Simply Sather

12 SMALL BUSINESS SHOPS FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR SHOPPING LIST + SOME TIPS FOR THE KIDDOS TOO!

For the past couple of years, I’ve been stretching (or rather shrinking) into minimalism with The Minimalists.

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Their influence, impact and education changed the way I consume stuff + information and is becoming more of a lifestyle.

Before you skip or skim this post, let me tell you that on the road to becoming more of a minimalist does not mean I never buy anything I like. It also doesn’t mean that I don’t make lists for gifts for my birthday, our anniversary or at Christmas time. Because quality time + acts of service are my biggest love languages (more about this next week!), I tend to enjoy time with people doing things I enjoy; like girlfriends coming over in my small but open concept kitchen and baking yummy treats with me.

I know that not everyone is like me, but sweet soul tender, I’d like to encourage you to slow down a bit before you spend this holiday season. Take a moment and consider this mindset from the Minimalists:

Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. We focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps make that room.

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all.

If what you’re out in the streets or on your computer purchasing today (through Cyber Monday) really helps you create more of the things that really matter and is within the budget you’ve set to spend, then I say shop + spend merrily.

Here are 10 places we’ll be shopping from during this season and throughout the year. You’ll want to read through to the end though, because the last link has a discount that benefits you and me! You’re welcome.

Before I hop into great gifts and shopping for adults, let me share a few links about these sweet peeps:

FOR THE KIDS, NIECES + NEPHEWS + GRANDKIDDOS

Minimalist Christmas Gifts for Kids

Clutter Free Stocking Stuffers

Give Kids Experience Gifts

145 Non-Toy Gifts for Kids of Every Age

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Now on to you!

FRANCIS + BENEDICT

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As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Francis + Benedict exists to empower and equip skilled Togolese seamstresses by providing them with dignified and sustainable employment.

I have three skirts from this organization and enjoy their mission. Mister hooked me up with one skirt as a Christmas gift last year (yes, I helped him with narrow the choices and pick the right size for me). Of the clothes I own – not a lot, mind you – these skirts get the most compliments months and months after I’ve worn them. And I just enjoy pointing people back to the mission and work of Francis + Benedict.

BELONG MAG

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Belong Magazine is a quarterly digital and print magazine celebrating the art and community of creativity, community and entrepreneurship. In all that we do, we desire for women to use their passions for a purpose, to inspire women to be authentic, to be life-giving and to encourage one another. We want women to know that they are enough, that they matter and that they have a place. They belong. 

Or whatever magazine you know speaks to your friend or loved one; that helps them see other people doing some the things they have been called to do or that encourages them in their soul.

MON PETIT FOUR 

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…created Mon Petit Four as a way to share French recipes and lifestyle tips that she gathered from her many trips to France. Today, Beeta enjoys inspiring her readers with fresh ideas on meals they can prepare at home, style tips, and home decor suggestions that incorporate the French elegance and sophistication she admires so much. 

Y’all. The people in your life get excited about something. Do you know what it is?

For me, behind my relationship with Jesus and books comes France. That didn’t sound right – I love you Mister and Shorty and mom – but it’s true. I get excited about speaking and hearing the language, baking their baked goods and in general, the culture.

So the French pastry class will help me become more of the hobby baker I’d like while benefitting my hubby’s sweet tooth. I so enjoy learning and this website teaches me things, allows me to have experiences and to serve others.

And umm y’all. This class: French Baking Class for Beginners (which you have lifetime access to and can do from anywhere you have an internet connection, device and oven) is currently $9.99. NINE DOLLARS AND NINETY NINE CENTS!!! I’m just sayin’ if you haven’t gotten this for yourself or a baker in your life, you’re missing out on some delectable calories.

THE GIVING KEYS

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At The Giving Keys, we want to inspire the world to pay it forward, so we’ve built it into how we do business. Through our social impact employment model, every product you purchase supports job creation for people transitioning out of homelessness.

Every year for the past five years, I’ve chosen one word to focus on throughout the year. It often dictates my goals and action plan for the year. I’ve already had my words for 2019 come to me – yes two words next year! – and would be grateful to rock one or both words with a black matte key to help support their mission and share my word.

One of my favorite things about their keys is that when you believe you’ve grown in that word or that area and see someone else who you believe could benefit from that word, you give them your key, you pay it forward. I’ve been able to do this twice and both times, it’s been a powerful experience for me and the key recipient.

CULTIVATE + POWERSHEETS

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With an ever-growing list of to-dos, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the tasks on your plate, and disappointed you’re not spending enough time doing the things you love and caring for the people you love.

We want to press the reset button! We believe your time can be spent intentionally, and that your to-do lists can be simplified by uncovering meaningful goals and taking action on them little by little. In doing this, we learn to celebrate progress, not perfection.

Cultivate What Matters was created to give you the community, resources, and encouragement to realize that you can make great things—big or small—happen!

I’ve read two of Casey’s books and done the Powersheets (Goal Planners) for the past 5 years. My friends, if you wonder how I get so much done or how I choose what I do + how I spend my time; the Powersheets have had a huge thing to do with it.

I enjoy the paper process, but mostly I appreciate the constant reminder that our focus is on “progress not perfection”. Already have my sheets for next year and will begin working on them in early December!

BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB

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Now this one will be a new one for me this year, but hello! If you know me, then you know I’m often with a book in my cute Hobo bag, catching a few pages at a stoplight in traffic.

And while I use my library card regularly, it’s nice to be the first person to crack a copy of a book. Do you know what I mean? Not a book that someone else has already read in their bathtub, in their bathroom (eww, right?!? but come on, I know you’ve done it too) or even while eating their curry dish that I can still smell in the pages of that 642 page novel I can’t put down.

With my self-imposed book challenge for the year – see the details on my book love blog page – I don’t think it’s cheating for me to ask for the gift as long as I don’t purchase it myself. My son asked what I’d like for Christmas, I sent him the link; it’s the only thing I asked for. I’ll keep you posted.

INSPIRED 3 CROCHET

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After making hats and baby items for friends and family, I was encouraged to take it a step further. I have to thank my Dad, who also has an Etsy shop, for helping me get started. And to all my friend who keep up the support. It brings me joy to hear from happy customers when they receive their handmade items, and they are so pleased. I work hard on every item I create to make sure “it is just right”.

I so enjoy knowing this Etsy shop owner. She’s a brilliant mind, a funny woman and a great friend. You’ll see lots of photos of Green Bay Packers gear, but breathe Texans, she can make other teams’ patterns; she fiesty though so you gotta come correct. Ha! I kid, her customer service and attention to detail will blow you away.

My desired project has not been started yet because I really don’t know what of hers I want most – but to my sorority sisters, can’t you just imagine lovely, matching blankets with a kite woven into it?

THE CACTUS ROSE SHOP

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Welcome to The Cactus Rose! I am very excited to finally be opening this shop. What started as a hobby in my garage, I found a love for woodworking and being creative. I have combined these two loves by starting The Cactus Rose where I specialize in creating personalized home decor and gifts. I love taking an idea and turning that into a reality. Thanks for stopping by my shop, and I hope to make something special for you! 

We just got a stunning custom-made high topped table for our living space (apartment home tour post coming soon!) which now leaves a space on our wall. I saw this young lady’s new shop and reached out.

Other than the math she required (the hardest part!) she was quick to respond and is whipping up some decor to help finish our space to complement our minimalist theme.

She also does custom tree ornaments y’all. Click over on Insta or Facebook and let her serve you.

YOUNG LIVING

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I’m no longer a distributor, but still very much a consumer.

And want to encourage you, if you’re still using chemicals to clean your home you really will want to consider Young Living as an alternative to what’s easy to grab at your local drugstore or even Target.

As my hands begin to wrinkle from years and years of harsh chemicals and cleaning (well and age), I realize the damage that can be happening inside of my body too.

I won’t get preachy, but will tell you that it’s worth checking out. And if you don’t have a distributor or someone that can help you navigate the process, I have a woman who will love you up with answers and information but without pressure.

BEAUTY COUNTER

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And so I started Beautycounter, a company devoted to progress. Here you’ll find a wealth of empowering information about ways we can all make the world healthier, along with safer products you can trust. Because we all deserve better. Our vision is bold; real answers are never timid. Help us put truth back in beauty.

I have tried so many cosmetics companies but became ready to make the change when I learned about Beauty Counter’s impact on the beauty industry – at the law changing level – as well as making products that are safe and more considerate of brown skinned women and all of our shades.

Their packaging is simplistic and attentive to our environment – which Mister supports! – and my consultant is just a gem.

Shop here for yourself, your man or your mama and get their top sellers for a discounted price. Also know, that using this link helps me get some goodies at a discounted price too!

SIMPLY SATHER

And last, but not least…

I know this woman who is adamant about self-care and tending to one’s soul. It’s me!

No matter how your holidays go, there will be some wear and tear and a bit of stress. And at the end of it all, I want you to have some intentional time to reflect and recover.

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For everyone who submits an inquiry between now and the 5th of December, you will receive a 10% discount off of whatever soul care retreat you choose. You can read all about it here.

You’re doing all the work for everyone else, do not believe for one moment that there shouldn’t be something of value for you.

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No matter how you prepare for or shop for the Christmas holiday, I believe you can find something in here that will last beyond the unwrapped tornado on Christmas Day.

And a heads’ up friends, as we move into prime Christmas time, I’ll be dialing back the blog posts to almost none in December. While I’ll continue writing and drafting for the new year, December is a needed time for me to reflect on the past year and prepare, pray and plan for the new one.

It’s not goodbye for 2018 just yet though – I’ll be back next week with some posts and some ideas about how to do more than survive December and the holiday season.

Happy hearted, gratitude-filled shopping soul tenders!

 

Simply Sather

PLAN TO RETREAT: BEYOND THE HOLIDAYS

We’re going into the deep of the holidays now. You feel it?

We’re busy with the cooking, cleaning, shopping and inviting. Busy with all that comes with Christmas Cards, the ordering and shipping of packages and of course the decorating. Some of us are hosting, others of are traveling. The season is in full swing!

And with all that is happening, I believe that now is THE time to start planning a soul care retreat.

WHY WOULD I NEED A SOUL CARE RETREAT?

Even if you’re not sure what a soul care retreat is or how you would make one happen for you, let me share 10 reasons why I believe every adult qualifies for and actually needs a soul care retreat.

Read and mark a tally for each statement that is currently true or will likely be true for you as the holiday train picks up speed.

1. You are overwhelmed.

2. Your schedule/routine steals your joy.

3. You don’t know what to do when you have “free time” or “down time”.

4. You aren’t sleeping well.

5. You are so distracted you think you’re multi-tasking (and that it’s working for you).

6. You ate your last few meals (or more) standing over your sink or while driving in your car.

7. You’re unsure what your next step is.

8. You need a few dozen quiet moments in consecutive order; moments where people are not calling you by the role/capacity you serve them in (wife, mother, boss, employee, teammate, volunteer, daughter, friend)

9. You can’t recall the last time you set aside waking time to dream

10. Someone told you that you needed a soul care retreat

If you marked down one or more tally marks, then a soul care retreat is for you.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THIS RETREAT YOU SPEAK OF?

Simply put…

A soul care retreat is a time away from your routine. It is personalized for you, you + your spouse or a small team of 10 people or less. The personalized itinerary takes into account activities and environments that you enjoy, places that help you relax and rest and are designed to help you dig into what’s happening in your soul or the culture of your team’s dynamic.

I’ve planned the activities around getaways, vacations and retreats that have already been pre-scheduled, but I have retreat packages that include my planning your stay, making your reservations and even helping you to figure out where to eat.

Simply Sather Soul Care Retreats are designed to help you break away from stress, stuck + overwhelm in order to tend to your soul.

PLAN TO RETREAT

Many of us tend to the needs and desires of others.

We do this for our spouses, our children, our employees or co-workers. We do this as we lead small groups at church or teams where we volunteer. We give up hours and hours loving on, paying attention to and caring for everyone else.

Then we look up and it’s Thanksgiving and we’re making the mashed potatoes and gravy wondering when we’ll have some time to truly sit, rest our bodies and minds to think and reflect on what’s happening deep within ourselves. Or we bury the hope of having time to be bored, to allow our minds to wander or to take a nap without it being a “power” one.

Planning your retreat now makes it a priority. Even if it doesn’t happen until February next year, it gives you something to look forward to. An intentional time set aside for you and whoever will join you on this retreat to tend to your souls, to sit in silence and connect or re-connect on a level you haven’t had or made time for in the recent past.

I’ve planned four of these retreats in the last six months, but the first one I planned this year was our own. You can read about it here.

 

SIMPLY SATHER SOUL CARE RETREATS 

It was a remarkable time for us. I know that I couldn’t stop talking about it to others. So much so that it became clear that I was to help others make time to tend to their souls in this way.

With our culture keeping us in yeses and filled spots on our calendar, it can be hard to wrap our brains around the idea of 48 to 72 hours off the grid to get away, break the routine and rest our souls. I plan and personalize a lot of the retreat based upon the retreat package you choose and pray for everything you desire to come to fruition; especially for you to have an encounter with your Creator that speaks to you in the depths of who you are.

Y’all.

As a person who has needed these and been going on these retreats for over 14 years, they are rejuvenating. They have changed over the years, but they always meet a need; many times a need I didn’t even realize I had. I’m certain these retreats have been an instrumental part of my surviving being widowed and divorced and all that comes with it. And because it’s worked for me, I believe it can be of benefit to you.

A DEAL FOR YOU

Here’s the coolest thing about my helping plan a soul care retreat for you. We do not need to live around the corner in order for me to learn your preferences, your desires and your needs. Everything is done through the computer.

When you complete the retreat inquiry – here – we begin with a FREE 20-minute consultation via ZOOM. Once that’s completed, I reach back out to you within 48 hours to tell you which retreat I’m prepared to plan for you, glean your budget and set you up for victory. Your personalized itinerary comes to you in the days leading up to your trip. It includes a packing list, your soul care activities and more, depending upon the package you select.

Whether you’re on a staycation or taking a day off, I can build a personalized soul care retreat that will fit the time you do have and the season in your life.

Soul Care Retreat 2018
book your soul care retreat services by 05 December 2018 to receive 10% off

Complete an inquiry by 05 December and receive 10% off your selected retreat package.

Not a need for you at this time? Maybe you know your spouse or another couple who might benefit or someone that is taking a vacation or even planning a honeymoon. You can gift this opportunity to them.

I know. It may seem crazy to think about something like this now when you’re up to your elbows in starch and turkey wings making turkey stock, but trust me – when things are at the height of busy, with so much stress and potential overwhelm, it’s the perfect time to take a few moments to plan.

Be intentional, look ahead and let’s to tend to your soul.

 

 

Simply Sather

OUR FIRST SOUL CARE RETREAT

Perhaps some of why I was so overwhelmed was that I was busy planning our very first soul care retreat.

Even though we just got back from our honeymoon earlier this month – which I’m super excited to post about really soon – I’d been really pumped about this weekend away, just the two of us with minimal distractions to get quiet and connect more deeply with God.

I’ve been doing something similar to this for years – over a decade actually; taking time to rent out a room at a B&B, to take a pile of books (and only read half of one), take walks by myself, sit next to water and journal. I would sometimes go to a spa – alone or even sometimes house sit or stay at a friend’s home while they were out-of-town. And especially more intentional, I went on two “soul care retreats” with Holy Yoga and absolutely devoured the opportunity to join a bunch of other women stretching at their ability level, being vulnerable about their challenges in small groups and particularly finding power and love in the times of silence.

When I posted about being overwhelmed last week, I was aware that I needed this kind of time and was also aware that it was coming – I was planning it for us – but wasn’t sure how it would go for us as a couple.

I was about to share something pretty sacred and meaningful for me with my new husband and was a tiny bit nervous about how it might actually go. How might he receive it? Would he be resistant? Think it was too early for us to be taking these types of preventative, intentional, God-focused kind of getaways? I mean, we did just get married, right?

But, exactly because we are newlyweds – with past marriages and past hurts that want to rear their ugly heads at all the worst times – we needed to prioritize this retreat time away – together.

I wanted to gift this to my hubby, so I saved and set aside the money, arranged for the place to stay, did all of the shopping, created the agenda – even pre-filled the car with gas and did the driving so he could have fun relaxing into the whole thing.

48 hours – not planned to be rigid  but so that he could see what was in my heart about this time away; we had an outline of the foods/meals I’d cook, the big wins and the why behind the whole thing. It was a simple thing, though simple doesn’t always mean easy. It definitely took some effort.

While Mister was preparing for our honeymoon, I was planning for this weekend.

I prayed about it.

I thought about the desired outcome and what we would feel like returning home from the weekend if the intentions set were actually met.

I asked him to pick out recipes he really liked or wanted me to try.

I also pleaded with him not to ask questions – partially because I wanted to surprise him, but mostly because I wanted things to remain fluid; if something I wanted to happen wasn’t going to, it removed the pressure because he would never know what he was missing and not be disappointed or feel something was lost.

I shared with only a few people the details of what we were doing only a couple of days before we left.

F R I D A Y

We arrived at our location – a very generous lake house loan from dear friends – later than I’d plan because – well, traffic – but immediately unloaded the car, unpacked, got the lay of the land then settled into a conversation like old friends connecting again after a little time apart.

a favorite wine and a yummy snack
encouragement from Mister’s daughter

We sipped wine, read scriptures that were highlighted from the Bible set out at our wedding and talked about the one area we’d like the other person to work on most in our marriage, as our partner.

I’m gonna go ahead and share that my sweet husband would like for me to grow in being less nagging (even though he says I’m only a little naggy, he’d still like to have it eliminated). I won’t waste anytime telling you that I argued with him about this. It had already come up during a trip we’d taken together before we got engaged, early on in our marriage and then again on our honeymoon (which we took three months after being wed). I added bossy and sassy to the mix and told him that we would take some time the next day to get quiet with God and petition Him for help.

(Since I’m the writer and sharer here, I’ll refrain from sharing what I asked hubby to improve in – maybe he’ll want to share in this space someday – but for now, you’re gonna hear about me.)

the plan; we did about 85% of the stuff on here

I shared with him the overall agenda – hoping he wouldn’t flee from the lake house in the night at his wife’s planning abilities – and he smiled and received the plan with gratitude sharing that this was new for him.

Oh! I forgot the frozen pizza, so we snacked (glad I packed snacks) – and it was all good – see fluid!!!

We talked for a while longer and then settled into the night open to what the next day would bring.

S A T U R D A Y

We woke up without an alarm!

Even if you’re not in a position to travel or getaway for a retreat, try this one little thing on the weekend and let your body tell you when to open your eyes; game changer!

We did light fare breakfast, snacking – setting up the morning and preparing ourselves for the time to be quiet.

Mister was going to walk and I was going to sit by the lake.

Though I’ve experienced times of silence for much longer, I thought I’d ease us in as a couple this first time at 1 1/2 hours.

I knew we each needed something different in order for this to be effective. I needed to be able to journal, look up/at words and then sit still to listen and hear. Mister on the other hand, needed to be in nature, in the trees, walking and moving and interacting with the outdoors.

We arrived in the kitchen within minutes of one another.

salmon, asparagus + cauliflower lunch

As I prepared lunch – he really, really, really enjoys good fish – we started chatting about what we heard in the areas we’d mentioned the night before.

I won’t go into detail here, but we both heard the simplest, sweetest, most loving message which was basically – come to Me first and I will give you the strength you need to give the other what they most desire in this season of your marriage.

proverbs 3:26 for me

We spent time in the Word, finding scriptures to help us focus when the flesh wants to pull us away. And then we spent a couple of hours laying out a dream map; dreaming big ideas for 2019, 2021, 2023 and 2028.

Mister reading me the scriptures God gave him

Y’all there are some big, beautiful (somewhat scary) dreams on our map. But, the experience of dreaming opened us up to one another in areas of our souls we’d not yet discovered or revealed to the other. There were no major surprises, but bold, big prayers for things we’d not allowed ourselves to even put words to before.

S U N D A Y

Slept in again – yes!

omelet in a skillet in the oven – delicious

And then made another new dish for breakfast. While I cooked, he chatted and we listened to worship music.

reflecting on our assessments with this view

We spent some time down on the pier of the boathouse and opened our pre-marital counseling assessments. There are a lot of pages but rather than get into the weeds on every page, we got quiet and went through the packet separately, each chose one page and then discussed a couple of things from each page together.

We were able to be honest with one another and then prayed aloud as boaters and jet-skiers whizzed on by, while turtles popped their heads above the water and fish sometimes surprisingly leaped above the surface.

Y’all it was so wonderful.

Peaceful.

Relaxing.

Simple.

We experienced freedom from distraction and busy, laughed and played with one another as friends and partners and learned to love more about God and one another in an effort to strengthen our connection.

the smile on my face reflects the way he speaks about + to me; he was so pleased with our weekend

I recommend soul care retreats for everyone.

capturing him resting his eyes made me feel like I won everything

If you’re up for it and think you’d like to plan one for yourself or someone you love, it might help to consider for the following:

  • the distractions that need to be set aside
  • getting away for at least 36 to 48 hours
  • keeping the plan simple (don’t try to plan too much of anything)
  • make room for God to speak – get silent for a little while (don’t talk to one another)
  • share with people you trust what you’re going to do so they can ask you about it and pray for you to be focused and successful while you’re away and help you when you return
  • dream
  • choose a place that speaks to you and how you interact best with God
  • choose at least one scripture to carry away from the weekend
  • before the weekend wraps up, choose a month/time for the next one

Make it happen, make it your own and be open to what may come.