Simply Sather

ousting overwhelmed living

After lying still for about 20 minutes with a bit of angst in my chest, I realized I’d checked my phone twelve times and the things I kept adding to my post-it notes weren’t getting closer to getting done; so not really “lying still”.

I get overwhelmed.

Not easily, but it does happen.

And I’ve felt badly about that, badly about hearing that about myself. Embarrassed even.

Then today, I realized the shame was piling on. That I was not only overwhelmed, but trying to hide from it (which also means I was trying to hide it from others).

The dark cloud that comes with being overwhelmed brings me closer to a bout of depression. It makes me sink into a pool of doubt and insecurity and then inevitably it inactivates me and makes me want to quit doing everything.

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Do you have this in your world?

There are the things you have to do (laundry, cook, clean, pay bills), the work related things (which are great and diverse from week to week) and then there are the things that I could do, want to do, long to do, believe I’m called to do.

Things that I don’t have a lot of experience or success with.

Things I want people to cheer me on to do and complete but can be too afraid to ask.

Things I believe could help others live more fully and freely if they see me doing so.

Things that require more time in relationships than on activities.

I am overwhelmed.

The iPad is binge showing – trying to make this a thing – me the Hallmark show, When Calls the Heart (the first four seasons). While I so appreciate watching a show that is rated-G, it is so emotional as they have revealed that a lead character – with the show since the beginning – will die (or maybe he already did, I’m only on season 4). I probably shouldn’t be watching it though, with Memorial Day coming up – even though it’s been almost 13 years since the combat related death of my first husband – I am all kinds of emotional goo.

Then there is my last load of laundry that is an attempt to take at least A step toward productivity. We have days assigned for folks to use the washer and dryer here at home. Though the load is not a lot, it’s been sitting there for a bit waiting to be put away.

The coffee from a lovely coffee shop where a bold, sister in Christ is finishing her last couple of days working there before moving to a whole new state, finally pursuing a long-time desire of hers. I went in to visit with her, to say “until we meet again” and started asking her a few questions and realized that in sharing her experience, she was talking to me about some of the things that I’m preparing to step into. Overwhelmed because she went directly to addressing the very things that are freezing me in my spot – fear (of rejection, failure, judgment) and insecurity (worrying about “what if” more than trusting in the planter of these good things).

The book is another book to read. My self-imposed reading challenge is going well, so well that I’m already praying about what the next 365 days of reading will bring once this challenge is complete. But, when I read – I ALWAYS think I should be doing something else. Calling someone, praying for someone, putting away my laundry…

There is a monthly calendar that is filled with thoughts, tasks, anniversaries, plans, dreams, hopes, things I want to do for others (review the beta version of their first novel, write letters of recommendation for medical school, start a committee for an organization that develops young women, write letters to strangers in need of encouragement). I write them here in boxes planning to make them happen, but the pages fill up quickly. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, because even with all of it, it can still fell like it’s not enough.

My journal where I write quotes from wise friends or people I am fascinated by (even if I don’t agree with their outlook on the world). Where I process the things happening in my soul, the things I dislike about myself and more often the things I’m starting to admit I enjoy and respect about myself. It’s where I question, question, question. It’s great to have a place to put those thoughts, but a lot of the times – most times – the questions go unanswered or take longer than I’d like God to take to answer them for me; I hate to admit it but this often therapeutic output is causes me to feel overwhelmed.

Post-it notes, lists, magazine subscription cards (which can be overwhelming because when do I have time to read magazines). So many good things. Not bad at all. But, why am I so overwhelmed?

My palms are sweaty as I type this post.

I believe I get overwhelmed because I’m still struggling with my identity.

I forget that I am not defined by the stuff or people that I can influence.

I forget that if I don’t do any of it or even if I do all of it – beautifully, perfectly, on-time or early – it does not change who I am. It won’t change or disrupt the way God sees me. And quite simply, I think that is the issue. Rather than put the love of God for me at the top of all of the piles, the tasks, the requests, the things I want to do, I struggle with worry about what people will think.

I hate it.

I absolutely hate this about myself.

But, I’m a work in progress. And I don’t think I’m all alone.

As I venture out of overwhelmed into claiming God’s peace (my one little word for this year) and walking it out, living it – I will be stepping into even more responsibility. Much of it not even yet realized. But it fires me up. I am the healthiest I’ve been in decades and emotionally, mentally and physically able to take on more – married to a man that is so supportive, I walk in his celebration parade of me daily – it matters how I do it.

And overwhelmed is not how I want to do this.

It’s not how I want to build relationships. It’s not how I want to be married. Not how I want to build my business or read books or tackle the lists or the step into the many opportunities that I get to contemplate stepping into.

God has been whispering to me for some time now. And He continues to prove Himself trustworthy sending me a small tribe of wonderful people who are helping me oust living overwhelmed. I find some of them in our small group, my business leader, the women who are more seasoned at taking risks, the women bold enough to step into the unknown faithfully later in life, women who will speak scripture over me as I wiggle away from the calling to do remarkable things for Him…

I’m ousting living overwhelmed y’all.

Even through sweaty finger tips and a racing heart – one step, task, act of faith at a time; trusting God to guide me.

Off to put that laundry away and read a few chapters in this next book!

Simply Sather

my mother’s day | 2018

This Mother’s Day was fabulous for me.

I wanted my guys (husband = Mister and son = Shorty – for the purposes of this blog and sharing about him in this space) to do whatever they could together. And they did.

Made our breakfast together – while I read and rested in bed.

Shorty drove to Starbucks and collected coffees for me and Mister (he passed on a drink for himself as it was the store he works at and said it was bu-say).

They watched the movies I wanted them to watch with me, together.

Shorty got me yoga blocks and a strap (more on this in a minute).

Mister cooked lunch for the three of us.

They drew my first bath in this apartment together for me. I really enjoyed their way of doing it – reflecting their willingness to learn a little from the other about who I am as a person to offer up the best way for me to relax and enjoy that time alone.

That – for me – was the best Mother’s Day celebration. Time with my people, quiet and away from everything else. We called our mothers – and my son honored me as his mother.

One of the best things about the honoring is in the gift he gave me.

A quick aside – Mister offered to buy me a gift (and with all of the refraining I’m doing as a result of lessons learned through Financial Peace University – Amen, but whew) I almost jumped at it with a short, long list. Ahem… It’s so tempting y’all, Mister is a GREAT gift-giver and celebrator of most holidays and events; truly – he’s forcing me to up my game.Which would probably be me thinking about and then remembering said holidays and events.

I eventually turned him down though. I thanked him for the sentiment and drew the line (mostly for myself) with reminding him that I am the mother to a young man who has a job and the means to buy his mother a gift.

How we do it?

We try to keep it simple.

Which is easier to type than to actually live out.

You see, I’m just learning to even receive the lavish love that these two people pour out on me daily. They really are remarkable men. They listen for the things that will put a smile on my face and do exactly that. Which I’ve realized means I n-e-e-d to mean what I say when it comes to sharing with them exactly what it is that could help them to be encouraging, loving and supportive of me. The simplicity in my expressing my wishes set them up for a clear and desired win in making me happy. Mamas, I can not reiterate it enough, make it easy and clear so your people can have a great experience honoring you.

And right now, in the midst of so much transition in my life, I’ve been focusing on only a few daily targets. I call them my “dailies”. They are small in and of themselves on a daily basis, but done repeatedly over and over again until they become a habit – life changing, legacy worthy.

This time last year, I was in the emergency room receiving three pints of blood because of severe anemia. If you know anything about hemoglobin levels – you’re doing normal if you’re at a 12, I was strolling around doing life at a 5.1.

Supposed to be stroking, having a heart attack or quite honestly – dead.

I didn’t have the energy or desire to do much of anything, but was pushing through to work full-time during a busy season, date a new man (who is now my husband) and help my child navigate graduating from high school, start college and get his driver’s license (to name a few of the transitions that pop up in this season of life).

But now, a year later – praise God – I do the energy.

And instead of stopping, quitting and resting on my former idea of health, movement, exercise (which was basically my modus operandi for years since I was so sick and didn’t even know it), I decided that May would be the month that I would tackle THREE new habits I wanted to form to add to other ones that have been sticking since healing.

In addition to taking my Juice Plus Vitamins, reading my Bible, praying, reaching out to a friend or two to see how they are/to let them know I’m cheering for them, I realized I wanted to add (1) yoga (2) resting + reflecting daily and (3) writing with pen and paper to my everyday living.

All big stretches for me.

Why? Because I have started and stopped so many things. Y’all…so many things…

But these things, I’ve put before God in prayer and He has made a way for me to prioritize them each and everyday so far in May, that I’m halfway through.

So when my son asked what I wanted for my mother’s day gift – he was elated when I answered “a yoga strap and blocks”. I went to Target, took photos of the ones I wanted (no need for creativity or guessing here – if he wants me to be happy, I have to be clear about what I really want), he carved out time in his schedule, went and purchased them (surely some other stuff he wanted to) and then presented it to me – in the Target bag (unwrapped) with a smile on his face; proud that his gift was helping me accomplish and reach my daily goals.

I’m only halfway through the month, but I”m celebrating because well – it’s how we keep going right? Tomorrow’s not promised and yesterday is covered with grace. I’ve only missed one day of yoga but since I started the day before May began, I’m cutting myself some slack. I’m on Day 15 of this FREE 30 Day Beginner Challenge – and am really liking how I feel and especially that I’m doing it.

For those who’ve known me for more than 3 years know that this is a miracle of God.

yoga blocks and strap | my mother’s day gifts

And enjoying it. (Not even a hint of sacrasm here).

When she asks us to sit for a moment and “set our intention” at the beginning of each lesson, I utter the same one – “Leslie (yoga lady), I just want to finish”.

If I miss the time in the morning, I carve it out for the afternoon or evening; it has been so encouraging. The other dailies are coming along well too. And it’s amazing how when I make room for these things, there is room for other things.

Notice I wrote “other” things, not “all the things”.

Slow and steady.

But by prioritizing my “dailies”, the benefits of this spreads into so many other things. It’s exciting, I’m proud and feel really good y’all.

Looking ahead, I’m eager to step into her 90-Day Yoga Challenge with the support of both Mister and Shorty. Excited to be better for them, myself prepared for whatever else it may be that God calls me to.

45 years old? It’s good y’all.

Simply Sather

one million minutes

If you’ve been around here or on my Insta feed for any amount of time you know that I’m a moderately voracious reader. The kind that prefers to hold books and turn their pages –  most of the time, I have a book in my car or tote just in case there are a few minutes to read/finish a page.

My purse, currently + for real…

In order to support my book habit, I get most of my books from the public library which is about a 2- minute drive from our home and an 8 to 10 minute walk. It’s a lovely little library with a beautiful backyard. Truly – there are trails around there with a substantial park nearby.

When I see new books or am tempted to join a book of the month club (which is really tempting) I get on the library’s website to request those new hardcovers that run around $27.99 by placing a hold where they will set the book(s) aside from me – even from cooperating libraries in the area. Not only does it save us money, but it also saves us space in our apartment home and it helps encourage us in our goal to live more simply.

I also feel connected to the library and helping reach this goal because I try to participate in the monthly book club that takes place in the evenings – the first Wednesday of each month (not including June or July). Though I don’t get to always go and participate, there is a little community around the table and I enjoy that.

We vote on the books we’d like to read and then gather to discuss. It’s a laid back, diverse group of women – though men are welcome – and the books are almost always books I would not have chosen for myself. It’s a good fit for me!

I’m ready y’all! Who’s gonna join me?

Our book club is led by Librarian Lisa and is where I learn a lot about what’s going on and the cool things the library has to offer.

Which is exactly where I learned about the summer reading challenge for Keller residents – “helping our community read ONE MILLION MINUTES” from 04 June to 21 July this summer. I think I did the math correctly on this one, but if 50,000 people read 20 hours in that time, we’ll hit our goal. Since our population is less than 47,000 people and most people won’t get down with books for 20 hours like I plan to, I’m hoping to motivate at least 23 other Keller residents to join us in taking a big bite out of this community challenge.

Y’all, this is fun for me.

Simple, free – it has health benefits (slowing down, resting one’s body while developing the mind – “readers are leaders”) and it’s something that is absolutely accessible to (almost) everyone – if they can read or are willing to be read to (don’t count out those babies listening to your precious voice).

To do my part, I’m gonna stay focused on accomplishing my book challenge – but winning prizes is exciting too. Yes fellow nerds, you get to read and possibly win stuff (cool stuff) too. If you live here in Keller, Texas promise me you’ll head over here to check it out and set up a log to digitally record the minutes you read.

Mister and I will be contributing and recruiting other readers – older and younger – to join and record their minutes to help our community reach the goal. Most importantly though, I’ll be over here in my corner of the world, reading books.

If you’re planning on participating and live here, leave a comment below, direct message me on Insta and/or post something on your own social media inviting your people to participate.

Come on Keller, let’s do this!