Each month, we take time to get to know some of our church members just a little bit better. We hope this short interview allows you to lean-in and helps us all know one another better and grow together as a body of believers.
Tell us a little bit about you and your families.
Sara-Margaret: Hi! I'm Sara-Margaret Cates. Tuscaloosa is my hometown, though I've traveled and lived a few other places. I am a theatre artist and educator, and currently lead the performing arts department at Tuscaloosa Academy. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, traveling, and (slowly) running with my "mom squad"! My greatest joy is being wife to Chip and mother to Tobias (4 yrs).
Cathy: I was blessed to grow up in a very loving, Christian family. I had THE best mother ever! I am marred to Bill and together we have three sons and one daughter (Sara-Margaret!). Bill and I both grew up in a similar way and wanted to mirror that for our own kids. Sometimes we were successful in doing so; other times maybe not so much. But God has been so faithful to us and has brought wonderful things even out of missteps.
How long have you been at Trinity? And what drew you here?
Sara-Margaret: I grew up at Trinity - my family came in 1993. It has been fun to watch the church grow over the years.
Cathy: Since 1993. Trinity was meeting in the Focus building at that time. A friend knew we were seeking a church and suggested several times that we should visit Trinity. We loved it from the first visit! Hearing the truth of the Gospel taught and meeting people who were so open and friendly and so excited about Jesus definitely drew us in.
How has your relationship as mother and daughter changed? Can you share anything you have learned from each other?
Sara-Margaret: I remember feeling tension between us when I was a teenager, but she was always so patient with me! My mom is amazing. She has taught me so much. She is one of the strongest and most humble women I know. Now, we are so close; she continues to teach me. I hope that I'm learning how to be a great mom from her, too!
Cathy: Sara-Margaret has always been full of energy with a "can do" attitude. When faced with a challenging issue, she always finds a way to make it work. Also, she has always embraced her individuality - by God's design. I was never one to put myself out there too much. She has taught me over the years to just be me—hopefully the best "me" possible. When we do have time to get together, I enjoy her not only as my daughter, but as my interesting young friend.
Sara-Margaret, what is one of your favorite childhood memories?
Camping and hiking as a family. Which will probably surprise my mom because I did a LOT of complaining back then (it’s hot; I’m tired; I want to watch TV, etc.). But now, those are some of the best memories of time together, going on adventures.
Cathy, what is one of your favorite memories from when your children were at home?
Oh there are SO many. But I think Christmas mornings, often with cousins present too, perched on the top stairs in their PJ's, looking VERY sleepy, posing for the obligatory photo before being allowed to come downstairs to see their gifts. We definitely have some humorous shots!
Sara-Margaret, how has your view of your mom changed after having children of your own?
You think you know how much your mom loves you, how much she did/does for you...and then you have a child of your own, and suddenly you get just a glimpse of the magnitude of her sacrifices, her stamina, her kindness, and her love. I mean, my mother worked full time and raised two of us, and for a while, it was just her, my brother, and me. And we all survived! I am in awe of her, daily.
Cathy, what has it been like to be a grandmother?
Thrilling! So much fun! Blessings everyday that touch my heart and fill me with joy! I love it when TLC wants to Face Time "Mia."
Sara-Margaret, what has surprised you most about motherhood?
This may not be a popular answer, but I think it bears stating since we get all kinds of messages from society: Motherhood does NOT complete you as a woman. So many amazing women do so many amazing things in addition to motherhood. Many other women do not experience motherhood. And we are not defined by our status as mothers or not mothers. Especially in the South, one of the first questions you get as an adult woman (after "are you married") is "do you have kids" or "when will you have kids", etc. Being a mom is incredible. I LOVE my son. But I feel like we don't tell each other enough - your value as a woman is not in your marital status or your motherhood status. God created us, individually, uniquely to be the women that we are. We are complete only in Him, through Christ.
Cathy, can you offer any wisdom or advice for younger mothers?
I'll share the same advice I often tell young brides about their wedding day. Frequently throughout the day just stop. Take a deep breath as you make a slow 360 turn, taking it all in, and enjoy it. Otherwise, it will be just a blur in your memory. Mothers should do this EVERYDAY. Enjoy those precious ones! Even during those "less-than-lovable moments."
If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
Sara-Margaret: Schedule Juggling and/or over-committing!
Cathy: Making lists or "dabbling"
What are some small things that make your day better?
Sara-Margaret: Starbucks and hugs from the precious kids I teach! Just the other day, I saw my son's preschool class in the hallway headed to the playground, and they stopped and broke out into one of the songs we had just learned. It was wonderful to hear their sweet voices all singing the school's Alma mater in beautiful unison, big smiles on their faces.
Cathy: Sunshine, my quiet time, good music, hearing from the kids
Who’s your go to band or artist when you can’t decide on something to listen to?
Sara-Margaret: Dave Matthews Band
Cathy: John Mayer or James Taylor
What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?
Sara-Margaret: Read books. I love the ease of having a digital reader, but nothing beats the feel and smell of real, print books!
What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
Sara-Margaret: Montenegro and it was beautiful! I hope to go back.
What age do you wish you could permanently be? Why?
Cathy: My current age. The fullness of my life right now makes me so happy!
Name three things that you are loving.
Sara-Margaret: I am loving Starbucks, my son's laugh, and that the school year is ending!
Cathy: I am loving semi-retirement, traveling, and my grandchildren!
What are you reading or have you recently read?
Sara-Margaret: I am currently reading Knowing God by JI Packer. A must-read! I also have a long list for my summer reading.
Cathy: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow