make better choices · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living

Personal Growth…Where Do I Start?

Personal Growth is a phrase that often brings a sense of excitement and may generate feelings of positive forward motion. We grab the thought and think holistically how we can have the best life we can hope for once we take this leap. Or is it a side step. No wait, maybe it resembles a salsa.

Basically, we like the sound of it, but few of us know exactly where or how to begin.

To which I reply, start with a basic inventory…

How connected are YOU?

Getting rightly connected starts as we begin to consider…;

* Who and what is pouring into you? Godly friends and role models? Small group ministry? Supportive family and friends? Or are you receiving most of the info that is poured in via TV,  internet, negative people or unwholesome reading?

* What do your reciprocal relationships look like? With whom do you enjoy “give-and-take” status? Reciprocal relationships involve those who know you and love and accept you as you are. They bring over the pizza or ice cream to share while watching old movies when you may feel a little down. Or maybe they grab the tools and come hangout and work on a water heater in the garage and listen so you can share your frustrations.  The ones you would do anything for and at the drop of a hat. They are the best buds you could hope for.

* Where are you pouring out? Helping? Or rescuing, enabling? On a scale of 1-10, how balanced are your connections? Do you give in to, rescue or support others on a regular basis without requiring much in return? Or perhaps, it is you who constantly needs rescuing?

It is beneficial to bring the balance of who/what pours in — who you reciprocate with — and how and to whom you pour into — as close to equal numbers as possible. It’s not in your best interest to receive at a Level 1, have reciprocals at Level 3 and pour out at Level 10 on a regular basis.  Slide the scale into a happy median and feel the refreshment begin!

How are You with Time Management? 

* Are you consistently stressed or feel you can’t get everything together to get out the door in time, consider going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting up 15 minutes earlier.  Just move the monitor a bit more into your favor so you can set yourself up to succeed. It really is about being mindful and intentional. (Ouch, I resemble this!)

* Are you someone who mostly works to keep or complete your appointments with life? Or make excuses for not enjoying the best of life? When life isn’t so great, do you accept your responsibility in the process or is it consistently, “someone else’s fault”?

* How would you rate your ability to enjoy a healthy balance of saying “no” to some good things, in order to say “yes” to some things that are best? I.e… Are you trading off ‘best’ for ‘good’?  Life can be compared to baseball cards… always focus on making choices that allow you to trade up! 

How Would You Describe the Speed in which YOU Do Life?

* Life balance isn’t about having it all or how many plates you can juggle, but more about relinquishing what doesn’t work for you so that you can be rightly aligned and fully intentional with what does.

Resisting the Hindrance of Resistance…

* Growth requires becoming an expert at navigating inevitable life change by accepting what you cannot change as well as eliminating the excuses for not changing the things you can.

* Where can you be more open to new ideas and not so attached to old habits?

You Are What’s Eating You

* How much sleep are you losing, or how many ways are you indulging yourself over unresolved issues, relationships or projects? The more baggage we carry, the sooner we show signs of aging.  So travel light to find the fountain of youth.

Live Free…

* Give of your resources generously. The level of your ability to freely give is directly proportionate to how ‘free’ you truly are. We can’t do everything, but we can do something.

* Avoid the temptation to  clutter your life or schedule with unnecessary weight. To the one who has much, much will be required.

Live Out Your Passion…

* Find ways to do and enjoy what you love and share it with others.

* Express love as often as you are able.

* Do all that you do as if God were your employer.

Remember God’s Presence is all around you. Be intentional to stop and enjoy the fragrance of roses, the beauty of a sunset or the warm hug of a dear friend.   The day may come, sooner than you think, that you will be very glad that you made the effort!

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · Life Coaching · make better choices · Path of Peace · Simple Living · Simple Wisdom for Living · simplify

Essentialism: The Simple Explanation of Minimalism

Essentialism is best described as pursuing the Right Things so that we are able to Focus More on the things we Enjoy Most!

I’ve been writing about the value of simplicity for nearly 20 years. I enjoy breaking down certain mindsets of positive thinking or actions into bite-sized pieces to gain a deeper understanding of the terms or phrases that may present a new way of thinking. I’m a 60s baby and in the last 30 years, we’ve observed our music, vocabulary, schools of thought and even our food change in rather drastic ways!

I recently stumbled across the word “essentialism” during an Internet search.  It is highly possible that Essentialism just might be a new and better way of describing what so many of us seek when pursuing minimalism or a simple life. I recently noted a book on Essentialism that defines it as “The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. I read a summary of it that could certainly be the statement of the way I do life.

So what is Essentialism? Simply put, it is the identification, and then the continual choice, of living (doing, buying, seeking) ONLY what is essential. Quite similar to a life of simplicity, Essentialism elaborates on the saying, “less is more” to make it a declaration that “less is better.”

I have considered myself a “minimalist” since 1999. Something about the all around scare-tactics etc., of what Y2K may bring or cause, got me to thinking that I wanted to focus on making better and more meaningful choices in my life. Homeschooling offered my girls and me the opportunity to have a Cottage Industry that provided various income streams to fund the interests we had as well as wonderful opportunities to add much-needed skillsets equating to an interesting and well-rounded educational experience. 

After a divorce in 2003, and armed with a belief that God has and always will have a plan for me that is better than I could ever design for myself, I set out to learn what was most important, most enjoyable, and most aligned with God’s best for me. My goal was to best utilize what He had taught me in my life up to that point.

The biggest obstacle I faced was determining what defined me and what would be the important pursuits of my life going forward. Basically I learned to ask myself often, “Based on where I am and what I’m facing, what is the next basic right thing that will lead to the outcome that will positively impact me and everything / everyone I hold dear?”

Here is what I have learned: The Most Important Thing I Can Do is to Develop Healthy Boundaries, which basically means: Self-Control. Boundaries provide a Structure for Success in Life & Work.

Here is what that looks like:

I have been given the privilege and responsibility to prioritize my life! If I avoid doing it, someone else may step in and take on that role in a way that serves their needs best.  As we all know, those we surround ourselves with may act as if they know best how we should be living and what we should be doing, especially if they observe us mostly flying by the seat of our pants. Taking the time to prioritize our life and choices eliminates our being tied and / or obligated to others expectations.

I continually ask myself, whether I am at work or play, “Is this the most important thing I should be doing with my time and resources right now?” It helps me to zero in on what is most important in the moment. If it isn’t important to me at the present time, I  simply choose to redirect my focus to what matters and what will have the most impact on the purpose I am seeking to achieve.

I want to live a life of Essentialism by design and, therefore, not default to living based on what is happening to me. I want to effectively learn to master my response to situations, good and bad, and be able to turn things around, and gain a positive outcome, if at all possible. This requires that I continually choose to focus on what is most important in any given moment and then act accordingly. Therefore, if unexpected circumstances attempt to throw me off balance, I have reserved my emotional energy to quickly and easily return to my “design” of living life, based on pursuing the right thing and focusing on what I enjoy most.

I don’t want to have it all and I don’t need to do it all. At one time, I actually believed  that I could and would do and have it all. Over time, I learned that this kind of thinking actually eliminates and distracts me from experiencing the highly desirable choices and experiences that I most enjoy. I find it to be critical to first clarify and then be willing to make the necessary trade-offs in order to pursue what is most important to me. One of the things I remind myself when I am struggling to stick with my plan is this: “I choose to NOT trade off what I want MOST for what I want right NOW!”

I have learned that I do not need to be ‘plugged into’ all that is happening either virtually or globally all of the time. Rather I have decided that the most important thing for me to focus on is what’s front and center of my actual world at the present time. I continually find that focusing on the few essential ideas right in front of me is typically more rewarding, and offers greater potential, than the many that may be trying to distract me.

The best form of Self-Control (Healthy Personal Boundaries), is learning to say no to the nonessentials so I can say yes to the things that really matter. It is an ongoing temptation to say ‘Yes’ to far too much and end up sacrificing time and energy on things that don’t really improve the quality of  life. I find it easier not to commit if I’m not certain that I can give 100%. And, it is always easier to turn a ‘No” into a “Yes’, if I find that I can jump in and do what is requested of me. This requires me to have the courage to say no firmly, resolutely and gracefully so that I can say “yes” to those things that I truly value and where I know I can purposefully make a difference.

The effectual pursuit of simplicity (essentialism / minimalism) is about arriving at a deep understanding of what leads to a happy and meaningful life for each of us personally. It has never just been about sacrificing or getting rid of stuff.

Sheri Geyer is a Mentor, Writer, Realtor, Wife & Mom

a simplified life · Contentment · encouragement · make better choices · Path of Peace

A Simplified Life

I’m uncertain as to when or how it started. I think it may have always been present with me. The day my life forever changed….

I realized that all I really want is a small, slow, simple life! I am most content in the space of routine and ordinary. It’s here where I recognize the truly spectacular events may be a rainy afternoon and a good book, or a lingering lunch with a friend or loved one where we reminisce about the goodness of God in our lives or the moments that He has given that have taken our breath away. It’s where my calm lives.

I have chosen a lifestyle of moderation and I have peace with that. I like the ease in managing stress and learning to choose the paths and places that maintain this level of quiet in my life. It allows me to reserve my energy for the unplanned and unexpected moments where calm is a true asset for responding in a manner I will be happy with now and in the future.

The world can be a noisy place with loud voices pushing or driving for me to hustle, to improve, build, strive, yearn, acquire, compete, and grasp for more. Make a huge impact in everything I do. Make my life count.

All the striving for excellence can leave me drained of joy and wondering if I am simply not enough. And when I stop spinning and listen for God’s still, small voice, I hear Him whispering for me to ‘cease’ striving and know that He is God.

What if I never really achieve accolades beyond the people who are my primary circle of impact, consistently letting them know they are loved and I would choose them again? What if life as I have chosen it is good, even amazing, in light of the fact that my heart is fully engaged?

What if I simply write as God brings His reflections of beauty to my soul? And what if I have come to accept that the greatest joys and fulfillment come from offering the gifts I have to the community of women I care about encouraging them that bigger isn’t always better? What if I can simply remind those that I invest in that their gifts and influence are far more valuable than what is understood at the time?

What if I simply remain calm and centered and help others to see that they are enough? And, that God in us, provides great hope for others?

What if I just accept this ordinary body of mine that is neither big nor small? And I make peace with it and decide that when I lie on my deathbed I will never regret having just been me.

What if I am a home manager who rarely dusts or vacuums and mostly maintains order and makes real food but sometimes buys pizza and after giving thanks to God for all things, I simply enjoy and do not feel guilty?

What if I make plans and budgets and then occasionally break my own rules and push back against rigidity. Is it really a big deal if I’m not into fancy or expensive things? Or that I like a small and safe home?

Since leaving the frantic pace of life and learning to not keep up, I have found that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy.

Having given up my former dogmatic state of being, I have found great delight in sharing my deeply rooted faith, doubts and insecurities, in quiet ways and through genuine relationship. I have some very special women in my life who have guided me to this and each of you know who you are!

We haven’t had a fairy tale romance and I follow hard after God to be the wife that will always be for Jeff’s best. This keeps me humble and I need it!

I am a mom who delights in her girls and in knowing they are free to choose their appointments with life. I consider it a special privilege to affirm and support them in their passions?

I seek the Lord often to learn to embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. I am at peace with who I am and what I need and believe it to be an amazing gift of God to walk in this knowledge.

I want a small, slow, simple life. A mediocre life. A beautiful, quiet, gentle life.

And for me, it is enough!

Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach / Mentor, Realtor, Writer, Wife & Mom.

a simplified life · Contentment · Growing Relationships · make better choices · Path of Peace

Keeping it Simple

We often think of simplifying, down-sizing or minimizing our external possessions and living with only the essentials as denying ourselves of the good life. This journey isn’t so much about eliminating the number of shoes or books we own, how small the square footage of our house can be or giving away every non-essential item we own. It may be all of that, if there’s a deeper-seated issue that keeps us from a sense of gratitude and enjoyment of the things that we say are most important to us.

The quest for the true joy of not being “owned” by too much stuff and the required maintenance as well as an often overcommitted schedule required me to look deep internally. At which point, I discovered a dis-ordered heart.

For me, living an abundant life is a journey of intentional growth and learning to authentically live a simple life. Simplicity has become the clarity in which I find meaning. It’s the removal of the unnecessary. It’s the discovery of what I value most.

5 simple ways to live an abundant life through keeping it simple.

1. Simplify your wardrobeAdopting a minimal wardrobe has afforded me less stress when choosing what to wear each day. Eliminating items I rarely wear and only purchasing clothing, shoes and accessories that I feel most like myself in has given me more time each morning for the people and things I value.

2. Eliminate digital distractions. When meeting with someone, I intentionally allow my phone to take a coffee break. For me, multi-tasking simply means I am able to screw up two things at once! I work when I’m at work. I am intentional when I am in a meeting. I continually strive to remember that I own the phone, it does not own me!

3. Learn to be vacationally-minded in your work.  Changing the mindset in how we view our work can transform the way we work. It no longer becomes a balancing act of life and work, it becomes the essence of life itself. God designed us to create! Realizing that creating is our work makes getting up in the morning a lot easier. If the goal is only for a promotion, prestigious title, or a larger paycheck, it will not be enough to fulfill us in the long run. On vacation, we are intentional in getting the most out of the moment and creating the memories we want to keep. Focusing on the difference we can make by the work only we can do allows us to realize the value that only we can bring to our organization.

4. Learn to say no to things. It’s tempting to believe that saying yes to everything is the path to success. Often, in not wanting to miss anything, we sign up to do everything. These commitments and obligations can cause unnecessary stress and friction in our relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. The ability to say no provides space to focus on the things we value most. It’s not about being involved in everything, but rather learning not to trade off the “best” and settle for “good”.

5. Embrace the mundane. Life is truly lived in the morning coffee chats on the porch, car rides to school or work, standing in the grocery line talking to a neighbor, reading to your kids before bed time, caring for a loved one, walking the dog, and clearing off the dinner table as a family. It’s in the moments we often hurry past. These are the simple memories that last a lifetime. These are the experiences that write our story and shape our lives. It’s these simple things that matter and become the things we appreciate most.

I did not intentionally set out on a journey to simplicity, but in so doing, I can honestly say, I have found true abundance.

I invite you to consider what ‘keeping it simple’ could mean for you…

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Christian Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer

a simplified life · encouragement · Growing Relationships · make better choices · Path of Peace · Resolving Conflict

How Does My Heart Grow? 

*This writing was inspired by my friend Brande ❤

Being easily offended or defensive when someone has a different opinion that does not support our views is a negative response that hinders emotional maturity. 

Allowing respectful diverse view points into our thinking helps us grow and gain insight from different perspectives. Limiting ourselves to ideas only from people who agree with us can inhibit or destroy significant relationships.

Assuming that we are being rejected if others do not perform as we desire or show support in our endeavors results in unhealthy thought processes. 

If we work to communicate with one another with kindness, patience, and understanding, we can cultivate ways to operate in love and empathy, opening opportunities for growth and strong relationships that impact us personally, spiritually and professionally. 

Might it be possible that God intended diversity to mature and teach us how to love in a way that transforms us as well as others? 

I believe it is worth pondering… 

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Christian Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer

a simplified life · make better choices · regret · regret a decision · Resolving Conflict · Simple Wisdom for Living

Regret: Can We Avoid It?

We often hope, whether stated or not, that we never have to experience regret. Often, our biggest challenge (to avoid regret) is when we stand at a place where we know God desires us to surrender to Him. Surrender for a believer is perpetual. This boils down to a question of our wills. It is easy to hesitate for fear of what others will think or how they will be impacted. Or how we may be judged.

‘Life” is what happens while we are busy making other plans. One guarantee in life is that it eventually lands us in places we never imagined, both as a result of choices we make, and for purposes which God intends. Our response to it will determine the altitude with which we cruise through and whether we are strengthened during the process. Or whether we crash and burn and then have to pick up the pieces and begin again.

In this life, regret can be defined as grief, sorrow; and pain of mind. Even having a sincere desire to do our best in life, since we are unable to see the future, we will likely make some choices that we may regret. The level of discomfort or sorrow we feel is likely to be directly in proportion to the motive of our effort more than anything. If we truly did our best and things didn’t go as we had hoped, it is often easier to forgive ourselves and move on. On the other hand, if we were warned, we may have a longer journey to reach the point of putting the difficult season behind us and moving on to a better place as well as to the necessary healing.

So if we are unable to completely avoid regret, what can we do when we experience it?

Avoid indulging it. Imagine you are swimming in the ocean and your feet have become entangled in seaweed. The seaweed is “regret” (apply this reflection to anywhere you may feel stuck). You tug and swim harder, yet you are still unable to move forward with the seaweed wrapped heavily around your feet. Indulging a regret, means we go over and over it, analyzing every detail, and becoming more tangled by replaying in our minds all the “woulda-shoulda-and-coulda(s)”. We may hold on to it becoming identified with it which can cause us to feel paralyzed or victimized.

Be honest with where we are and learn to make new choices. We have the choice to simply look at it, feel it, accept it, learn from it, and when ready, untie it and swim on. Repressing our regrets, on the other hand, creates a different problem because we believe we are actually “getting on with life”. Yet, by ignoring the feelings that need to be felt, we tend to harden our hearts over time. Acknowledging our regrets, helps us face and feel them, learn from them and make good wherever possible. We can then forgive ourselves and others and find healing, rather than be held hostage to our past.

Just do the work without worrying about the timing. We like to have timelines attached to transformation. If you’re like me, you would love to know when you will finally be done with a particular regret and freely swimming on. The best way to gain what we need from the situation is to focus on the work, and let go of expectations around outcome and timing. Our work is to shed layers that get in the way of living and showing up fully. Any time it may arise, we can simply notice it, allow it to deepen our experience of vulnerability and humility, and grow in integrity.

You don’t have to do it alone. Speak your regret out loud to someone close who supports you or write it in a journal between you and God. There is something inherently restorative in either of these acts. At times, if we are able to reflect on the respective journeys we have taken in life with a close friend, with a calm and gentle courage, it builds a strong bond. It’s where we can learn there is a place beyond regret.

A Word of Caution: Don’t assume you know for anotherRegret is a deeply intimate reflection of a particular person’s life, hopes, dreams and choices. Each of us need space and grace to walk this path, some pieces of the journey we may find we need to be alone with God. At other times, we may be more comfortable sharing the burden with a deeply trusted loved one. It is a unique and individual experience. We each can be one who brings hope and encourages healing in our life and in the lives of others.

Once we have allowed regret to change from something that drags us down and overwhelms us, we can experience growth that can make us more sensitive, kind and caring… a true refreshing breath to others.

Regret may linger for a season, but it loses its sting! 

Sheri Geyer is a Realtor & Christian Life Coach

If you’ve enjoyed this, please share! @Sheri_Geyer