Simply Sather

PLANNING GAL PAL TIME

Over here, I shared five perks and benefits that come from prioritizing gal pal getaways – basically the WHY you oughta elbow room into your schedule for them…

gal pal getaways
five different states but one sisterhood | taken in the foyer of the newly renovated SMU Theta house (March 2018)

This time, I’m back to share about H-O-W to prioritize this special time with your gal pals.


gal pal noun
informal
 1. a female friend.

So, first something that’s always made me feel a bit quirky and awkward is that I don’t have or do “best friends”. It could come across as judgmental – and honestly for awhile, it has been – but the main reason I prefer gal pals is because I quite simply crack under the pressure of a “best” friend; being one and having one.

I don’t think I’m up for the stuff that comes with what I imagine that to be and I’m 45 years old y’all – I’m trying to win as much as possible as I’m approaching 50 – and the thought of failing at friendship because of stress and comparison-living is not for me.

I don’t want to put that much pressure on anyone else either.

Don’t get me wrong – I long to have the connection with another woman, or several where I can be honest about my hair falling out, my challenges with being a great steward of God’s money or simply share about the hurt in my mama heart that my first and only child has strolled up out of our living situation and really, truly has not looked back.

I value friendships with women.

Not just what I can glean from the relationships but what I believe I have to offer.

And I’ve been blessed. The women in the last post are only a few of the women I consider myself fortunate to be close to. And maybe we don’t get always away to hotels, but we do spend three hours around a kitchen island talking and catching up on weeks at a time while the littles play in the next room under our watchful eye.

gal pals
we’ll take the connection time where we can get it, right?

Or they meet me at the local coffee shop even though they don’t drink coffee (I know, how are we still friends???) just to listen to and hear me.

There has been a 12-day cruise to the Mediterranean.  There have been spa retreats, sleepovers in one another’s homes. There have even been babysitting co-ops where we swap children in a rotation so that the other momma can run back home for 3 hours, soak in the tub and make it back in time to chat over a piece of cake before tucking her littles in bed back at home.

After being widowed 13 years ago, I learned the value of female friendships in a way that I don’t wish on anyone. My identity was shaken as I was ripped out of the “married’s club” and quickly learning to navigate the world of single motherhood. There were blessings and highlights, most of which light up in mind in connection with good friends.

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I have been studying the book of James (c-o-n-v-i-c-t-i-n-g!!!) and in chapter 4, I kind of got hit in my face…

You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

I was reading and receiving for something completely different but thought of how this can be applied to all of the women out there who just do not think that their season lends itself to prioritizing quality time with their friends.

Friend.

Woman.

You.

I hope you’ve not checked out, that you’ve not already thrown in the towel or waved your flag of surrender – you can do this!!! If ever you’ve scrolled down the page of a friend’s feed and couldn’t bring yourself to click on their post without envy, comparison or just feeling your stomach turn inside a little – you NEED to do this.

I’ll show you how.

First?

B-R-E-A-T-H-E.

Kind of for me too, because I realize I was holding my breath when proofreading this…

gal pal getaway
just the two of us for a girl’s night in downtown Fort Worth (April 2017)

This is not just for mamas of young children, multiple children, home schoolers, married women or those who work outside the home. This is for every single woman reading these words (and the few men who read and consider these words to help them love on their wives – you’re welcome!).

If you’ve ever once longed to have some time to just be you with other women who see and love you, then pay attention.

PLANNING INTENTIONAL TIME WITH YOUR GAL PALS

1. Give yourself permission, admit that you desire this

Whatever reason you’re telling yourself you CAN’T do it is the first thing you need to speak against.

“My husband says we don’t have money for stuff like this.”

“I’m working a lot of overtime and can’t see it fitting into my schedule.”

“There’s just so many of them – and they all need me at the same time (as you step away to find the one who got super quiet).

Those things may seem like the reason you can’t make this time a priority but it’s not true. Maybe you’ve not given yourself permission to express your need or desire for this kind of time. If you truly could say to yourself – without apologizing or downplaying it – that you need and want this kind of time, your responses to the above would objections may sound like this instead…

“My husband says we don’t have money for a big getaway this quarter, but he did say he’d take the kids to his parent’s house for the weekend so I could host a much more economical option here.” (Yep, you’ll want to clean, but the best gal pals will come early and help ya!)

“I will look ahead over the next 6 weeks and determine what I have to lose by not taking a few breaks from work to spend with (fill in the blank) and my gal pals. Even an afternoon off and lunch with my other gal pals taking a “wellness break is better than nothing at all.”

You, with the house full-‘o-kids (for the record, two children – in my opinion – puts you in this category) ALL THE MORE REASON FOR YOU TO GET AWAY AND SPEND TIME WITH YOUR GAL PALS. Heck, you probably just need time alone and in that case, contact me here for help.

2. ALL OF THE HACKS, TIPS, WORK-AROUNDS YOU USE IN THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, APPLY THEM HERE TOO

You already know how to make time and space for the things that you feel you ought or should be doing. You do!

How do you work that 65-hour job every week? How do you keep all five of your children alive everyday? How do you ensure you have gas to run the countless errands all before scooting into the pick-up lane after school on time?

You figure it out.

A little tweak that I would add to this one is work backwards with the end result in mind.

What I mean is. Take a whole minute to consider dream of what a successful gal pal getaway would leave you feeling at the end of it. Really, set your timer, close your eyes and picture it.

Do you want to share space with others who get your season of life (and level of energy) with good food and lots of options to nap? Then you may want to plan a getaway with plenty of space.

Do you want to finally take that cooking class you’ve all been Marco Polo-ing about and eat all the food that no one else in your house enjoys?

Do you want to return energized because you shared some of your dreams and got the encouragement and direction you’ve been needing to take that next step?

gal pal
always time for coffee! (March 2018)

Or do you want to return feeling understood and heard like only a great gal pal can (nothing against those amazing husbands out there, but you have to admit – we do have our own language)?

Once you decide how you want to walk back into your life after you and your gal pals go your separate ways – and all the gals need to agree on this, otherwise there’s just stress and unnecessary friction – then start planning from there.

3. DO YOUR PART, WORK FROM YOUR STRENGTHS

This time is meant to help you alleviate stress, move out of your stucknness and give you a break from your overwhelm. Unless you intend to, it’s not the time to take on a new thing or stretch your learning curve.

It’s time to tap into the things you’re curious about, excited for and that give you life.

Are you the foodie in the group? Go ahead and research recipes or restaurants you know the majority of the gals will enjoy.

Are you the question asker? Pray that God will help you be extra attentive so you know when and how to ask the important questions to help your friends dig deeper, to become unstuck. (This is me! I’m so grateful I have friends who get this + seem to love this about me.)

Are you the silly one? Be sure to bring an activity or game that everyone can opt into with a small learning curve.

Are you the thoughtful, gift giver? Then make up goodie bags and personalize them for each of your gal pals for them to enjoy long after the getaway is done.

Whatever your strength is, think of how it can benefit the group and offer it ahead of time so that the other women can lighten their load/shift their focus to the part they will own.

It’s not about being “on” or having it all together.

Time with these women is about encouragement – yours and theirs – learning and growth. At least that’s what mine are often about and what keeps us prioritizing time in our schedules for more.

4. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS

If you’re like me, you can go into a time like this with a whole lotta expectations and before you know it, you’re trying to steer and guide the group to meet what’s happening in you.

This is tricky.

I believe that our time is the most valuable thing we have to give, because those enjoying quality time with us are getting to see who we really are; they’re receiving from our gifts. And this is great!

Unless we only think about ourselves.

gal pal
me showing the ladies Texas (March 2018)

The hardest thing for me about these kinds of times is that I don’t really always understand why women would want to include me in their group; why they want to spend time with me.

I’m not cutting myself down (or rather, I’m not trying to), but I’m a bit of a nerd. My mind is best in think mode – so what I say and how I respond to people isn’t always polished or pretty. I’m often misunderstood and though I really want people to like me, many do not. I’m also still struggling – yes, at 45yo – with insecurity in some areas that I need other God fearing/loving women to speak into from time to time.

So when I meet women who genuinely want to sip wine, laugh, talk, share and connect away from their men, kids, jobs and stressors – WITH ME – I’m fascinated.

Fascinated and grateful. And excited.

I’ve been making time for gal pal getaways for decades.

I’ve seen and understood the value of them for a long time.

And I think you do too.

But, if you don’t do it, let me ask you – why? And at what cost?

The scripture says, “you do not have, so you kill.”

And I believe we do. We kill off a part of who we are as women in the doing and being to everyone else forgetting (or tying to forget) that before we were his wife, we were a woman with friends. That before we became their mom, we were women with friends. That before we took that job or got that promotion, we made time to check in on or be with our friends.

At least I hope we were because women need other women in their lives.

gal pal getaways
the end of our tour at the Adolphus Hotel, downtown Dallas (August 2018)

Accept that it may look different – the time with your girlfriends, but do not lie to yourself and tell yourself that you no longer want or need it. And don’t beat yourself up.

Once you get comfortable owning what you desire in your relationship with women, you’ll begin to more readily attract it.

It’s a process. And it requires practice.

Be gentle with yourself and your friends, but do not give up on it.

Your soul needs it and theirs do too.

 

Simply Sather

SOUL CARE CHALLENGE | WEEK 04

You already know what comes after September, but do you know what is coming in October? Catch the highlights by reading this quick post and being sure you (and your friends) are all signed up.

With only 8 days left, I am really hoping you surprise yourself during the home stretch. Go back and try something you feel you missed or just wanna try again.

24 | HUG 3 PEOPLE

Or hug the same person three times.

Don’t be weird people…but if you dare – watch this 2:57 video and make it happen! If do dare, please, please, please record a little bit of your experience and share.

25 | MANICURE

Get one, do it yourself or give one to someone who needs to hold their hands still while their nails dry.

26 | PEDICURE

Get one, do it yourself or give one to someone who needs to be off their feet and have a little extra permission to rest.

27 | FORGIVE SOMEONE ELSE

If you talk about them or retell a story involving them and the thing you’re discussing happened more than three months ago – dear friend, it’s time to forgive them and put it down.

It’s time to give yourself permission to walk in freedom – because you’re the one being held hostage — and release them and you too!

28 | HAVE A “TV/NETFLIX FREE” DAY

Just as it sounds.

Read. Clean.

Purchase my short course – HERE! – and plan to tend to your soul.

29 | LIST 29 THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR

Have so much fun with this one!

If one of the things you’re grateful for is more of a WHO be sure to let them know.

30 | SNAP A PHOTO OF SOMEONE WHO MAKES YOU BELLY LAUGH

You don’t need to know the person, here is one that make me double over in laughter.

If you do know that person in real life and they don’t make you laugh on this laugh, share a photo of them anyway and remember that time with fondness.

Or be that person and make someone else laugh until they snort or milk comes out of their nose.

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Have fun this week! More soul tending will be coming to you really soon.

Simply Sather

spend time with your gal pals + reap benefits for your soul

Relationships are so important to our soul care.

For women especially, this is an area that can deeply feed one’s soul or starve it. Depending upon how we’re showing up in our current season (you need healthy relationships in EVERY season ladies!) will impact our relationships.

I’m not saying it isn’t important for us to prioritize our marriages or present-parenting of our children. Those things are very important. But, what I’ve noticed time and time again is that those relationships are often used as an excuse for keeping deep, authentic, relationships with encouraging women at bay.

You may feel like you don’t have time or heck, that you don’t have the energy, but you will find yourself rejuvenated when doing life consistently with a group of women who build you up.

The ladies below are some of the women I regularly prioritize time with because I regularly leave having had my soul rejuvenated.

Girlfriend's Getaway
on our way!

Before you start telling me – or rather yourself – why you can’t do this, let’s focus on what you stand to gain by making it happen.

5 PERKS THAT COME FROM PRIORITIZING TIME WITH YOUR GAL PALS

1. You will surround yourself with a supportive + encouraging community 

Are you going into the relationship already needing support and encouragement? That’s not a horrible thing, but if you’re not starting relationships with potential friends considering what you have to offer them, then it’s going to more likely cause friction in the coming to know one another. It can also be how you accidentally set the tone for dynamic of the relationship.

What are your strengths? What do you enjoy? What do you have to give to others that inspires and energizes you?

2. You will get to see the best parts of yourself

The right gal pals will keep holding up your mirror to show you the things you seem to miss when you look in it by yourself.

This is hard for me. Even though I’d spent a lot time listening to all kinds of things, I’ve generally had a difficult time believing the best parts of myself.

Girlfriend's Getaway
me outside the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel

I’m silly and have a great sense of humor.

I ask meaningful questions to help people dig more deeply.

I am people smart.

Incredibly observant. Highly sensitive. Introverted – yes, I’m truly an introvert.

I like loads and loads of quiet time to reflect, journal, read and think deeply, which does not make me an over thinker by the way.

I’m learning to be able to sit in the same room with girlfriends and hear them say these and many other lovely things about my person while looking them in the eyes. Not bowing my head or looking away, interrupting them in favor of telling them the lies I so often believe about myself.

This is not all I show to my friends and it is not why I hang with them (or them with me) but hearing from folks who willingly “shore you up” with support and encouragement is so good for your insides.

You know, the insides that can (and do) impact other people’s insides…

3. You will dream and envision your future more clearly

The right relationships will point you back to the Truth of God. They will remind you of the power in your relationship with your Lord and Savior. Those girlfriends will pray with and for you, but also push you.

When you are tempted to stay in the lane someone else put you in, they will encourage you to try a new lane or be bold in the lane where you belong. Even if it means you’ll not be the “best” in the field you will have your influence pointed out to you – and it will be valued and valuable for your soul.

Girlfriend's Getaway
pedicures for four!

4. You will dare to be greater than the role(s) you serve in

Friend.

You are more than the roles you serve in – wife, mother, employee, volunteer. That is how you serve others, it is what you do. Not who you are.

Because the husband is your partner, the kids grow up, the job or responsibilities may change and the organization’s schedule may no longer fit into your schedule. Some of these things will change with seasons and some will change due to your perspective.

When you truly understand that you are more than what you do you’ll consistently free yourself up for spending quality time with girlfriends without guilt. Because you know that your husband (or friends or parents or neighbors) will watch your children. And that your children will be better human beings if you don’t wrap your whole self and schedule up into their little selves. You already know that taking time from work makes you more productive in the long run and serving others can roll over into what you have to offer your friends.

I’m not talking about the pressure of a weekly appointment. Or even every month. But, I am talking about making consistent effort to get significant other, mama, work free time. Time away from these roles to show up as you.

To wear something that doesn’t have throw-up or food stains on it.

To apply your makeup in its entirety without interruption.

To order food that you don’t have to cut into smaller bite-sized pieces for someone else.

Time like this means making margin for dreaming, daring and boldness.

5. You will grow + like the woman you’ve become

Friend.

If growth is not one of your primary reasons for pursuing friendship, then you ought to re-evaluate. I’m not bossing, just trying to save you some heartache.

If you don’t want to help those you spend time with growing into more of what God has made them for (and inviting them to do the same for you) then you will frustrate yourself and build a relationship on rocky ground.

It doesn’t mean that you need to have ginormous goals each time you meet, but that you at least develop trust that they can speak into your development.

Girlfriend's Getaway
wrapping up our girlfriend’s getaway in the city

Please don’t hear me encouraging you to put your girlfriends – their opinions, schedules, dreams, etc – above you and your relationship with God, your spouse or children. I’m simply nudging you to consider how you might make consistent time for these very special relationships.

We hear things differently when we’re in relationship with other women who can hear us and who allow us to speak into them and their lives.

After posting the last photo, I learned that there were many women not in the photo who approached some of my gal pals and asked how they might be included in something like this. In another post, I’ll write – as a planner – how to make these kinds of get togethers a priority for the seasons I’ve walked through and that many of you readers are in now.

It’s not easy, but the perks of regularly making time for these and relationships will truly help you not only feed, but truly nourish your soul.

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And if you haven’t already, head over here to get prepared for some community soul care in September!