Simply Sather

back to school prep for them + soul tending for YOU

It’s getting to be back to school season for you and your kiddos.  No littles? Keep reading, this time of year impacts you too!

As a former educator + 17 year veteran of back to school prep, I know you’re laughing…or you’re gonna be. This season is filled with shenanigans and overwhelm – so much so, sometimes you’ve just GOTTA laugh.

Which is a whole lot easier if you’ve made margin for it.

University of Washington, fountain
back-to-school prep is not for the faint of heart, sometimes you just gotta laugh |  me laughing on the University of Washington’s beautiful campus

As you tend to your children, their back-to-school supplies, meeting the teacher and wrangling them back to bedtimes and routines, are you taking a little time to plan to tend to your soul?

Every year I got excited for my son and the potential of a new school year.

It was permission to press the restart before the craziness of the end of the calendar year, but somehow I ended up petered out by Halloween because in all of the planning and preparing and shopping and re-organizing for him, I’d neglected to build in time for me to tend to my soul.

Before you mamas head to Target or Wal-Mart and start (or put the finishing touches) on the back-to-school plans, before you teens plan to sign up for additional elective + AP classes to impress the colleges you plan to attend after graduation, before you collegians volunteer yourselves to join, serve + lead in various organizations on your campus and attempt to work part-time and before you educators throw yourselves into lesson plans and scheduling through the first quarter of the school year, please let me encourage you to lay firm blocks of time into your/your family’s schedule for you to stop, slow, down and pause to intentionally tend to your soul.

We can get so excited (or overwhelmed) in the rigamarole that comes with getting our little ones (our ourselves) ready to return to school that we neglect to carve out time on this end – today –  that we’ll need on the back end – when school is out of session or over.


Before committing to or scheduling one more thing…

1. Grab the following supplies:

  • some way to set a timer (the less connected to your smartphone, the better)
  • a journal or several pages of paper and an easy flowing pen
  • a calendar of the next six months, taking you through January 2,  2019

2. Find a quiet spot to work, notify your people that you’re taking 25 minutes or wait until they’re watching a favorite movie or “resting their eyes” (as my son used to say) and prioritize you!

There is no shame if your quiet spot to work is your closet, laundry room or even your car – whatever it takes to decrease or even eliminate distraction for this time.

3. For 25 minutes –  or longer, if you’re able – start creating the picture of how you’d like to show up for the major holidays you and your family celebrate through January 2nd.

Take about 3 minutes of your time and visualize yourself after all of the festivities of the holidays are done, you’re waking up on January 2nd – how do you feel, what are you looking forward to, what is something that excites you? What are you wearing? PJs, ski suit, swimsuit? Jot that down; the more details the better

Use the rest of your 25 and work backwards visualizing what you want each of those holidays to look like and most importantly how you’re going to show up in them

4. Do this again if you were unable to work backwards to today or the weekend before school begins – or again if your picture isn’t clear enough for you to see a joyful, energized, giving version of yourself when celebrating the holidays.

The point of this activity is to help you revisit what you’ve signed your children + yourselves up for before overwhelming and stressing your schedule and your souls. Hopefully your summer has been about relaxation and rest, but you don’t need to give that all up.

Forcing room for margin in your schedule, will give you room to tend to your soul – which is beneficial to you and those you love most.

How’s that for homework before the school year begins?

Even if you don’t have children at home to prepare for returning to school, this is a great time to reset yourself to be sure you’re making intentional time to tend to your soul. For those who are not yet married and hoping to be – you’re also a beneficiary of this type of activity; what you do now, will be easier to prioritize later in life.

If you think this sounds like a ridiculous task to undertake with “all that’s going on”, this is especially for you. I believe in you – no matter the season or station you’re finding yourself in, this is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Your soul will thank you and your people will too.

Simply Sather

stepping into slow space

Sooo…um, hi.

Again with a long break from writing in this space (another post to share why for another time) but during this time away from writing – I’ve gained some insight on creating more space, decreasing my busy and making room for the peeps and things that matter most.

You might recall that one of my goals for 2018 is to work through the A Simple Year course.  I purchased it and planned to work through it in 2017 and only got sort of part of the way into 2.5 modules. Fortunately, once you buy, you are a member for life.

So, I’m not only working toward completing all 12 of the modules in 2018, but currently, I’m hustling to get caught up – I’m only two months behind if you don’t count April. Progress!

In the February module on “busyness”, I am into my second part this week – having to do three a week to get caught up (which isn’t as stressful as it sounds because I have more time than I did three weeks ago) – I came across this section that almost made me burst into tears.

You see, I’ve been pursuing simplicity in my life longer than I knew what to call it.

I was the mom who told her son that he could only choose one activity all year – not per season, per y-e-a-r – because I could decrease busy and sort of seem like I had my act together keeping up with one thing.

But, there have been blind spots for the things I enjoy or that seem to feed my soul and when I read the section on “boycotting busy” this morning, I saw a glaring need to go back over our cozy home, with the least amount of stuff I’ve ever owned and start again.

This “simple living” thing is no joke.

The two areas I’m tackling now are:

  1. My Morning Routine

I’m not working right now and am married to a wonderful man who gets up at 4:30a most days to make his commute to Dallas. I have a reliable internal clock that tells me when to get moving but most mornings I don’t even recall his sweet peck and goodbye. I do hear the coffee maker that goes off at 4:45a (ummmmm coffeeeee). Ahem…

My point? My morning “routine” had become non-existent.

And this introverted, needing to re-charge quietly – away from people, even those that I love and enjoy – has been sleeping into her quiet time then kind of running half-fueled into the day ahead.

It’s not a huge deal to have been in this space for the past bunch of days – there’s grace – but I am wanting to be intentional moving into this next season; whatever it’s going to look like, being sure that the quiet time I so desperately crave, I make time, room and space for.

So here’s my idea for creating a morning routine. This is simply an idea of the time frame and things I hope to experience during this time (not all of it every morning, I’m not trying to be legalistic) during the weekday mornings.

We’ll see how it goes the rest of April…

My fellow introverts get it!!!

2.  My First Step into Space – My Nightstand/Bedside

So, the author of February’s module – Courtney Carver – really got me when she recommended taking a small first step and then had the nerve to use the nightstand as her example.

And I knew she’d touched a nerve because well…

We’ve only lived here together for 2 months and 2 days and already my bedside looks like this. Ms. Courtney went straight for the jugular. I want to proclaim the creative in me as a reason for this, but…

Nevermind, I got nothing. It’s a mess.

So, I went in. And reminded myself that we want our home to be relaxing and calming. That it should add value to the space and be a blessing when I’m in the space. Since it’s considered a reflection of how calm or crazy my life is, I was forced to also consider what else has been piling up in my life and address it; but first – I had to take this step toward creating more space.

And you’ve probably already caught on.

It’s not just about making physical space, but space in your mind, heart, emotional capacity; it’s about being intentionally open – making room for what may be coming next, what you are hopeful for.

I have been struggling with having margin to love people well.

It’s been difficult because I have often been irritated when people are sick or need more of me than I think I have to give, but have come to realize the difficulty is one I created because the busyness in my life drowned out room for margin. I have been frustrated that I’ve been too busy (in my schedule and my mind and my spirit) to be there for other people.

Margin to be there when a friend is hospitalized.

Margin to go for a walk with a friend who needs someone to help her see the sunshine in her life.

Margin to listen and listen and listen while a friend or loved one talks through their roller coaster.

Margin to wait on the phone – patiently – for almost two hours to get a question answered from a governmental agency – during tax season.

All this margin and space I long to have for others, needs to start within myself and it helps to see how our physical space is a reflection of what is happening inside of us.

So I went and took my first step and removed everything from this tiny nook and before putting it back asked myself will having this here (or in our home at all) help me have a “big, beautiful, intentional, happy life.”

I took a step!

Cheer me on, I think it can last.

Now, it’s your turn to take a step into a slow space and lessen your busy.