How Can We Truly Be in Control?

Letting go of the need for control is one of the (many) things I have to consistently work on to achieve positive results.

My default setting is that I want to feel in control of how things will turn out — control of a trip that I’m on, or a project I’m handling, how a conversation will go or even getting my dogs to “go” in a timely manner.

Often, it becomes more frustrating than the way I had imagined it could be ~ IF were truly in control.

Can we ever really control how things will turn out? 

We might think so, but how often do things actually turn out exactly the way we’ve planned?

I know my life has been a series of unexpected outcomes, despite my best intentions to get to certain goals, accomplishments or experiences. 

Even when I reach the end point of certain things that I've endeavored to do, they often turn out to be much different once I achieve them, than I had originally imagined that they would be.

And forget planning for an outcome to go down without a hitch....

Yeah, that's the equivalent of herding cats or nailing jello to a wall!

I’ve found that when I want to control the outcome of things, I become more anxious and tense. 

I’m less happy with how other people do things, less happy with myself, and less relaxed in the moments that I ordinarily would be able to enjoy. 

My relationships and responsibilities suffer because I am preoccupied with how I “think” things ought to be and how they will turn out.

My friend called this week to give me an update on something she was 'concerned' would happen. And, guess what, like so many other things we are 'concerned' (worried) about... it ended up working out so much better than she imagined it would. 

Her comment to me was so true. She said, "I used to get so anxious worrying about all the things that I really hoped wouldn't happen. But, I've finally realized. that  things usually work out just as they are supposed to. And, I am thankful that Jesus does this and that I don't have all the anxiety anymore". 

I couldn't agree more. Often, when I get fixated on how something should be for me to be 'okay', it's all I can think about. 

It makes it so hard to focus on what the Lord wants me to learn through this situation as well as others I may be dealing with. 

And, it affects my moods and especially how present I can be with the other happenings I'm currently involved in.

It's such a waste of a day (or a week, or an hour) to be all wrapped up in one thing.... the outcome of something.

Some months back, Jeff and I watched an older movie about a pro golfer who was played by Pat Boone, when he was likely in his 80s. He was mentoring a younger golfer, who played well, but was overly anxious and cocky. 

The movie offered many lines that were wisdom such as I'd expect to hear from my grandmother. One such line was when the pro instructed the younger golfer about something he had observed in him that was causing him to make careless errors. The pro told him that he needed to practice "NATO". 

The younger guy was  bewildered until the pro explained that 'NATO' stands for 'not-attached-to-the-outcome". 

The pro encouraged him to play in the moment. To think and be present in the moment. Not somewhere off on the 18th hole trying to win, when he needed to be focused on where he was and the effort he was making on the hole he was playing. Which, the pro explained, was where he could have the most impact.

How true!! When my focus is on the completion, conclusion or finishing of something, I am not present. I am staked out in the future with much of my emotional stability banking on a particular outcome that I have very limited means of influencing.

I am probably somewhere out in left field looking up for a fly ball that may not even come my way.... so since my focus is off on something I cannot control, I often lose control of where I can make a difference.

This definitely presents a problem in relationships. 

When we become so focused on what the other person needs to monitor, correct, adjust, tweak or otherwise relinquish, we are not manning the post of our own lives.... which is the only thing we can control!

God gave us the fruit of the Spirit, see Galations 5:22-23, to demonstrate the only true control we can really have.  And that is self-control.

If I'm so busy observing (with the intention of catching you doing something that needs to be adjusted), who, then, is monitoring my actions and what I need to be doing? 

What happens when we turn that around and manage what God actually intended us to manage? 

Well, better relationships for one. We become more pleasant to be around when we aren't navigating the pilot's controls from our co-pilot seat.

The hardest thing we may ever do is to simply say nothing while someone is learning the ropes on whatever it is they are doing.

But that's okay. We can do hard things. And we can let others do hard things.  Doing hard things builds character. 

Trying to 'help' other's accomplish their hard things (especially without an invitation) could possibly make us 'quite a character' to deal with.

As adults, the last thing we need is family or friends taking on the role of a parent for us. After all, at 2 years old, we were already declaring, 'Me do it!"

So how can I best deal with this when, at times, it seems to be a reccurring struggle? 

Not to mention that neither my hubby, my daughters, or my family, friends or neighbors have turned over the keys to their lives for me to manage. This could be a indicator that I could be barking up the wrong tree ;)

What I am discovering is that, I am unable to stop myself from 'wanting' to control things. (Wow, can't even control that!! LOL). 

I can’t even stop the urge to control outcomes from coming up in me. I need to become aware when the desire to control things comes. I can choose to let the urge happen, without acting on the emotions that rise up in me, especially if they are truly not the best for me or others.

I’ve found this to be easier said, than done. My goal is to remind myself to see the urge, not as a command that I am required to follow, but simply a suggestion from the child within me. 

I can then be aware to look for the good things that can come from the situation, even if it’s uncontrolled. I don’t need to control things to be able enjoy them.

Let me repeat that (for myself, or course) ... I. Don’t. Need. To. Control. Things. To. Be. Able. To. Enjoy. Them.

I can just let them happen. 

Ironically, what I've learned is that having or being in control has ever only been an illusion anyway. 

God is the only One who is in, or has ever been in, control. 

That said, I still take action. There are things I can control that have a positive effect on me and hopefully on those important to me:

I can educate myself regarding a trip, simply because I’m curious about a new adventure. 
I can be free to let conversations flow naturally. 
And my furry friends can take their leisure in enjoying being outside without me pressuring them to “hurry up”. 

These are all simply stress-management exercises from which I can greatly benefit.

So, in discovering that I really was living in an illusion of control and not actual control.....I did the only thing I knew to do.... 

I turned in my resignation as Master of the Universe.  The pay wasn't worth it anyway! 

Turns out that God wasn't even hiring for the position because He enjoys His work and didn't even need a consultant.... even one who was willing to keep working for, ummmm.... FREE!?!?!

When I keep my focus on what I can control..... (me!), I can experience the freedom of letting go.

I realize I have a choice: I can choose to try to control the outcome and create frustration for myself and those I hold dear, or I can trust in the moment that God has this... and He has me too!

My prayer for me is that I will always choose to trust as often as possible!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo 

Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here:

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT,

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: 

Have You Ever Felt Powerless to Change Your Life?

If there is one thing to be discovered about the root of most of our problems / issues / concerns / anxiety / struggles / failures, I would say it rests somewhere in the midst of an inability to let go of things that we believe 'should' bring a particular outcome.

I hope you will stay with me here. Learning the grace of holding on to what is important and relinquishing what isn't working is a tremendous game changer.

Consider the morning flight of an eagle... she lives in the moment, totally focused on her flight, likely sharply focused on a search for food. She's not thinking about how unpleasant the weather is, what other birds think of her, will her next nest building be a success, or why she doesn't have feathers as cheerfully-colored as the cardinal. She doesn't have the anxiety that is associated with all of this comparison and desire to have things a certain way.

Our brains are bigger that the majestic eagle, which gives us the ability to solve problems, write poetry, build bridges and unfortunately, the ability, to create many issues or problems that we would be better off not having to deal with. We can easily step into feeling anxious, frustrated, depressed or angry over things that happen or might happen to us, then turn this feeling into an over-thinking session.

If we choose to relinquish what we cannot control (if we can't control it, what's the point of holding on to it anyway?), we are quickly able to reduce our stress and our propensity to procrastinate, improve our relationships, learn to embrace change, let go of limiting beliefs and unfavorable habits and become more present and intentional in our lives. This would certainly provide some freedom, right?

Stress and anxiety often come from wanting things to be or work out in a certain way when they can't or won't. A longing or a desire to avoid failure, difficult tasks, confusion or discomfort, often leads us to procrastinate. If we choose (and, it is a choice), to let go of the way we want or expect things to be, we can learn to accept and appreciate things as they are, allowing us to enjoy peace over chaos. This requires us to focus on the fact that God is Sovereign and it is all in His hands and under His control.

When we experience significant loss, such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or loss of a job, there is a grieving period that we will face... it's best to step in and allow the grief to come as you feel the pain or loss. Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice that we make when we choose to hold onto or obsess over things we cannot change. When we choose to release it, we can allow the process to grow us. This often requires a moment-by-moment choice in the early phases. If we are willing to ask God to be with us and to strengthen us, He will help us learn the things He wants to teach us during this season of our lives.

Fear is often the deep root of our unwillingness to let go of things we cannot change or control. When we want (or feel we deserve) things to be a certain way, we can become immobilized in starting our own business, losing weight or anything that requires us to step out of our comfort zone.

Things that don't align with our ideal are often the very things that help us to grow or experience things beyond anything we ever imagined. The fantasy in our ideals is that they whisper (or yell) that our life will be "easy", that we must 'know' what we are doing at all times and 'feel' totally competent and successful. We tell ourselves that if all of these 'ideals' do not align, we will avoid them and refuse to move forward.

It is God who is the initiator of all change in our lives, and He offers us the ability to let go of what isn't working for us so we can pursue our desire to grow, build, create, and truly experience the best of our lives. The pathway to achieving anything of value is growing through the processes of our lives. When we attempt things we don't know, we learn new things, new skills, and with practice, we can get really good at doing them. When we learn better, we can choose to do better.

Regarding our relationships, we often are tempted to either avoid the challenging ones, expect others to do what we think is right, not take initiative to be the change we want to see, or believe it is up to someone else to do something some other way…. (you may want to reread that sentence). 

My grandmother often said, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. Our choices and taking initiative can become powerful components to letting go of what we are weighed down by so that we can soar in the mindset and opportunities that bring joy and freedom.

The most compelling thing we can do to change the way we feel is to change the way we think and speak. What I mean is that our negative self-talk that typically comes from negative or limiting beliefs, is the most definitive thing that dictates whether we will feel sad, lonely, rejected, discouraged, fearful and not supported. 

Turning that around Into a positive thought life can bring us clarity and encouragement to believe the best about ourselves, our circumstances and others in our lives. 

If you don’t believe it try this little exercise, spend 2 or 3 minutes focusing on all that you are mad, sad or scared about and observe the feelings that arise. Next, spend 2 or 3 minutes focusing on what you are happy, glad or delighted about and observe how your feelings become lighter and more encouraging. 

Old habits and patterns of negative self-talk and thinking are many times the culprit behind our feelings. Yet, we often look for the remedy in something else that someone else has done, needs to do, or won’t do. Thus, we have handed off control of our peace and calm to someone else to be in control.

Yet, we have the complete ability to consider what can go right in any given situation as opposed to what can go wrong. We can focus on what is good, true and right and not on what we don’t have, hate or won’t stand for. 

If we take a walk and look down at the grey asphalt or cracks in the sidewalk, we may never get to enjoy the sunshine, blooming flowers or beautiful birds. Whatever we look for in a situation, good or bad, that’s what we see. If we focus on it, whether good or bad, that’s all we see. 

We can learn to be thankful for the challenges that lead to achievement, the discomfort that leads to growth, the uncertainly that leads to learning, and the difficulties in our relationships that lead us to resolving differences.

It is all a choice that we are completely at liberty to make!

Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here:

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT,

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: 

Have You Ever Felt Defeated Due to Other's Unspoken Expectations of You?

Someone is unhappy about a gift you gave or your offer of kindness and the response does not meet what you expected.

There is no doubt: unfulfilled and unspoken expectations can impact our experiences and relationships. This is especially true with those closest to us. 

Have you ever realized you were making expectations of others or yourself? When we can learn to surrender our expectations, we can gain grace, peace and contentment.

Our expectations of others, others’ expectations of us, our expectations of God, and even our expectations of ourselves are quite often unspoken. This is like playing a game but no one knows or is given the rules.

Trying to live up to expectations, whether unmet or unspoken, is exhausting.

The reason for this is that expectations are a subtle form of control. 

And control is the antithesis of surrender.

Surrender is to cease from resistance.

Resistance is a refusal to accept or comply with something.

Maybe with the limitations someone else has on meeting my expectations.

So, I try to control this or them by the way I treat them, usually withdrawal or anger. 

After all, if they would just 'straighten up and fly right', then I would be okay because my expections of them could all be met according to what is suitable for me. 

Wait, what did you say? What's in it for them?

Hmmmm, but they should know what I need.... after all, we've been married for 20 years, she gave birth to me, I've been running this business since he was knee-high to a grasshopper....

In creating expectations for others, God, and ourselves, we are unconsciously setting the standard that we will only be happy, satisfied, or content if or when such expectations are met. 

What’s even worse is when our expectations remain unspoken. 

That’s like asking someone what they would like to eat for dinner and hoping you guessed right out of the billion possibilities that exist!

We really have two feasible options: to share our unspoken expectations with others so they are known (although this still doesn’t guarantee that our expectations will be met by others) or to forego our desire to control, and release others, God, and ourselves from the tyranny of our expectations.

By not recognizing and acknowledging our expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment, frustration, and at times even despair. 

And we can usher in estranged relationships with those we care deeply about.

By becoming aware of our spoken stated or unspoken unstated expectations, we can then make a conscious decision regarding what is first reasonable and second necessary in our minds. We can exchange unspoken expectations for peace and contentment.

I'm convinced that when I've had unspoken expectations of others, God, or even, myself, it sets me up to feel hurt or angry, regretful, disappointed or sad.

Once I realized I was making expectations of others and myself, and that others could not live up to my unspoken or, at times even my spoken, expectations of them, then I could make the conscious decision to let go and surrender to what would be. By surrendering, I gave myself and others the freedom to enjoy whatever came our way.

And this is the path that brought more joy for me in my relationships..... 

And, I'm certain it provided more joy for others who I let off the hook for my unspoken expectations. 

I also discovered that I was much more able to give myself grace as well. 

And with that grace, came peace and contentment.

Jesus was no stranger to folks holding unspoken expectations of Him. 

The Pharisees and religious leaders 'expected' their 'King of the Jews' to come in a less-lowly fashion as He entered the earthly realm to deliver His people. 

Jesus didn't fit their bill of how their king was to be resplendent is all their 'expected' glory when He came by  way of birth in a manger.

He didn't play by their rules. He didn't measure up in their eyes. They sought to ridicule, mock and shame Him.

Have you ever felt this way? 

Have you held nothing but a desire for good in your heart for another.... friend, spouse, parent, siblings, neighbors, only to have them think the worst of you? 

Instead of seeing your gestures of goodwill toward them, what you said or offered fell short of their unspoken request (demand) for what they want or need from you.

In essence, you were weighed and found wanting.

And the sad part, is that since their expectations were likely not even communicated to you, and you simply had no way of knowing and no recourse.

Jesus must have felt the same when He stood before Pontius Pilate listening to the Jews' accusations of Him. 

Ironically, Pilate found no guilt in Jesus.

Jesus was only given the sentence to be crucified because it was time for Passover and Roman custom allowed for a known and condemned criminal to be released and another accepted in their place. 

So Jesus, became the sacrificial lamb for me.... for all that I have done wrong. 

He became my eternal hope that will never fade away.

He was 'condemned' so I could be forgiven.

And guess what, now God wants me to offer that kind of love and forgiveness.... actually, because it is what sets me free.

I may not ever be forgiven for all the ways and means I've tried or failed to try by family or friends in this life. 

I may be ostrasized, criticised and isolated from some that I have only wanted the best for.

Thankfully, in my case, God looks at my heart and sees my sincere hope to only offer love, light and encouragement for others. And to hopefully, learn to love as I have been loved. 

And that counts, even if another is unable to receive it in the way it is intended.

Even in the study of the 5 Love Languages.... I could add a few, but that is a post for another day .... We can only give what we have been given and have been willing to receive.

You read that right... we must be willing to receive what we are offered. 

To you, what I bring may seem small.... but to me, it may be all I understand and come from a deep place and a heart that desires to be pure.

Compared to your best, it may be sorely lacking..... and while, I accept my limitations, my desire is never to disappoint. (Think of the little drummer boy.... his gift brought the smile of acceptance from the Christ Child, as the song goes).

And He accepts me and you.... that only makes me love Him more.

He knows my heart.... when no one else can.

And it helps me to also accept my limitations when I am unable to meet the unspoken expectations of others.

Only good can come from all the ways I've failed or other's have perceived me as failing. The good comes because like my mom always would say when my life was hurting, "You'll either get the win or the lesson".

I've definitely decided that, while as a child lessons came first and then the test; yet, as an adult most often, I am given the test and then I get the lesson.

And the lesson still helps me to have a win, however small it may appear. It's nonetheless a win and worthy of me celebrating what I've learned and how I will grow through it.

When we've done our best, we know what His 'well done' feels like down deep in our soul. And that is enough.

Regardless of what others may think or say....

Until next time...

Sheri xo

Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here:

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT,

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: 

Has it Ever Seemed that Contentment is Like an Elusive Butterfly?

Has it just seemed that when you have contentment in your sights that it just zips away, never to actually be realized? 

It may seem like you are playing a game with contentment. Sort of like basketball. You think I'll go left and I go right. You go right and I'll lean left and the opportunity for you to get the ball seems like an illusion.

Contentment is the fundamental pursuit in each area of life. We want to get the house painted or our certification completed or the kids grown or something that we are convinced will enable us to finally be content. We may constantly hold a belief when we get to this place or that situation happens or this is complete, we will find contentment waiting like a supportive friend. 

The problem with that thinking is that is always future-focused. And that makes it elusive. Because the future will always be... the future, and not the present.

So, how do we find and enjoy contentment here and now, where we live?

It is really a condition of our inner person. Sort of an at-peace-with-me feeling. It is also a foundation to enjoying life and being intentional in the moment. Can it be done? If so, how?
Practice delaying gratification. Yes, you can do it! When you consider making a purchase, use patience and consider postponing the ones that are simply for convenience. If you end up purchasing the item later, it will be well thought out. If not, you’ll be happier to have saved the time and money. To the one whom much is given, much is required.

Make a focused effort to remain inspired and to be inspiring. Spend some time each day reading something from the Bible, an inspirational author, or other areas of interest. Spend some time several times each week journaling about experiences you have or about things you've gleaned from what you read, personal encounters you've had, a movie you've watched or perhaps something that came to mind while you were in the shower. You will be amazed at how you can gain such positive perspective from your quiet times. Invest in others by offering an encouraging word in the way of a note, text or call to them when they are working on a particular event or endeavor or are facing a personal trial. Research has shown that our happiness is much more about how we treat others, than even how we are treated by others. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

Unplug from the technology of life and plug in to the simpler paths. Change gears for half an hour each day by taking a walk or a bubble bath. Find a neat little hobby such as painting or woodworking or gardening that you can enjoy and de-stress from the working hours in your day. Write a blog — oh, I resemble that! — on something that you have learned in an effort to enlighten others and to reflect back on in the future. Create some new plans or adventures trying some things you may have never done. You may find a new and better lifestyle that fits who you are in the current season of life that you are in.

Get a mentor – be a mentor. Spend time with people you admire and learn about their lives and interests. They can be living instructional aids to learning how to do things in a different, possibly, more efficient way. Find ways that you can share things with those who can gain a lot by your experiences or teach a class that will be beneficial to others who may not have had all of your experiences . Show appreciation for what you learn and for the opportunity to share. I especially enjoy spending time with young children and mature adults. The wealth of information and the creativity amuse and inspire me.

Reach out and get to know a neighbor at home or work. Don’t worry, if you’re the new-bee you can still take the initiative. Every friend we have was once a stranger. Be observant in watching for common interests. Maybe you both have kids the same age, have dogs to walk, or at work, someone who goes to lunch at the same time as you. When we consider what the feeling of 'home' is like, it has as much to do with the community where we live as the actual home we live in. It's wonderful to have the neighbors and friends that check in with you if they notice things that are out of your normal routine of coming and going. Host a night of dinner and games or even a neighborhood clean-up. It will radically increase your feelings of connectedness and the contentment of knowing you can make a difference right where you are.

Practice learning to be a great listener. By doing so, you will learn the true art of emotional intelligence and the high quality of “likeability”. When you work to listen to others at deeper levels, you communicate to them that you place high value on them and the time they spend with you. You will also learn how to take the focus off of your own issues and personal challenges and be an encourager to others. This goes a long way in developing strong friendships. And, when you build relational capital by listening, you may very well find that you have a great friend and listening ear in place when you are in need of sharing your heart.

Practice these steps on a regular basis for 30 days and judge for yourself if you don’t have a life that can be defined as being more content. And the good news is that if you are around people who are discontent, you may be the one to influence them to a more positive stance.

The one you encourage today, may be YOU!

Until next time....

-Sheri xo 

Hey! I'm excited to invite you to a new and free online community for Christian Women. It's a safe place to connect, share, encourage and be encouraged and deepen your relationship with God and others. And, unlike social media platforms, there are not ads, data collecting or other distractions. I'm providing a link for you to join! I hope to see you

Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

Are YOU Ready to Transform Negative Patterns into Healthy Boundaries and create Joy-Filled ❤️Relationships? If so, we need to talk!

I'd like to invite you to Join me on a 5-day Journey to do a deeper dive into discovering how you can find and maintain more joy-filled relationships... Sign up for Free here:

Sign Up for My Free Weekly Mastermind Group beginning June 18, 2024 on Tuesdays at 12 noon EDT,

I'd love for you to join my online community for Christian Women on Mighty Networks! It's free, it's a safe place where you can connect, share, be encouraged and learn to grow a deeper faith walk with the Lord! Here's the link; I hope to see you on the inside: 

What Brings the Most Joy for You When Reflecting on Christmases in the Past?

I love Christmas! I love the music, candles, sights and sounds. I love how everything lights up the world around me. I love how people seem more joyous.

The part that for many years seemed to cast a shadow over this wonderful time of celebration, was the fact that I had a nagging sense of obligation for what I “should” be doing or buying or being during this time. I longed to just love Christmas as I did when I was a child. I never worried if I bought all the right gifts or what foods to prepare or take to which events and parties. I wasn’t concerned that I would offend folks if I said “Merry Christmas” or if I mentioned a Christmas tree or whatever.

It seemed that for a number of years, I couldn’t truly relax and enjoy the season for fear of missing or overlooking something or someone or not being “relationally or culturally correct” in my greeting.

That all changed a few years back, when I decided that if what I loved about Christmas was so apparent to me as a child — I needed to revisit the sounds and sights of the season through childlike wonder. I began a journey to educate myself and those who may benefit on the reason for keeping a simple Christmas mindset.

I decided not to overcommit to what I would attend or to what I felt I needed to host. I tried to consider that if I was concerned about feelings of obligation around Christmas gift giving, maybe others felt the same. I decided if it was to be – it was up to me. So, I started communicating about the dissatisfaction I felt around feeling robbed of the true beauty and meaning of Christmas.

I began to do a lot less in the way of buying Christmas gifts and more considering gifts of service or things I could make. When I do shop, I try to buy from companies that promote items that benefit companies here in America or artisans within the context of fair trade that actually benefit villages globally to help them with education, healthcare and other needs and NOT countries that have forced child labor. I began to feel that Christmas giving had a sense of purpose and meaning that aligned well with the values I hold dear.

I asked for things that helped others give of themselves and not empty their wallets. I asked for things like a commitment to pray for me each month on the day of my birthdate (the 26th). I asked folks to give to someone in need (even themselves) as a gift in my honor. I offered to babysit or give a haircut or run an errand, not just at Christmas, but anytime during the year that I could be a blessing.

I want to be unique in the way I reach out where I live, work and play. What I have experienced in the way of friendships has been more valuable than anything I could have received in the way of material possessions. I feel good when I give or receive out of a sense of value and purpose.

I like to think that like the little drummer boy, the choices I’ve made for a simple Christmas have made and are making a lasting impact on my little corner of the world. They can in your little corner too.  

Consider ways that you can reduce the stress and enjoy the season. Think of ways you can give all year round without busting the budget. You will be amazed at the ideas that you may come up with – and that others may be more than willing to get on board.

So, this season, rejoice in the CHRIST of Christmas and the gift that continues to give — a peace that passes all understanding. And you might find that “everyday can be just like Christmas!” When we are in the Christmas season, we enjoy telling stories and sharing memories about Christmases in the past. We remember the excitement we had as children. And, the excitement of when our children began to experience the wonder of Christmas.

I have joyful memories of making baskets for family and friends with pumpkin bread, brownies, and a variety of cookies with my daughters when they were young. My girls had special recipes like Tea Cookies and No Bake Cookies and Rice Crispy treats they loved making over and over.

I remember making fruit cake cookies with my Grandma. I liked getting to eat pecans that I didn’t have to shell. I remember how wonderful it smelled in our house. Over the years, and with my mom’s never-ending zeal to learn new recipes, I learned how to make our own eggnog and many holiday items that have become my now “grown-up” traditions.

Totally different from my childhood tradition, while living in Atlanta, we often made cabbage rolls and au gratin potatoes for New Year’s Day. We’d invite folks over and they often contributed by bringing appetizers or yummy desserts. Jeff and I enjoyed doing this together, and looked forward to it as much as Christmas. Even writing this, I think this may be the season to get back to this, because it brought such joy and a great kick off for a brand new year!

Here are fun ideas for bringing about simplicity to our Christmas season:

1. Making gifts together is a wonderful way for family and friend bonding!
2. Baking gifts are a fun activity to do together. We can give cookies, cupcakes, brownies as gifts to family, it may make them fatter, but not clutter their homes with needless possessions.
3. Volunteering is a neat thing to do as a family or a group of friends. It may be to serve at a shelter or at your church helping out with the nursery for the many happenings that are going on and to help the many new folks who visit during the Christmas season.
4. Christmas songs. My girls and I have always had fun singing Christmas songs while in the car. If you are really into this, many assisted living and nursing homes could benefit from your group showing up to shed some holiday cheer.
5. Playing games. We love, love, love board games and other such games. We find that we can really connect when bringing out the games. Sometimes the competition can get a little intense though!
6. Make ornaments or decorations. Another fun thing to to shop thrift stores. You can find some very inexpensive little treasures for decoration.

Sure, buying gifts is a holiday tradition, but we can change up our traditions to align with the age and stage of life we are in now. Creating a new tradition or enhancing an old one is just another way of bridging the present to the past and making more warm and cozy memories to reflect back on in the future.

Whatever your tradition, allow the holidays to renew and refresh you. And get ready for an awesome new year!

Remember the reason for our Christmas joy is found most assuredly in the beauty of the babe in the manger, God’s redemption story for us through the birth of  His Son Jesus. 

Merry CHRISTmas!

Until next time…..

-Sheri xo

Sheri Geyer is a Boundaries Coach for Women

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