaming a few years ago, I started to look into what it would take for me to do such a thing. Soon, my dream spawned into the idea of owning my own business, enabling me to better encourage others to live their best lives. Suddenly though, I found myself overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge. I started looking at resources to help me in my pursuits, but again, I found that there was SO MUCH I NEEDED TO LEARN! I had a decision to make. Keep moving forward, or be content with where I was in my life at that point. I love my life right now, but I want to go after my dreams, so learning became a priority.

I am going to keep this blog post short and sweet as we move into the holiday weekend, but I want to encourage you to never give up, keep making the changes you want to make in your life. It might be taking control of your “out of control” schedules. It might be getting a good night’s rest. It might be going back to school. Or it might be saving more money for the future. I don’t think it takes much time and effort for us each to list at least one or two areas that we want to improve in our lives. Just remember that you are capable to making those changes a reality. Let me repeat that. You are capable of making those changes, and I believe learning something new is an essential step in the process.

Have a great weekend! Here’s to never giving up, and learning new things to live our best!

What’s Essential?

If we want to accomplish something in our lives or start something new, one of our greatest barriers is not having enough time. The questions then is,  how do we move forward in our goals? How do we make our dreams a reality? How do we move forward?


I might have you trained well in my philosophy to say “ Baby steps Jen, that is how we move forward” and I don’t disagree with that. I do know though, that even baby steps take time. What I am trying to figure out is how to make more time for the areas that are most important to me. This will then give me more time for more baby steps, continuing to move forward, steadily,  towards what I want to accomplish.

What I am working on right now, is to find more time to identify and remove non-essentials in my life. Non-essentials generally fall into the category of “good” things in my life, not “best” things. I think all of our lives are filled with a lot of “good” things, but they do indeed fill up our time. I am trying to differentiate between the “good” and “best” and distill my life down to the essentials, the BEST!

What does this look like?

  • The first thing I have learned is that this is a very individual and personal process. What I may define as essential for me may be non-essential to you, and vice versa. It is important not to compare ourselves with others. We can use others as examples, but at the end of the day, we each have to decide and be comfortable with what is essential to us. I have asked myself if training for my triathlon is essential for my life right now. After putting some thought to it, I have decided that it is essential for my physical, mental and emotional health right now. I can almost guarantee that training for a triathlon is not essential to you. Your essentials will be very personal to you.
  • The second thing I have learned is that things change over time. Things that I may define as non-essential at this time might be able to be elevated back to essential in the future. It is up to each of use to decided. I play the upright bass, but I have put the bass down for almost a year now. It does make me sad that I have not played it, but I know in my heart that it is a non-essential right now. Here in a few months, my plan is for that to change. After my intense training for my triathlon is done, the nights start getting longer and the weather starts getting colder, it is my plan to prioritize my bass playing again. If you have to set something aside for the time being, know that it can be picked back up at a later date.
  • Non-essentials take different forms. So far I have found non-essential thoughts that need to be removed from my life. I have found non-essential possessions, aka clutter, that needs to be removed. I have found non-essentials in my schedule that need to be removed. Non-essentials are anything that fall into the category of “less than best”.

How do we move forward on our dreams and goals by eliminating non-essentials?

  • I have found that identification of non-essentials is the first and most challenging step. I have spent the last 5 months asking myself what I can remove from my life, what is non-essential. It has been a slow process of many baby steps to identify the many “good” things in my life that I am willing to give up for the “best” things. In the end, we have 24 hours in a day and we have to make choices. If we want to find time and move forward with our dreams and goals, non-essentials will more than likely need to be removed.
  • Removing non-essentials is the next step which takes time and that is hard to find in our schedules as well. A non-essential I recently removed from my schedule was my container garden. The past few years I have set up a container garden on my back deck. I did the same this last spring, but with a very different schedule this year and very dry weather, my container garden required a lot of time and attention that I just did not have. Instead of being an enjoyable experience, it became a burden. I decided that, for now, the container garden needed to be closed down for the year. It took time to do that, but it has brought relief in the long run.
  • Next, I keep an eye out for the next non-essential that needs to be removed. Just this week, we had some small renovations done at our house. In the process, I have had to move some things around and find new homes for a few things. It has come to my attention through this process, that it is time for me to say goodbye to some non-essential possessions. It feels like I am drowning in clutter right now. My plan for the next week or so is to identify and start to remove some of the physical clutter from my space and life.
  • Lastly, we have to be on guard for non-essential creeping back into our lives. I think the more we spend time focusing on what is most important to us, the easier it is to identify the things that are non-essential, but we still have to watch out for them in our lives.

The end result to all of this is to spend as much time and energy focusing on what is most important in our lives and removing the things of less importance. This is hard and it is a process, but as I am finding out, I will not have time for the areas that I want to move forward in unless I make these hard choices.

Join me in focusing on the “best” and working to remove all of the non-essentials in our lives.

Home Sweet Home…Again

As I scanned my calendar over a few  weeks’ time, I noticed something kind of strange. I had a weekend coming up that was EMPTY! There was nothing at all schedule for this weekend. What will I do? This is such a rare occasion, I was almost paralyzed in disbelief.


As that weekend approached, I decided to make sure it stayed empty, and doing so was not easy. In fact as it got closer, I had to be very intentional about saying “no” to the numerous invitations that came my way. As of Friday night, I still did not know what I was going to do with my time, but one thing I felt was the need to stay home. I followed that desire and it was exactly what I needed.

I love my home, but I can even dread coming home to it at times when there are dishes stacked up, piles of laundry that need to be done, floors that desperately need to be cleaned, and a dead container garden because I neglected watering it. There are weeds that need to be pulled, bedding that needs to be washed and mounds of paperwork that needs to be filed. I love my home, and there is nothing I want more than to enjoy being “at home” there.

As I woke up on Saturday morning, after sleeping in a little late, I decided to start with the laundry. As it was going, I jumped over to the dishes for a little bit. Then started to tackle the floors and so much more! Some may say that this is a waste of a day, but I say this is exactly what I needed, and I think we all need this every once in a while.

Here is what my day at home provided for me, and will provide for you too:

It allowed me to have full control of my time. So often our lives are dictated by many other schedules like work, school, extracurricular activities, family, church, etc. We get in the mode of going where we need to go, when we need to go and no longer have control over our time. That was not the case on my day at home, I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and it was refreshing.

It allowed me to take control over those things that were nagging at me, aka, my dirty floors. When something is not the way it should be, it nags at us. It could be a cluttered office, weeds that have taken over your landscaping, or dirty floors in my case. I took the time on my day at home to tackle my nagging projects and it felt great!

It made me feel productive. Doesn’t it feel great when we have a productive day at home or at work? It almost feels like we can take a deep breathe and breath easier. This is not the feeling we get when we are running around with our heads cut off all weekend. My day at home felt productive and great!

It allowed me to enjoy my home again. When all was said and done, the laundry was done and put away, the floors were clean and a number of other odd jobs were done, I was happy to come home again. Don’t get me wrong, I did not finish everything on my “ To-Do” list, but I did take care of those things that were nagging me. Our homes are supposed to be a place to come for rest. My day at home allowed me to restore that feeling of being “at home”.

I do not have children, but I think these days at home are refreshing for them as well, even though they may not want to admit it. I remember days growing up that my mom put us to work in our rooms, usually cleaning out our closets. It was a lot of work, but at the end of the day, it was nice to have a clean and organized space. Maybe end the day with a special meal and a great family night.  Home and family are great things to prioritize.

Having a day at home is great medicine for you and for your family. You may not be as lucky as me to have a free weekend “pop-up” on your calendar, but you can be intentional about blocking off a day or an entire weekend. It will require some intentionality and saying “no” to some good things, but it will all be worth it in the end.

Here’s to being at home again!

An Ordinary Wek

I am writing this blog post on Wednesday night, the night before it is to be posted. My original plan was to share an article that I had saved quite a while ago, but just got around to reading this week. When I went to find for the article online, it apparently is so old that it is not longer available. I am sitting in my recliner thinking about what I am going to share with you this week. Hmmmm. It’s been a pretty ordinary week.


I read an interesting article today and it make me think about the next “step” in the process of baby steps. So far this year I have been thinking about and taking just the next baby step. Life has been crazy busy and that is all I could handle. That is ok, in fact that is great and better than no steps at all, but this article suggested thinking about and planning out the next two or three baby steps. I realize I cannot do this in all areas of my life, but I think I am going to start to try this in at least one area that I am trying to move forward in. I will let you know how it goes.

I have been trying to read more articles this week. The articles I am reading are focused around one of the areas that I want to grow and do great things in the future. Monday morning I read one and today I read one. It has not been a huge thing, but it is more than what I had been doing, and they have really enhanced my week. I am going to try to keep it up.

I have spent time with some great people. Sunday I spent the day with my parents, sister and her family. I have taken some nice evening walks with my husband, John. Tonight I had dinner eating some yummy ribs with a dear friend, and I have more great times with great people planned for the rest of my week. Oh, and I can’t forget my cuddle time with my puppy.

I also have to share that I was quite cranky Monday and Tuesday of this week. I don’t want you to think that my life is all rainbows and bunnies. I did not have a good attitude for a few days.

I guess my point to this blog post is to let you see that I live a pretty ordinary life, but I still plan to do extraordinary things. I try to keep learning. I keep taking baby steps. I spend time with great people. I even get cranky. Whatever you want to do in life, no matter how ordinary it might look, be proud of it and go for it. Be true to who you are, be kind to yourself, and keep going!

I hope you have a great rest of the week! Good or bad, we will keep plugging away, right? Here’s to living our BEST ordinary life!  

P.S. An amazing lady named Beth takes time each week to edit my blog posts. Since I am writing this the night before, she will not be able to do her magic on my post. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes, and thank you Beth for always making me look good and for making my weekly blog post a positive experience for everyone. I plan to be back on track next week, but Beth has heard that many times from me before. : )

I want to…but it’s just too hard!

One of the challenges we face as we want to make improvements in our lives is the feeling of “I want to….but it’s just too hard!” We live busy, full lives that require a lot of energy. Sometimes we are excited and motivated to get going with a new project or goal, but we soon find ourselves hitting a wall because we never imagined it could be so hard.

Too hard

This is exactly where I am right now with the running part of my training for my triathlon. I feel like I am in pretty good shape. Biking and swimming come pretty easily for me. I cross train two times a week, I should be able to pick up this running stuff relatively easily, right? Wrong! I am not fooling myself into thinking I can do this overnight, but I have had to take my baby steps down so small that I don’t think I can make them much smaller. I have asked myself a number of times this week, if it’s time to throw in the towel and realize this was not meant for me, but deep down I don’t want to give up.  I will not continue if I feel like I am at the point where I am hurting my body, but that is not the case. How than do you and I keep going when things are so hard?

  • We keep showing up. In other words, keep doing something, because doing nothing will set us back even farther. Take your baby step down to an even smaller step. There is nothing wrong with it because you are still moving forward. For me, I get out to walk and I throw in some jogging here and there. I do as much as my body can handle, then I do it again in a few days. Triathletes that are reading this post may think that I will never make it at this rate, but I will surely not make it if I give up. The same goes for you. Show up. Keep doing something.
  • Set a goal date. I want you to know right up front that my first goal date was April of this year, then June, then July, now it’s September. Many people might ask “what’s the point in a goal date if you don’t meet your goal?” Well, what it has done for me is kept me moving. I keep the picture in my mind of me participating in a triathlon and it keeps me going. With this being as hard as it is, I can guarantee I would have done nothing if I had not committed to these dates. One of these days I will hit my goal date. What date can you set to help you keep moving forward?
  • Change things up a little. If one thing is not working for you, try something else. Yesterday I spent some time thinking about the areas of my body that are not happy with me when I run. I then decided that I was going to start a new set of stretches to see if I could loosen them up and get them moving better. For you, it might be changing up what you eat, or what you are trying to cut out. Think a little bit about what is not working and see what you can tweak to see if it will work better. Life is one big experiment. Let’s learn from what works and change what does not. We will get to our goal if we don’t give up.
  • Try not to get discouraged. It is hard when we are not seeing the results we expected. Keep reminding yourself that you have not given up and that you are doing something small to continue to move forward. If you have given up, pick back up and do something small. We see all around us those who “did it” and it was “so easy”. That is a lie! Sure, some things are easier for some people than others, but everything in life that is worth doing is going to have it’s challenges. Keep going and know that whatever you are doing is great. I am proud of you for it!

I am proud of you for working hard every day to live your BEST! It is hard work, but you keep going! Know that you are not alone, we are in this together! Keep going, keep showing up, keep moving forward towards great things!

Here’s to showing up even when things are hard!