Simply Sather


I’m super excited to host a huge meal for the Thanksgiving holiday at our apartment home this year. We will be hosting our young adults (Mister and I have three young adult children between the two of us; 22yo, 20yo + 19yo) and possibly some of their friends five days early in an attempt to get them all here and stuff their bellies with food made from love.

At this time, we’ve got confirmation from two out of three of our children and are wrestling to make the best of it.

Being an empty-nester is so wonderful in so many ways, but it’s also emotionally draining at times because well, you miss them but you don’t miss them. They are out stretching their wings and you may not miss their elephant-in-the-room sized selfishness but you miss laying eyes on them while listening to them share their best parts of themselves with you.


In an effort to lure them into time with us at the holidays, we’ve whipped up quite the menu. Not even gonna ask, because I just know you’re not judging me.

This year’s “Gather with the Sathers” Thanksgiving Dinner Menu includes: Turkey, Macaroni & Cheese, Cranberry Chutney, Brussel Sprouts with Bacon, Potatoes & Gravy, Salad*, Stuffing, Rolls and Lefse (made by Mister + his daughter). And for Dessert? Egg Nog Cake + Pomegranate + Apple Cobbler with Ice Cream & Pomegranate Seeds (photos below).

New to me this year will be roasting the turkey (never too late to learn, right?), making my own mashed potatoes + gravy, stuffing, rolls and the egg nog cake. So yep, basically half the menu will be remnant of The Great British Baking Show’s technical challenge to me but hopefully great for everyone who eats.

Today is about shopping together – have I mentioned how much I dislike grocery shopping – and organizing the kitchen for almost 24 hours of cooking, baking, dancing in the kitchen and of course eating.

We’re making a big fuss about Thanksgiving this year because last year at this time, I was only a couple of days out of major surgery (still at the hospital, mind you) and I was at the mercy of others to provide something of the holiday fare. And while we had all of the support one could hope for, it’s not the same as making and enjoying your own.

The mess, the food, putting the smiles on the faces of those with the bellies you’ve stuffed; the holidays are the time I most enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking.

But, it’s a bit of a risk.

A lot of the dishes I’m making are not what they may be used to.

I was like this about my grandma’s pound cake. It was so wonderfully simple, perfectly sweet and beautiful to look at. I would eat and graze on that thing from morning ’til night because well, can you say spoiled. I was in such adoration of this pound cake that my grandma would make two – one for everyone to share and one for me.

It’s a regret of mine that I never got the recipe. I’ve tried to make others but to no avail. And in the last few years, I’ve let go of ever tasting it the way she made pound cake ever again.


Which I guess is good for trying new things, adding one’s own twist, or better yet – for writing things down and sharing it with others. That’s what I so enjoy about Pinterest!

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Pinterest is a social network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others’ boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned. | Andy Meng[/perfectpullquote]

People use Pinterest to collect information, DIY insights or to drive their own business. I’m still learning how to use it myself (for all of the reasons above) but it has been most helpful in my baking and cooking support.

Much of my pinning time is spent on my baking board but when a home project (like our commissioned table) or a travel adventure comes up, I will start a board and pin away.

If you don’t have a Pinterest account yet, try it – it’s free – but I’ll warn you, it can be a little time consuming. You may find yourself needing to limit your time looking at what other people have done and put more time doing/trying the things you’ve pinned. (Four fingers pointing back at me.) Already a Pinterest expert, but don’t follow my account yet? You can do that too!

Screen Shot 2018-11-16 at 6.04.25 AM
the HOME screen on my Pinterest page; hope you’ll follow along as I make it better

All of the recipes I’ll be using to make our version of a Thanksgiving Feast are included on my Pinterest Board: Thanksgiving. Two that aren’t (turkey + egg nog cake) are from the most recent edition of The Magnolia Journal: inspiration for life and home | winter 2018. I’ve baked a few goodies by Joanna Gaines before and they’ve never disappointed our taste buds, so I’m going there with her this holiday season. Plus, I have a great friend who accidentally ended up with two copies and graciously handed one over to me. The only item that isn’t on my Pinterest board (*) is a recipe I’ve made so often that I have it memorized; it’s tried and true and perfect to go alongside all of the yummy foods I’ll be making for this year’s feast.

If you have tried and true recipes or even new ones you think we might like to add to our own Thanksgiving experience next year, please leave them in the comments below. And be on the lookout for pretty portrait photos all over my Instagram stories as I play and prepare in the kitchen.

Simply Sather

three wedding day supermoments

I realize I’ve shared so much about Mister – our courtship (1, 2 + 3), our efforts to simplify and most recently our first getaway to intentionally dream and focus on our marriage – and haven’t shared anything about our wedding.

Not that it wasn’t lovely and beautiful and fulfilling in many ways, but I am kind of a “funny” bride…

Funny because I am an introvert and can also be incredibly particular. I’m also not a fan of super traditional things just because it’s traditional or because someone says I should do it that way. Or if it does not have meaning that will carry on for a long time, long after the day’s festivities are over, then it seems wasteful and I don’t really want it.

So, we hired a dear friend to be our wedding coordinator and she handled it (and me) especially well. Thanks to her ability to listen to us, her willingness to learn about us as a couple and her skill at making things happen – we had a beautiful, simple, wonderful day.

And while there are many things that go into a wedding – and she handled them superbly – there are three supermoments from our wedding day that play back to me regularly.


I bought my wedding dress three years ago.

Before I moved away from Wisconsin. Before I knew exactly where in Texas we would land. Before I knew Mister existed.

I’d been a few months out of a separation and divorce that took 22 months when I agreed to host a small group of women working through some things at a soul care retreat. I had been through one and knew that I could help women work through hard, desperate things even if I had not been through them myself.

I was looking forward to the “day of silence” – which is usually on the second day and starts just after breakfast and ends just before dinner on the same day. It is a very intentional time set aside for participants to get alone with God however they best do this (napping, coloring, walking, kayaking, swimming, reading, journaling, etc.) in order to hear from Him.

Since I’d had some experience with it, I got it in my head that I would help God tell me what I needed to hear.

I mean, my life was a mess and I needed to clean it up.

So I went straight to the dock and sat with blanket, Bible and journal digging into the Old Testament and scriptures on the law.

It is what I felt I deserved. God hates divorce and therefore He was upset with me and I needed to be under strict rule to fix my life and get back on track.

Within the hour of trying to hear from God while telling God what to say, I got frustrated and went and did other things. I painted a word on a rock and then another one, went around watching to see what other people might be doing (even though I couldn’t talk to them), I got in a little canoe – which lasted all of 8 minutes – and when I still couldn’t hear, I decided to get further away from everyone else and go for a walk.

Not even 50 feet into my walk, I heard – clear as day – “you will marry again”.

Yep, black girl walking in the woods – I jumped.

Then laughed at myself for jumping.

And then in disbelief, sure that God couldn’t be saying that to me (the recently divorced sinner) shook it off and kept on walking. I didn’t share with anyone in the groups during the weekend – partly because I was there to listen to the women in my group, but mostly because I didn’t believe it.

I didn’t deserve the blessing of marriage again.

The retreat ended the following day and I had time to kill before picking up my son from wherever he’d gone so that I could go retreating. I ended up in the tiny village of the city where we lived and moseying in and out of shops closer to the time that I got to see him again.

I went into the Ace Hardware to find it’d been purchased by women and turned into a vintage women’s boutique. It had the smell good soaps and lotions, with colorful duct tapes and all the signage about being a woman in a man’s world, coffee and platitudes about exercising. I was enjoying myself when I turned the corner and saw this dress on a dress form.

I took it into the dressing room, tried it on and wept. Quietly – I wasn’t trying to get kicked out or anything.

I wept because it fit me perfectly and because I thought I looked stunning in it and mostly because I was overwhelmed thinking about what I’d heard and tried to block out the day before.

I bought the dress knowing that I’d be moving to Texas in a few short months.

When Mister proposed and wedding planning began, I never tried on another dress.

I did get a little insecure about it when it got closer because when I would try it on from time to time leading up to the big day, I didn’t get the very same feeling I got the very first time I’d tried it on back in 2015.

But on my wedding day, I was in disbelief.

I welled up.

Spun around in circles looking at myself in that dress so many times…

I was so moved by how I felt I looked and especially that I was standing there in a promise from God.

I am so very grateful our photographer caught this moment.

I am even more grateful to God for planning and preparing it all along.

And when he saw me for the “first look” in this dress I’d told him about, his response was beautiful, amazing and powerful. Time slowed and let us soak in the blessing and gift of God’s promise and we received it.

I love this dress.

It was handpicked for me. Truly a non-fussy bride, who knows what she likes by what she doesn’t like. One who wants decisions to be few and simple. God chose this dress as a reflection of the woman I’m becoming and I am so grateful that Mister is the one who got to see me in it.


We got married at the most loveliest place.

The drive, not my favorite, the place – the best of both of us.

If you didn’t know, Mister really, really likes nature. And Stonebridge Wedding Venue is 40 acres of beautiful countryside with circus history and one of the top ten tallest live oak trees in all of Texas. And for me, the amenities of the bridal cottage and lovely decor in Tuxedo Hall (where we dined) seemed as if I’d picked them for myself.

A February wedding in Texas could go all four ways – (rain, sun, snow, ice) all in one day – so we were sure we’d be willing to wed if it was 45 degrees or warmer.

Apparently somebody else needed it to remain around 52 degrees that day, so we had a bit of a chilly ceremony.

But here’s what I so loved about our little ceremony…

We got married in this area surrounded by trees wounded and lit into a knot (it was called The Braided Knot) and we were only the second couple to hold our ceremony in that place.

It was so intimate that we did not need or use any projection equipment for people to hear.

Oh, if it’d only been a little warmer.

Even more precious than the place we chose to wed, was the part of our ceremony where Mister turned to my son to share some words with him:

I appreciate teaming with you to help take care of your Mom, but now you can confidently hand that baton to me.

And I did the same to his children…

I’m saying these words to your dad, but know that the promises I make to him are to overflow to the two of you.

It was precious and meant the world to both of us to let our children know that this was an addition, not a subtraction.

Oh, and Mister gave me his coat so we froze together. But, so gentlemanly…

Y’all. I remember being cold. And I remember hearing words about God and love and saying promises and sharing my heart. I recall beautiful singing and I know that there were people there, but what I most remember about this part of our wedding day was how peaceful I was standing before him.

Aware and believing that challenges would come our way but completely sure that he was the one set aside by God; the one I would be experiencing new, big, incredible things with as his wife.

As I stood alone in the Bridal Cottage waiting for the clock to strike 4:30p, I sang and worshipped and teared up a little. Never once wondering if this was what I was supposed to, with this person. Never once concerned as to whether or not he would be waiting for me or change his mind.

I was giddy.

We had fought the temptation to act in married ways that are to be saved for marriage. We had talked about any and everything – multiple times. We had prayed and asked for guidance and wisdom, input and support.

Our ceremony was the manifestation of doing it “God’s way” for me.

It was an amazing experience.

As if it couldn’t be topped, we had another super moment.


This man.

He just loves me.

Which I no longer say is so difficult to do, because he does it so well.

And I should have known it would be the case since he had demonstrated his love for me appropriately, respectfully and consistently from the day we matched on that dating site.

You see, I’ve been badly hurt by boyfriends, partners, husbands and I knew that I was attracting brokenness in many of those relationships, inviting co-dependency and un-health.

It took me years to figure out how to be better at just being by myself.

Which as an introvert, I know I can take to extremes at times. Nonetheless, I knew that it was better to go way to the other side and be alone and letting Jesus court my hurt heart than to keep on doing the same old things.

So years ago, I bought this small sterling silver ring that I wore on my wedding finger. Even when I wasn’t married. Sometimes even when I was.

And that ring signified my marriage to Jesus. The priority of that relationship.

I didn’t always do it well or right (don’t believe the person that’s trying to convince you they’ve got it all figured out) but I was really trying. It wasn’t the ring that made me want to be better, attract better, listen better, respond better…it was my relationship with God.

I read more studies, more Truth.

I said no to things I would normally salivate to say yes to, to even try.

Wearing that ring became so normal for me that I looked up one day and realized that I was acting like a content, happily married woman before I’d even met the man who would make that label true.

Mister asked me about the ring and what it meant to me.

He also asked to keep it so that he could size out my engagement ring (I’ll have to post about the supermoments from the proposal because it was amazing too) and I forgot all about it.

Until we got married, kissed as hubby and wifey and strolled down the aisle and hopped on the golf cart to get photos taken.

Now mind you. I’m freezing and while I want beautiful photos, I’m done. I just want to be married at home with new husband.

And while the photographer was setting up one of our last shots before the reception. He turned to me and pulled out that stirling silver ring and placed it on my right hand with a gleam in his eye.

One of the most romantic moments I’ve ever been a part of. For real.

It was so delicate and sensitive and protective and loving – I pray it remains clear in my head for the rest of my life.

There were hundreds of very special meaningful moments leading up to our wedding and on our wedding day and even after we got married. So very many.

But these.

These are super moments.

Ones that I share to let you in on my view of the day. What was most important to me and what I long for others to think of when they interact with us – that our love is far deeper than what we looked like on this one day. Our love story is written by God and it is our honor to walk it out.