Simply Sather

JANUARY IN REVIEW

Over the past five years, I’ve participated in an in-depth goal setting and goal reaching process created by Lara Casey – they’re called Powersheets. I still learn new things each year I begin the process and am enjoying helping other women navigate the process.

I have shared (and deleted) many of my monthly tending lists that break down my big goals into actionable monthly, weekly and daily tasks. Two of my big goals for 2019 are (1) to write and (2) to encourage more folks to tend to their souls. Sharing an update on how I’m reaching these goals, or how I may be missing the mark, here in this space seems a next natural step. I only hope that it offers you some encouragement, answers some soul care questions and inspires you in the things you are called to walk out in your own life.

For the items that are completed successfully, I’ve put a line through them. For those action items I only partially completed or are incomplete, they will remain unmarked and likely include and an excuse explanation.

MONTHLY ACTION ITEMS

  • Read, Finish & Return: Taming the Dragon – a sort read, that helped me understand the underbelly of being in menopause and how to deal with it naturally
  • Finance talk with Mister regarding my debt & savings plan (an update) – this is like a drive-by y’all; it’s not my favorite thing to talk to my husband about. Or anyone for that matter. I’ve made some bad financial decisions and am now cleaning up my mess. I am sharing with him and he is patient. I am eager for the victory that will come from me eliminating the debt I’ve accrued using the Dave Ramsey method and saying “no” to more.
  • Save $25 I did it y’all! And with the savings account that I have, when you have a certain amount of money in your account, a transfer is made to help “save as you go”. It’s not a lot ($53!) but I started with $0, didn’t touch it once and now I’m well on my way to having a savings account built on discipline and godly stewardship of at least $500 before the end of the year.
  • Set Meeting Schedule with Boss  Yes! A standing appointment at Redefined Coffee in Grapevine, Texas (such a cool place) every Monday at the same time.
  • Mail ALL New Year’s Day Cards I wasn’t even going to do this. One night when I couldn’t sleep, I was enjoying the photos on my phone and saw a great special. 40 of our family and friends hopefully received a smile in their mailboxes to wish them a Happy New Year. It was a good experience and we just got a $20 discount in the mail so I think we may be able to send a bunch more.
Spokane, Summer Wedding 2018
a wedding in spokane (circa July 2018)
  • Finish 8 books – I was kind of close, well not really…you can see the ones I completed over here.
  • Birthday Package/Plan for 2019 – I don’t have a one-size fits all kind of gift in mind yet, but I’ve made some progress in making sure I record people’s birthdays and send them a message via text or private messenger. I’m open to ideas here people!
  • Paint “with the yellow” We got a beautiful board sign for our home as a gift. On the night we painted it, we chose a color that didn’t do the sign right. We added another piece of wall art that had just the right yellow that we were looking for, so I painted over the original color with the yellow paint. It’s not perfect, but it’s done and it’s the new color finishes the sign.

Gather With the Sathers

  • Take 155,000 steps – 102, 628 steps; I can do better!

WEEKLY ACTION ITEMS

  • Post & Memorize Scriptures on GRACE – I memorized one (Psalm 62:5) and posted another one (Ephesians 2:8+9) for two weeks, it was almost memorized
  • Email Mister every single week, I emailed my heart to my hubby
  • Bake peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, lemon pie, and strawberry-rose butter

Homemade Lemon Pie

  • Date Your Spouse – we put this on hold during the 35-day government shutdown, read our story here, here, and here
  • Watch an American Film Institute Film – just couldn’t get it together to watch any of these, I was often busy reading the news
  • Blog Post (2 each week) every week, one week even three!
  • #Motherlovetext – every Friday I send a text of encouragement to my 19yo. He is not required to respond, but when he does it makes my day. I’ve been doing this for about three years, this is the most consistent I’ve ever been and I believe he still appreciates it.

DAILY ACTION ITEMS/HABITS

  • 100 Days of Grace & Gratitude I missed a couple of days but would catch up. It’s been a favorite daily habit to spend time with watercolors, God’s word and a short playlist of five songs that I play each time I do this activity.

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This playlist serves as a cue for developing this new habit. When this 100 days is over on April 10th, I’ll start a new habit for the next 100 days (not sure what it is just yet), taking the rest of July and August off and then beginning again on September 1st to develop one last new habit.

My February Tending List is now complete so I’ll begin working on all of the things and taking all of the steps I can. One of the “things” I’m most excited about is that I’ll be running a closed Facebook Workshop called, “Alphabet Soup for the Soul”. You can sign up for this workshop and participate right from your phone. Find all of the details and get signed up for the workshop right here.

Also, if you’re not subscribed to this website, I’d like to encourage you to take a moment and do that here. Every single blog post (one to two each week) and my monthly newsletter (which went out to subscribers earlier this week) will land directly in your email inbox. Finally, I’ll be updating the resources page each month, so please consider checking back for new goodies that are designed to help you dig deeper as you tend to your soul.

Thank you for cheering me on and loving me as I learn to tend to my soul and help others do the same. Hoping to see many of you in the Alphabet Soul Care Workshop this month!

 

Simply Sather

MAKING ROOM FOR THE PROPHETIC

Last year, my friend P started talking about her experience with “prophetic painting”. Stopping by her house to visit with her one afternoon, she took the painting from behind her computer and proceeded to walk me through the process.

She was so excited!

I did not fully get it.

Then she mentioned it again because she would be hosting a prophetic painting event in her home and wanted to me to experience it for myself. The opportunities never fit my schedule until a mutual gal pal experienced it and was compelled to host one of her own.

The timing was right and I felt ready for it. Or I thought I was ready…

I arrived at my friend’s home to yummy food, lingering hugs and including one from our facilitator. She had about 40 different colors on a table, gave us a paper plate and told us to “choose five colors that made us happy.”

Okay, y’all…

First, I struggle with the term “happy”. It seems so temporary and fleeting, something I’m always chasing. So I immediately began to wrestle with how to associate colors with my happiness and here’s what I came up with.

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my five colors: gold, black, what seemed like peach, navy blue and orange-ish

Black and gold hold significance on so many levels for me.

For one, they are the primary colors of my sorority and now the subtle color scheme for Simply Sather. And black because I think that it is a color to be celebrated for the people who are grouped into that racial category. Peach sticks out because of how it’s played a role in mine and Mister’s courtship. Navy Blue because I think it’s the most versatile color to wear plus it just reeks of sophistication. And the orange because – I HAVE NO IDEA HOW THAT HAPPENED! Of that part of the exercise, it was the most “out of control” and under thought out thing I did.

Once everyone completes this step, our facilitator had each us step up to a canvas. With worship and praise music in the background, we listened as she explained why there would be no paint brushes. (If you guessed it had something to do with releasing control and desire for perfection, you’d be right.) Then she told us to begin!

Before I even began, I knelt before my canvas already weepy from an emotional experience earlier that morning and flipped my canvas to sit horizontally.

“Stop trying to fit in. Do it the way I tell you to.”

That’s what I heard whispered to my soul. Then I began to paint.

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round one

It’s an amazing experience. One I think would be powerful for tweens, teens and young adults to help give themselves permission to hear from God in creative, unconventional ways. Because as a 45yo woman, it was powerful and meaningful and the one regret that kept surfacing for me is that I had not known that worship, freedom, and communing with God could be so connected to creativity.

After this first round of painting, our facilitator (who is amazing by the way!) had us clean our hands, gave us notecards and encouraged us to write what was happening within us. I mean, soul tending as its core!

Here’s what I wrote:

On the left side of the card (focused on the left side of my canvas): exciting, rising, cleansing, new, hope, big, BIG NEW, still bumpy or hard at times but more good. On the right side of the card (focused on the right side of my canvas): limits, fear, death, storm, darkness, small god, big people

Well…

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round two

After another round of flipping and painting, we wrote again.

Oh! Before I share my written reflection here, I need to mention that I started weeping almost immediately after the activity began (remember, I was already a bit weepy) . I’d had an emotional morning sharing a chapter of my story from 14 years ago that involved the war-related death of my first husband, then went to church that evening and wept through most of the worship. My heart was extremely soft for this experience. I believe that is why the other dates and invitations didn’t work out for me; my soul was not ready, my heart was hardened.

My reflection after this rotation:

Messy, but beautiful, moody, complex, everything means something, will not be contained, it will/is all coming together for your good Regina, for His glory, every stroke is with purpose and intention

Well, well…

(And yes, I’m getting emotional revisiting this experience.)

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round three

I started to see what I wanted to or thought I wanted to after this round…

I thought that this was a beautiful piece of art. I could begin to picture where it would hang and wanted to start to applaud myself for making something so aesthetically pleasing without intending to.

My revelation after this round was this:

Revival, in it, but I’m not sure if I’m done, know I’m not done (and then a few moments later I wrote) feel like I did it wrong

It may not seem like it, but this was difficult. To wrestle within myself about whether I ought to add more or do more when it was already so pretty.

I went to our facilitator with tears on my face, barely able to form the words to share my heart.  This round had tugged on the deepest part of my soul. The part that I often try to hide and rename because of the shame and insecurity there. The part of myself that has been validated in the horrible things people have said to and about me that I’ve allowed to latch on to my identity seeking self and define me.

I was exposed.

She helped me give myself permission to fight myself (my flesh) and receive the grace already given to me to rest, be done, to stop and walk away. I sat still and worshipped in that stillness, watchful and making myself ready.

After what felt like hours (surely no more than five or six minutes), I was compelled to get back up, get more of my paint colors and move freely into the space where I was no longer in control, moving myself and my painting forward in a way that would not be clear, easy explained, neatly presented or even close to the expectations of others.

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round four: the finished piece

We were prayed over and our hostess sang a couple of soulful worship songs, with her talented self, and then we came together to speak what we saw in other women’s paintings.

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our facilitator: top row, second from the left – thank you, Anne!

I won’t share what the women saw or heard when looking at my painting. I recorded it and have listened to it several times to hear more deeply. When I got home, I shared it with Mister and he saw something completely new. It is definitely something to be revisited and laid before God in prayer.

I say that because I can be tempted to want to understand “why” or have a more clear picture right now, often leading to frustration and disappointment. As I mature in my faith and get more years and life experience on me, I’m releasing the need to “have it all figured out”.

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our hostess and my teary faced self

I am so grateful that I was able to experience this with this friend (our hostess with the mostest!) a couple of my other gal pals and meet some new people too. It was a simple, but powerful experience. One that I would recommend – you can learn more here!

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still wet but was able to transport it safely

By the time I got this beauty home that evening, I was exhausted from the whole day. But it invigorated me in my soul. It made me strong, bold and walking tall with The Spirit in me.

The idea that I could experience God in a new way is still my favorite thing about this time and I’m truly eager to continue flipping my painting and letting the Holy Spirit continue to speak to me through it. It’s never too late to grow in your understanding of God and His perfect love and care for you.

Simply Sather

OUR SHUTDOWN STORY (FINAL PART)

I was worn out yesterday.

So tired that I was in bed reading at 7:45p and asleep before the clock showed an hour later.

At times, it’s exhausting having a front row seat in this shutdown. Trying to live it and share authentically (without oversharing or stepping into arguing matches on Facebook); you can find parts one and two here and here.

Exhausting?!? Why?!? “Your hubby’s not working. In fact, he should treat it like a vacation.” (Insert super big eye roll here. Forgive me Jesus.)

Because as well-intentioned and obedient to the Holy Spirit within me as I try to be, I miss the mark sometimes. And the way that I’ve seen myself struggling with this is in the manner of this Bible verse:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”| Ephesians 6:12

I have a largely clear understanding that God is in control in the manner of this shutdown (and the abortion bill/law passed in New York, and the over the young man who shot five people in a Sun Trust Bank in Florida, and the story I heard about a teacher disparaging a young black boy in his classroom, and the story spinning and sharing about the standoff between the teen boy and older man at our nation’s capital and so many other things happening in the lives of people we know and love) but when it comes to seeing how divisive we are among one another, forgetting that we are first and foremost PEOPLE, my spirit, mind, and body struggles with being weary.

Something most people don’t know about me, but I’ve long had a streak for social justice. Wanting people to be treated “fairly” and be included. In my desire to please people and fit in, I often muted my voice with dire consequences to my soul. But God! He blessed me by allowing me to have and raise a child who speaks out in very matter of fact ways – it’s been stretching me for years.

And now that he no longer lives under my stead and I’m married to a man who cares what I think and asks me what I think and encourages me to share what I think (even when we don’t agree), I’m resisting less. I’m stuffing things less often. I’m sharing my perspective. I’m telling my story.

And I’m tired.

Because I do believe I’m to speak. To ask the questions. Which in almost every job I’ve had before, I’ve been told that’s what people wanted from me, but when I did it, I got all of the clues and sometimes was directly told that they didn’t really mean that.

I actually believe that we’re all supposed to speak. But how we speak is also important.

I’m not sharing our shutdown story to condemn anyone. I’m sharing because I want people to know. And largely because I am called to write (I can point to a prophecy spoken over me in October 2016 that called that out in me). It’s a part of how I get this stuff out, to share with others; with restrictions…

For example, while chatting with Mister over a glass of red wine (we haven’t cut out all of the extras yet!) he told me about The Hatch Act. It basically says that federal employees can not publicly disclose their political affiliations or share who they plan to vote for or have voted for.

We don’t have a problem with that, but it’s another thing that wears me out. That makes trying to help others understand a little bit of what it’s like to be walking this out exhaustive at times. I’m sharing what it’s like for us. And most people – who are not directly affected by the shutdown – immediately turn it into a political debate.

And I guess I get it. I don’t like it, but I understand it.

Because tossing out a line of division helps dehumanize the people in the story I’m telling. It helps people focus on the fixing and the possible resolutions rather than the hearts and souls of the people being impacted by the situation and lack of resolution. Fighting about the sins of one party over another party perpetuates the idea that one “side” is right and the other is wrong, less than, more sinful than the other. That the safety of some is more important and prevalent than the others.

People have been kind to ask how they can help. And I am not joking when I tell you our aging parents, siblings, in-laws and even one of our children have made it clear that they will help us if/when the needs become dire. We have friends who have sent us gift cards, invited us to meals, and have told us when they’re bringing meals and we’re incredibly grateful. I don’t expect strangers to be in this mix, this is the importance of “doing life” with people who will help hold you up when life is insistent upon beating you down. (And let me just say, if you’ve not experienced that in any way yet, just hold tight – life does not discriminate.)

What Ephesians 6:12 reminds me to do is to keep speaking up against the enemy but to not grow weary in doing so because the battle is being fought in a different realm. We can not throw money at all of the brokenness in our country and fix it up; though the resources are helpful. For as much as we continue to try, we can not call out abortion as a sin that breaks our hearts but ignore/celebrate other people’s pain as if one sin is more offensive to God than the other.

This shutdown is not just about the financial stress on families of 800,000. It’s about us and our place in the battle, the spiritual battle being fought around and within us. I’m so glad that people posted about how devastated their hearts were for what happened in New York by lawmakers, but was there deeper digging about why women would even feel the need to consider abortion?

The shame we heap on people when they are faced with temptation and hard choices make all of these “deplorable to us” matters far from resolved because we look only at the actions and how we think we would never do fill-in-the-blank (go to a food pantry, live paycheck to paycheck, turn my back on someone in need, consider or have an abortion, shoot up a bank) but I suspect neither did many of the people walking it out.

Sin is within all of us. Every single one of us. If you’re breathing, there is a struggle within you and one bigger than you too.  Rather than judgment, criticism, marginalization, and prejudice, let the wrestling within you (whether you can relate or not) lead you to a loving response of compassion, concern, listening to hear – not to argue or be right – and prayer.

We don’t know where we’ll be in three months or heck even three days, but we’re going to keep taking steps, talking about how this is impacting us and trying to use what God has blessed us with to serve and love on others the best with can with grace. Ironic isn’t it? The term “shutdown”…

We all know what it means in terms of the government, but the definition that resonates most with me right now is this one:

“to make ineffective in competition” (Merriam-Webster)

While our politicians duke it out, I pray that we as fellow Americans and believers in Christ would refuse to take part and instead truly seek Him to learn how we can love one another.