Simply Sather

GOING BACKWARD WITH PURPOSE

I took a week off from blogging and I’m so glad that I did.

I’m learning how to “move my plates” around to be sure that I’m not just stacking and stacking without being able to tend to what is right in front of me and most important. This looks like stepping back from facilitating a Marco Polo group around goal setting and habit-forming for the month of February because some new things took front and center. This also looks like narrowing my social media platforms – sorry Snapchat!- and going from two Instagram accounts to just one.

In addition to celebrating our first wedding anniversary, both of our birthdays, and a group Valentine’s Day/birthday celebration with fabulous friends (and we’re just over halfway through the month) I added a second part-time job at a local spa and got clarity about my new volunteer role with the Gary Sinise Foundation.

My plates are heaping with opportunity.

And I like that. Really.

I like to live purposefully and believe I’m making an impact, but I’m also feeling unsteady because I do not know how to dance to this beat well…

Not yet. And this is where the hard work really comes in because of the temptation to quit. It makes me doubt that I heard God’s voice and I become paralyzed with fear that I’ll do whatever it is wrong or that I’m wrong in doing it.

Can anyone relate?

You’re headed down one path (soul tending and soul care) so certain that this is what you’re supposed to be doing, only to find yourself smack dab in the middle of a path you thought you’d left behind (grief, gold star community and married to the military). I’ve run from this path, I’ve cursed this path and I’ve been wearied by being/feeling stuck on this path.

Living life after the death of your loved one is difficult. No matter the age, the season or the circumstances. While death is imminent, it is not “easy” to walk in after it happens to you. Almost 14 years ago, our lives changed and I immediately set out to run from it. To put it behind me, to bury it. And in some way shape or form since then, I’ve subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) attempted to run from the pain and deep wounding of it all.

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disney + coffee; a great opportunity to serve

This past December, I had the opportunity to volunteer for an organization that my son and I benefitted from for ten years. I called home every day to tell Mister about the experience. And for the most part, it was exactly where I believed I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was doing – helping other women who had similar experiences, losses, wounds, and thoughts. Women who experienced similar pain and who are desperate to understand how they will weather this season in their lives; hungry for answers about how the future may unfold for them.

So that is my next step y’all…

To step back into a bit of my own stuff in order to help others who may be stuck or challenged there and to speak about it.

It’s still soul care, it’s still telling stories and it’s still proclaiming the goodness of God but I see the opportunity to reach more women in this specific area, so I’m gonna go for it. Know this though, I so want it to be a straight line. You know what I mean?!? I long for it to all make sense going from the loss and pain ourselves directly to supporting and others through the same thing. But it hasn’t been that way and seems it will never be.

So some of the work ahead is letting go of my expectations of how this is supposed to look. Letting go of how it’s supposed to go or be or seem. Continually putting down my desire for clean, tidy, straight, clear and embracing the grace that comes with releasing control.

I’m heading backward on purpose and with purpose and am ready to share authentically for the benefit of not wasting anything, doing more healing work of my own and helping others along the way.

 

Simply Sather

3 LESSONS LEARNED IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE – FROM MISTER & ME

We recently celebrated our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! If you missed it, hop on over here and get caught up.

A lot of the time when we had time to talk we reflected upon moments and memories but also spent time discussing things we learned in our first year of marriage.

In this post, we’re sharing a few of those things!

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our “let’s do this” faces

I’m so grateful that my husband – who most often reads my blog posts on the train ride home from downtown Dallas – is joining me in this blog post. So because of his willingness to serve and support me in this way, I’m going to have him go first.

WHAT MISTER LEARNED IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE

In his words…

I titled the post-it note with my thoughts “lessons learned”. I’m keeping it simple because that helps me hunker down and address these items.  There are not many words there, but it’s easier for me to remember these three things from my first year of marriage to Regina.

1 | DO NOT SMOTHER

And that’s because I want her to always be herself. It’s important for us to each maintain our individuality. Regina has told me on more than one occasion that she likes her space. She doesn’t even want a hint of smothering.

I’ve always told her from the beginning: “you be you”.

One of the things that she really likes is downtime to process and work through all of the things working in her mind and she does it well when she has time and space to do that. I try to be respectful of her time and this need.

2 |  DO NOT INTERRUPT

We’re empty nesters now so we have a lot of time with just the two of us. Even with all of our extra activities.

I have a tendency to get a little excited at times and need to moderate that a bit – that’s a maturing thing.

This is good not only because of the maturing, but it decreases the amount of stress I put on my wife. That is a win-win for the both of us.

3 | APOLOGIZE AUTHENTICALLY

Recognizing when I’ve done something wrong and not giving a weak apology, but a more authentic apology. A weak apology is a defensive apology. I want to instead apologize by saying I’m sorry and that I’m going to work on not doing that again.

And then, of course, the actions will show me positively addressing the reason I needed to offer an apology.

——

(As Regina reclaims the keyboard with tears welled up in her eyes…)

Y’all. I am well loved by this man.

In so many years of being married, I’ve never before felt I could be myself and share my heart and mind with the person who’d vowed to love me for me.

There are so many more than three lessons, but these three made the top of my list because they are things I used to believe could not be in a marriage that I was also a part of.

WHAT I LEARNED IN OUR FIRST YEAR OF MARRIAGE

1 | SURROUND YOURSELF WITH TRUSTWORTHY + SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE

We have lots of people who want to see our marriage succeed and bring glory to God. Both of our parents like the person we’re married to. They counsel us and encourage us and continually love on us.

We do not make margin in our relationship for naysayers, people who are not living the type of life and example we’d like to emulate. There are only two handfuls of couples we open up to about the areas of growth we’re working to strengthen and they are all people who have been invited to speak truth over us and into our relationship.

I’ve always believed in the importance of this and my heart aches when couples don’t prioritize it. But even more, I’m grateful to be married to a man who is willing to be open with people who were technically my friends first and submit himself to the correction and guidance of these trusted folks.

What I’ve learned is that it does work. That this kind of support is real. That it strengthens your marriage. And as a result of experiencing it regularly, we hope to be able to encourage and support other couples put in our path years from now.

2 | IT IS OKAY TO BE ALL OF MY REAL SELF

After the experiences, I’ve had with men – well shoot with people –  it’s quite deeply ingrained in me that my whole self is too much. It’s been explicitly told to me and even more subtly expressed that I – when being my raw, real, authentic self is just too much and well also just unlovable.

Mister has taken to repeating himself seven million times to help affirm me in being me. And it’s been fairly effective. I’m not all the way there yet. I don’t always believe him when he says the things and pays the compliments, but he is diligently and lovingly wearing me down and bringing me around to his side.

It’s softening me and helping heal some deep wounds.

3 | HOW TO ALLOW SOMEONE TO REGULARLY CARE FOR ME

I’m not all the way good at this yet and I hope there will be no more need for it, but I’ve learned how to allow someone to take care of me when I’m unable to care for myself.

For most of my adult life, I’ve had to be responsible for all the things. This past year, I’ve had a completely different experience.

Mister handles the majority of the details for dates, travel and even cooks most of our meals. One of my love languages is “acts of service” and it’s one of the ways I feel most taken care of in our relationship.

It’s important for me to remember not to take advantage of this but I think I’m far from that place – I’m often still pinching myself that I am loved this way so regularly. It requires me receiving his care and concern and embracing his willingness to prefer me above himself.

—-

It’s been a stellar first year of marriage – even with the not so wonderful and unpredictable. For more “in between” updates about some of the things happening with us this month, follow me on Facebook and/or Instagram (my handle on both is @reginasather).

Because February is a-hoppin’ month for us – there are so many new and exciting things happening this week alone – I’ll be taking a break from posting in this space for a whole week. Next week, I’ll be back to share some of the new and how I’m tending to my soul while navigating the transitions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply Sather

OUR FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

We have been married for one whole year. And wow, what a year it’s been.

On both my Facebook and Instagram profiles, I shared a few of the things we’ve walked through this year that both blessed us and stretched us. Later this week, I’ll share a post of a few things that both Mister and I believe we’ve learned about being remarried and about being married to one another this year.

But this post…

This one is all about the celebrating.

Before I share what we did, please let me admit how different we are when it comes to celebrating. Mister is a regular celebrator. He is confident in taking breaks to mark moments of victory and of happiness. It doesn’t even occur to him to wait until everything is wrapped in a pretty bow before he calls out the beautiful, good, or the growth. Me on the other hand, I don’t even really know what celebration means; not really anyway. Oftentimes, I find myself needing to remember to breathe because I’m expecting to be disappointed or even more honestly, expecting that my acknowledging something that makes me happy is only going to turn into something negative or be taken away from me.

It’s a part of my journey. The transformation that God is working out in me.

This morning (the morning after) God reminded me of something. In Romans 8:29, the Bible says, “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…”

It reminded me to consider that my faith is not about automatically taking away difficult things in myself to make my life easier, or to make it easier for people to enjoy or tolerate my company. He, in His all-knowing, is working out my own will and replacing it with His own. Even in something like the unity of marriage.

You see, before I met Mister, I was recovering from two marriages. One that ended in a combat-related death, the other that ended in divorce. I am often hesitant to share this. And you can imagine how fun that made the dating experience.

Outside of those challenges, my deeply buried insecurities were become loosened. God was beginning to resurrect inner vows and flat out lies within me as I grew in love with my now husband. And one of the ways that God repeatedly does this in my soul is by partnering me with one who genuinely enjoys celebrating being married to me.

He is fully aware that he is leading dragging me along on this part of the journey and does it with a genuine heart.

So what that looks like is a more subtle, understated anniversary celebration, much like our classic, but simple wedding a year ago. The most important people were present and we did the most – to us – important things (like still attending church!). It was not overdone and it was largely about being present, having new experiences and just getting out; a very real mix of both of us.

MORNING

Mister made pancakes, I made coffee and we lounged around for a large part of the morning. This left time for quality time with one another and quality time with God and for me, some special book reading time alone for a whole hour. He so gets me!

Coffee w/Mister
one of our favorite wedding gifts; we use them regularly

AFTERNOON

We scooted out the door and prepared to navigate the Metroplex toward Plano for lunch at Cru – a place we could afford and enjoy because of the generosity of a few sorority sisters and their joint wedding gift last March.

We were one of three sets of two in the restaurant. We got to taste different wines and ate great food. At different times throughout the meal, we reminisced about our courtship and reflected on our wedding day. I even brought our wedding vows and we took a look at those at different parts throughout the meal.

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his pizza, her salmon

One of my favorite things about this time was that we were giddy to be experiencing something new together. It had been a while since we felt like we had something to celebrate and here we were beaming and laughing and flirting and connecting on a deeper level. For me, this is the “magic of marriage”. It comes in a puff – the love, the feeling, the connection – and it locks itself into your heart and becomes a brick in the foundation of your relationship.

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in the vino library

Even though we did a lot of things together in our first year of marriage, I’m quite certain we both believe and understand the need to find and make the margin for more moments like these.

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did my hair for my Mister

A SPECIAL MOMENT

My engagement ring represents so much of our story. For me, it is a daily reminder not just that I’m married, but that I’ve always been special to God. He favors me and sees me and loves me. And the way Mister will grab my hand from time to time and look at the peach sapphire he thoroughly researched and purchased, actually makes my heart swoon. He spins it around on my finger to straighten it – kind of like he attempts to straighten my crown every day by praying over me, listening to me when my words come out, overflowing in a heap of emotion. It is one of my most favorite representations of us.

Swoon
he didn’t know I snapped this photo

EVENING

We were able to squeeze in our day date and running around the Metroplex and still make it to church to worship and see a couple of other families that are dear to us and supportive of our marital growth.

We wanted to have a lemon cake from Susie’s (the best!) and open the $88 bottle of wine I nudged Mister to buy and ship home when we were on our honeymoon in Sonoma last year. We enjoyed a few hours of talking and laughing with the couple who most consistently challenges us, speaks life into our marriage and leads us by example in their own marriage.

ANNIVERSARY GIFTS

Something I did not think to do in my first two marriages (one because of money and the other because it seemed too frivolous), but something we’ve agreed to take on in ours is exchanging gifts from the “Anniversary Gifts by Year” list. Never heard of it? You can take a look here.

I think it surprised Mister that I wanted to try something like this, my not being a traditionalist an often struggling to celebrate, but once we agreed that the gifts we chose to exchange would be practical, we were both into it.

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happy one year anniversary: the gift of paper

We exchanged cards that we read before we went to sleep and exchanged these gifts the next morning (even though they weren’t a surprise – we consulted one another along the way). I’m so excited about starting a new Bible and Mister is going to be curling up with his weekly subscription to the New York Times.

If you’ve spent any time with us, you know this day fits both of us; not our original plan but one that worked in light of our circumstances. This celebration – should I say, celebration, part one?!? – was a great mix of both of our love languages being met and us marking more memories been making time for more celebrations.

I enjoyed the day with my new husband. And as we move into year two as husband and wife, we’re asking people who know and love us to pray for our godly transformation and for clarity about ways we can serve God together. Well, and travel, we wanna have him “permanently get back to work” so that we can travel – it’s our favorite!