Simply Sather

my mother’s day | 2018

This Mother’s Day was fabulous for me.

I wanted my guys (husband = Mister and son = Shorty – for the purposes of this blog and sharing about him in this space) to do whatever they could together. And they did.

Made our breakfast together – while I read and rested in bed.

Shorty drove to Starbucks and collected coffees for me and Mister (he passed on a drink for himself as it was the store he works at and said it was bu-say).

They watched the movies I wanted them to watch with me, together.

Shorty got me yoga blocks and a strap (more on this in a minute).

Mister cooked lunch for the three of us.

They drew my first bath in this apartment together for me. I really enjoyed their way of doing it – reflecting their willingness to learn a little from the other about who I am as a person to offer up the best way for me to relax and enjoy that time alone.

That – for me – was the best Mother’s Day celebration. Time with my people, quiet and away from everything else. We called our mothers – and my son honored me as his mother.

One of the best things about the honoring is in the gift he gave me.

A quick aside – Mister offered to buy me a gift (and with all of the refraining I’m doing as a result of lessons learned through Financial Peace University – Amen, but whew) I almost jumped at it with a short, long list. Ahem… It’s so tempting y’all, Mister is a GREAT gift-giver and celebrator of most holidays and events; truly – he’s forcing me to up my game.Which would probably be me thinking about and then remembering said holidays and events.

I eventually turned him down though. I thanked him for the sentiment and drew the line (mostly for myself) with reminding him that I am the mother to a young man who has a job and the means to buy his mother a gift.

How we do it?

We try to keep it simple.

Which is easier to type than to actually live out.

You see, I’m just learning to even receive the lavish love that these two people pour out on me daily. They really are remarkable men. They listen for the things that will put a smile on my face and do exactly that. Which I’ve realized means I n-e-e-d to mean what I say when it comes to sharing with them exactly what it is that could help them to be encouraging, loving and supportive of me. The simplicity in my expressing my wishes set them up for a clear and desired win in making me happy. Mamas, I can not reiterate it enough, make it easy and clear so your people can have a great experience honoring you.

And right now, in the midst of so much transition in my life, I’ve been focusing on only a few daily targets. I call them my “dailies”. They are small in and of themselves on a daily basis, but done repeatedly over and over again until they become a habit – life changing, legacy worthy.

This time last year, I was in the emergency room receiving three pints of blood because of severe anemia. If you know anything about hemoglobin levels – you’re doing normal if you’re at a 12, I was strolling around doing life at a 5.1.

Supposed to be stroking, having a heart attack or quite honestly – dead.

I didn’t have the energy or desire to do much of anything, but was pushing through to work full-time during a busy season, date a new man (who is now my husband) and help my child navigate graduating from high school, start college and get his driver’s license (to name a few of the transitions that pop up in this season of life).

But now, a year later – praise God – I do the energy.

And instead of stopping, quitting and resting on my former idea of health, movement, exercise (which was basically my modus operandi for years since I was so sick and didn’t even know it), I decided that May would be the month that I would tackle THREE new habits I wanted to form to add to other ones that have been sticking since healing.

In addition to taking my Juice Plus Vitamins, reading my Bible, praying, reaching out to a friend or two to see how they are/to let them know I’m cheering for them, I realized I wanted to add (1) yoga (2) resting + reflecting daily and (3) writing with pen and paper to my everyday living.

All big stretches for me.

Why? Because I have started and stopped so many things. Y’all…so many things…

But these things, I’ve put before God in prayer and He has made a way for me to prioritize them each and everyday so far in May, that I’m halfway through.

So when my son asked what I wanted for my mother’s day gift – he was elated when I answered “a yoga strap and blocks”. I went to Target, took photos of the ones I wanted (no need for creativity or guessing here – if he wants me to be happy, I have to be clear about what I really want), he carved out time in his schedule, went and purchased them (surely some other stuff he wanted to) and then presented it to me – in the Target bag (unwrapped) with a smile on his face; proud that his gift was helping me accomplish and reach my daily goals.

I’m only halfway through the month, but I”m celebrating because well – it’s how we keep going right? Tomorrow’s not promised and yesterday is covered with grace. I’ve only missed one day of yoga but since I started the day before May began, I’m cutting myself some slack. I’m on Day 15 of this FREE 30 Day Beginner Challenge – and am really liking how I feel and especially that I’m doing it.

For those who’ve known me for more than 3 years know that this is a miracle of God.

yoga blocks and strap | my mother’s day gifts

And enjoying it. (Not even a hint of sacrasm here).

When she asks us to sit for a moment and “set our intention” at the beginning of each lesson, I utter the same one – “Leslie (yoga lady), I just want to finish”.

If I miss the time in the morning, I carve it out for the afternoon or evening; it has been so encouraging. The other dailies are coming along well too. And it’s amazing how when I make room for these things, there is room for other things.

Notice I wrote “other” things, not “all the things”.

Slow and steady.

But by prioritizing my “dailies”, the benefits of this spreads into so many other things. It’s exciting, I’m proud and feel really good y’all.

Looking ahead, I’m eager to step into her 90-Day Yoga Challenge with the support of both Mister and Shorty. Excited to be better for them, myself prepared for whatever else it may be that God calls me to.

45 years old? It’s good y’all.

Simply Sather

see my stain?

I am sitting here waiting for my skirt to dry.

I spilled some oil on it and didn’t want to walk around in public with a big stain on the front of my skirt. I didn’t want people looking at me and seeing the stain. And well, since I’d already decided this outfit was the one I was wearing today, I did the very non-simple thing and just decided to wash the skirt.

Just the skirt.

And to dry it.

All of that because I did not want the stain to be seen in a class that I’ll attend with Mister later tonight. A class where will walk in and sit down and remain seated for two hours until it’s time to leave and come home again.

Mister would notice the stain, but it would not impact his love for me or how he sees me. Others may or may not notice the stain, the skirt or the outfit at all.  Because the truth is, they are not paying attention to me that much, if at all. People are not waiting with baited breath to see what I’m wearing so that they can comment or judge it. Well, maybe they are – but it’s most likely, they are not.

So much time given to such unhealthy thought. Like darts coming at me over and over, taking up space in my mind, pushing me to make really kind of ridiculous, incredibly vain decisions over non-life threatening things.

But, here I am, waiting for the skirt to dry.

Can anyone else relate?

I’m hoping at least one of you can relate to what it’s like when we make life difficult while hustling to cover the imperfections, the stains, the blemishes. It takes up so much space and energy and quite frankly causes unnecessary angst that stays within us long after the mess is cleaned up, the blemish fades and the stain is removed.

This morning’s time in my Bible brought me to this one verse:

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one

Ephesians 16:a (MSG)

A quick aside; this is how I’ve been reading the Bible lately. One or two (maybe three) verses each day. I stop and read, think about the benefits, blessings that come from acknowledging the words. I will then consider how I need help in this area (this is always an area that I have a revelation in), then I layer it with truth – more scripture – and then just write. (This model is from Naptime Diaries)

I’m even emotional thinking about it.

Because since I’ve moved away from quantity in the Bible (reading one whole chapter each day) and more toward quality experiencing it, I have noticed more of an ability to receive grace and give mercy, growth in areas I felt doomed to stay stuck in, a willingness to more confidently step into my blind spots and more courage facing my fears.

Like writing vulnerably on this blog…

At the beginning of the year, I set 9 big goals. And thankfully, I’m still making progress – though some months have been better than others – it’s been slow going. One of the goals I’ve been most adamant about accomplishing has been writing. Here, in this space, vulnerably.

Sharing more of myself than I feel courageous enough in the moment to share. Worried and concerned about how I might be viewed, what folks might say.

And then when I spilled the big spot of oil on my skirt and found my anxiety through the roof, I realized that I most definitely still have a lot of growing to do in the area of putting it out there. And realized that I needed to share it.

As I grow more confident in who I believe God says I am, I also tense up about sharing it with so many people. What if they don’t get it? What if they don’t like it? What if it offends or hurts them? What if they don’t like…me?

This is where my mind goes. And where my soul aches.

Because in the midst of doing what I believe I’m supposed to do (write and share vulnerably with other women) there is so much fear in what people will say or do in response. I can speak publicly in front of hundreds, but when it comes to typing and sharing my heart – I get scared.

But then go back to the verse I read this morning.

In ALL circumstances – even this seemingly small one – I can wrap faith around it and successfully defeat the enemy’s attacks on my soul, spirit and heart. I don’t believe God cares about my skirt or the stain on it, but He absolutely cares about the woman and the heart of His beloved daughter wearing it.

___

Post update:

After attempting to remove the stain from the skirt, I only found it to be more pronounced and when the light was behind me realized it might not be the most appropriate skirt for a 45yo woman to be wearing anyway.

I tossed the skirt but am holding tight to the lesson.

Simply Sather

65 in 365 | reading challenge

I really like books.

I have since I can remember; books and their stories have been longtime companions to me.

When I think of “fun” I think of books. Not just reading them, but the experience of them. Holding them, the smells (old and new) and turning the pages. There’s just something about it that is special and enjoyable for me.

I’m not against digital readers but you just can’t beat a “brick and mortar” book.

Most people are surprised when they learn that I am introverted.

I really am y’all.

Though I can and often do connect well with others and am able to comfortably and successfully navigate most social situations, my preference is for the quiet. For moments where I have time and stillness to manage the swirling thoughts in my mind (there are so many).

It is fun for me to go to libraries and bookstores and when there is a rare rainy day in Texas and I don’t have work to do, you better believe I’m curled up under a cozy blanket with a cup of Guatemalan coffee resting and reading.

Being a book lover has been a long time part of my makeup. I suspect my parents allowed me to stay up late with a flashlight under my blanket because it was the wildest I got at that time of my life. I just h-a-d to finish the book.

“Just one more page” often turned into “just one more chapter”.

I especially enjoyed when I could predict what would come next, what the characters might say and how a book might end.

Reading for enjoyment took a hit when I studied English in college. Reading all kinds of books and then overanalyzing what the writer meant was daunting (even for an extensive thinker and processor like myself). The Old English class (think Chaucer) and Tolkien class tried to kill me and to this day, I still struggle to read, understand and enjoy poetry. (An aside, Mister took me to the Browning library at Baylor University in Waco, Texas and my interest in poetry was peaked.) And Shakespeare was surprisingly enjoyable but I haven’t read him for fun since my college course so many moons ago. I plan to circle back to Will again sometime soon though.

After all of the college reading (for my English degree, then later for my Education degree/license and all of the development manuals and coaching and training books) I could not really say what I enjoyed reading anymore.

And I think it turned my compass upside down a little bit.

So, to mix it up, I began participating in reading challenges when I joined the blogging community a few years ago; they have been good and not-so-good for me.

If I’m not careful, I can complicate even something like my reading  enjoyment with competition and comparison.

There were deadlines and rankings and swaps and I got into that and lost sight of my enjoyment of the books and experience itself. After a year of participating in reading challenges, I started to recognize the drain and knew I needed to shift my focus back to the simplicity of just reading books.

I quit trying to navigate Goodreads – (just so disappointed that it’s not a more attractive, easy-to-use site) and attempting to keep up with friends’ recommendations and what others thought I should read and stuck with a couple of smaller reading communities.

One was the one through my sorority (Kappa Alpha Theta) called Reading Women. One book a month and then the discussion was done virtually through a private Facebook chat. And another through the local library.

I eventually ended up walking away from both for many reasons – lack of diversity in authors, the style and leadership of the club at the library, leaving Facebook all together – and went back and dabbled in online challenges.

Ones that offer simplicity and have kept the reading about reading.

While on the hunt for the “just right” book club for me, I kept reading and found that I would constantly need to check my motivation for sharing what I read or reading what others are reading. It’s just so very important that I keep asking myself why I’m reading something.

It can’t be because I heard that someone else could and had read 100 plus books in a year or to be a part of a reading community just to say I’m a part of something.

Reading totally relaxes me. Unless I’m reading a great mystery or about injustices or any well-written book – because they make me feel and empathize and cheer and think; I think that’s what I like most.

So I prayed about why I wanted to read so many books and it led me to 65 books in 365 days. A number that challenges me but doesn’t stress me out.

I was able to crank out a lot while recovering from surgery last fall and have a plan for how many I need to tackle each month to reach the goal by October 31st (I started my 365 days on November 1, 2017.)

I want to watch less television, do less binge watching on Netflix and Hulu and even less scrolling on my phone because all of these would be a major help in me reaching this goal. As well, really resting and relaxing on the days I enjoy my Sabbath (which happen to be Fridays), allows me to sit and rest and read.

And dream. And consider and imagine the places and people these authors are introducing me to.

I ensure there is variety, and am open to reading all kinds of things. (Especially when people buy books for me – gift cards are the best though – and when they lend me books with specific parts or things they think I might enjoy or resonate with from the book.)

Books about faith.

Books about women overcoming.

Historical Fiction.

Paris.

Books in a series.

Books about personal growth and development.

Now, I’m in a different book club at our local library (far more laid back and with folks who actually talk about the books) and have the list of books my sorority sisters are reading and am open to recommendations that will push me out of my comfort zone too!

If you’re thinking you’re up for a challenge, here are some that I have tried before (but am not doing now) that you might enjoy:

Christian Reading Challenge

PopSugar Entertainment Challenge

GoodReads

___

Yes, yes.

I know books are not everyone’s favorite but I can argue why I think they should be – especially for the busy and overwhelmed.

But if you are a bookworm like me and you think there is just something I h-a-v-e to read, please share your recommendations in the comments below and take a quick hop over to what I’ve read so far over here.