Saturday, January 28, 2017

The NEW Spring Planner/Daybook is Ready


PreOrder is in our Etsy Shoppe through January 31st.
You have three options:
(2) The Daybook Version (minus daily planner pages)
(3) A Year's Worth of Seasons
* * * * *
Be sure to join us at
Instagram and Facebook for continued support.
We all need a place we can share the beauty and richness about our homes, families, seasonal celebrations, and lives of faith...you know, the things humankind turns to for rest and reprieve and happiness? I like to think of this as the free version of the Seasonal Planner/Daybook where we can gather to find support and inspiration for these things we so love and which gives our lives meaning...the things that truly make us Rise Up! to a new day and a promising future. Much love and blessings for a beautiful weekend!


Table of Contents

Seasonal Proposal………………..3

Table of Contents……………………….4-5

The Beehive………………..6

Springtime List…………………….7

Welcome to Spring………………………..8

Seasonal Virtue---Diligence………………..9-10

Open Your Bible……………..11

Scripture Count………………….12-13

A Mother Who Tells Stories (Alice Gunther)……..14-15

Hidden Corners……..16

The Gift of the Irish……………………17

March Calendar……………..18-19

Prayer Page…………………20

Planner Pages for March………..21-36

March Page……………….37

Daydreams and Doodles…………………38

March Recipe/Menu Pages…………………39-42

Lent Offerings………………..43

March Daybooks…………………44-47

I Took a Walk in March…………………..48

Nature Sketch……………….49

Prayerful Pondering……………….50

April Calendar………………….51-52

Prayer Page………….53

Planner Pages for April……………………….54-68

April Page………....69-70

Daydreams & Doodles……………………..71

April Recipe/Menu Pages……………………..72-74

Resurrection Joy…………………….75

April Daybooks…………………….76-79

I Took a Walk in April…………………….80

Nature Sketch…………………….81

Prayerful Pondering………………..82-83

May Calendar…………………..84-85

Planner Pages for May………………………..86-101

Nature Scavenger Hunt………………..102

May Page………………..103

Daydreams & Doodles……………….104

May Recipe/Menu Pages………………105-106

Memory Page ……………………..107

May Daybooks…………………………108-111

I Took a Walk in May……………..112

Nature Sketch…………………113

Prayerful Pondering……………………114

Gardening Our Soul………………………..115-118

We Walk with Christ Devotional……………….119-133

Easter Thoughts……………….134

Gardening Experience…………………..135

Irish Treasures Booklist ………………..136

Home Cabinet…………………….137

Be Aware……………………138-140

15-Minute Classroom Notes………………..141-142

Seasonal Reading Log ………………..143

Poetry Pause…………………………...……144-145

Book Pause………………..146

10-Day Personal Challenge……………………..147-150

Spring Cleaning………………………………..151

Extra Journaling………………………….152-155

Summer Planning……………….153

Spring’s Story……………………….155

Our Mission………….156-158

Features………………………159-162

Credits………………………..163-164



Why I've Never Fought for Rights


If you don't have time to read...or don't care to read...the ramblings of a stay-at-home/work-at-home wife and mother in the backwoods of Louisiana then I'll cut straight to the point.

I haven't "fought" for my rights because I was too busy "working" for them.

For those who are sitting in waiting rooms or bus lines or whose Monday has soured already on their newsfeed, here's my story.

When I was of childbearing years, I married a man who not only shared my values and loved me but one who committed his life to me and my children. And he put a ring on it.

For the past thirty years he's gotten up every single morning to go to work. He has worked two jobs. Then comes home to help with the kids and the house and the yard. Thirty years later, he's still doing it. I've already written about him (and that embarrasses him) so I'll just leave you with this: An Ode to My Husband

Like me, there were things he had to let slide or didn't do well. The demands (especially with what society considers a large family) are great and time is short. We couldn't do it all, or even that well, but we never gave up on each other or our family. And we did not seek true happiness outside of our family.

This might seem simple-minded and of a provincial mindset but truly it's more far-reaching than that.

We didn't demand the government to support us. We didn't get mad at the government when we didn't get what our neighbors had. We didn't fight anybody. We didn't throw bottles and rock. We didn't curse the police.

What did we do?

We got up and we showed up. We showed up to work. We showed up to table. We showed up to family get-togethers. We showed up to our kids' school events and outside activities.



And we worked. I mean, praying only gets you so far. You've been given the ability to work. God wants to see what you'll do with it. I worked through our  first four pregnancies in order to have maternity insurance and, when I was able stay home while pregnant with the last one, I had an insurance clerk at the hospital (while seeing that I was a stay-at-home mom without knowing my full story) have the gumption to say, "Must be nice."

I didn't reply at the time. I didn't know how to answer because...only a few years before...I was in her shoes, sitting behind that desk, worried about money and if I'd have a job to have and provide for the babies I desired to have.



Life!?! Nice!?!

Yes, sometimes life is very nice. But not always. Don't ever fool yourself into thinking someone else's life is better or easier than your own.

She didn't know about my vehicle breaking down when I was nine months pregnant and needing a new transmission. She didn't see me cry right there in the office, swollen belly and swollen face. She didn't know about our parents both offering to loan us the money and how arrogantly stoic we were determined to pay our own way through life without their help. She didn't know how my husband upped his salesman skill and got us that $500 commission check in order to pay for that transmission (this was in 1987). But, at that time, our parents extended us help when the government wasn't there.

She didn't know about the plight of my car stalling on me or not starting in the icy cold mornings when I had to get to work with an eight month old baby and me sitting behind the wheel crying while the baby screamed in the backseat (no cell phones in those days).

There was even the time, one week into our marriage when the old burgundy Chrysler my brother-in-law fixed up for us so we'd have a second vehicle broke down on us in the backwoods of northern Louisiana. I sat in an old gas station/bar/burger joint in the middle-of-no-wheres as my new husband (who had just absent-mindedly introduced me by my maiden name) worked with the owner of the joint trying to get it to work. But that was before kids... ;-)  That bar owner extended his help when the government wasn't there.

She didn't know that when I was newly pregnant with our second baby (our totally unplanned pregnancy) that I had severe bleeding and was out of work for a week, not knowing if the baby would keep, not knowing if I'd be able to go back to work or be stuck on bedrest for the remainder and not be able to work for that maternity insurance I was working to pay for. She didn't know about the time I was called in to a finance committee at work, eight months pregnant with that same child, and having to go that whole week not knowing if I'd have a job at the end of the week or not. How did that that pregnancy turn out? I wrote about that too and, in a few years, our family might have our very own Nurse Practitioner (God willing): I Know a Nurse Like This


She didn't know about the hold-your-breath lifestyle we lived being open to God's plan and welcoming each child we were given...me working part-time and in-house jobs in order to have extra and my husband putting in large amounts of overtime just to feed and educate those children. She didn't see the six times we've had to listen to people think how naive and stupid we were for getting pregnant...again...despite the fact we cared, raised, loved and tended to these little people without government assistance that was meant for those who truly needed it. 

She didn't see the miscarriage of our third pregnancy.

She didn't know about my scare during my fourth pregnancy of being told I measured too small for the gestational period and might need to go to Baton Rouge to a prenatal specialists if the baby was not growing properly. Three weeks later and more measuring and more ultrasounds, my ob-gyn was satisfied enough to just continue watching the slow growth and see what happened. That baby came four days early and weighed 9 lbs 11 oz.

Then there was the fifth pregnancy where my oldest daughter's teacher (and much of her class) came down with Fifth Disease. So did our young son. I knew from talk with another mother that there were risks to my unborn baby.

"In a relatively small percentage of cases, parvovirus infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal anemia, and sometimes inflammation of the baby's heart."  http://www.babycenter.com/0_fifth-disease-parvovirus-b19-during-pregnancy_1463060.bc

I was not aware how incredibly small the risks were; only that I'd been exposed to them. And, something I don't see listed anymore but was told could happen was that if the virus was transferred to the baby, she could be born with the birth defect known as a "waterhead" baby. That scared me more than anything. The whole illness in our family and school and the scare that insured all came to nothing but it sure raised the stress-level of that pregnancy.

Then there was the time...probably the most stressful year of my life...when I was eight months postpartum, working, homeschooling, tending to four little ones, and running around clueless; that I hit rock bottom and fell into a deep dark hole. I was physically knocked down with a broken ankle and left to heal on the sofa with an eight month old baby prowling the floor and three older ones involved in All-State baseball tournaments and VBS. Help came in the form of morning phone calls from my mother reminding me to smile and laugh daily, a good friend who physically cleaned my house and took me to the doctor, and grandpas who came daily to pick-up the older kids up and bring them to where they needed to be.

The clerk didn't see the old ranch home we live in today, a place we've held onto because we didn't want to be saddled with a mortgage in our ancient years. It's not new or fancy but it's paid for and that, in and of itself, is a freedom...a freedom we earned. We did not build up more debt expecting anyone or the government to pay it off.

That girl behind the desk also didn't see the year of caring for a parent sick with Alzheimer's while caring for five little people in the same home...the year that stretched our marriage further than we wanted to stretch. The year I realized (after 20 years) that when you marry, you do indeed marry the family. I've written about that too: Pro-life Isn't Always Pretty

Brokenness, you see, isn't about loss; it's about allowing others to rebuild us into another version of ourselves.

That girl doesn't see that our pre-retirement years aren't for sailing on cruise ships and traveling the world but, instead, we're still taxing teens around, still schooling, making ourselves open to help with the newer generation.
If I truly wished to make a statement I'd do something else instead of just writing my story on my page. Personal stories are pretty boring afterall. And people really don't care for martyrs anyway. And I am not a martyr. I rather like my quiet boring life in this old ranch house.



We simply welcomed these children, believing that they would bless us in our old age and that they would become productive citizens and hardworking men and woman of God. And we never looked at it being anyone else's job to raise them. We asked for them. We had them. We raised them.

If someone watched them while I worked, we paid them. We never filed for government assistance or food stamps. We stood in checkout lines watching food stamps recipients get foods that was too expensive for our weekly budget to afford. And we listened to our children wonder why we bought the store-brand pizza when so-and-so got Digiorno pizza. We worked to buy diapers. We worked to pay off our house. We used tax money to catch up on bills. My husband sold two boats he dearly wanted because fees and his children's happiness meant more to him.

We were never rich; we just didn't quit working. We never had it all, but who does?

Instead of fighting and arguing and whining and complaining, we worked. We worked so that we would not become a slave to someone else. We worked so that we would become a master of our own future. We worked so that we would not have to be enslaved by the whims and decisions of the government. We worked so that we could respect ourselves. We worked so that our children would respect us. We worked so that they would always have a place to call home. We worked in order to sympathize with our fellow human beings and take nothing for granted. We worked so that our parents would be proud of us.

My point is there is no need to fight life. Life might be a ba-tie (fight/battle) as my old Cajun French mawmaw would say, but there's no reason to fight the world that is battling their own ba-tie. We all have work to do and, if we were actually doing it, we'd be serving others instead of condemning them.

Appreciate the little things...notice how the little things are large moments of gratitude for us...that were done as and when they could be done. No one can do all, but most the time we can do something.


Do you look for the small things? Are you grateful for them?

Expect nothing but be grateful for all and count it all Grace! 

And that's when we go to church. Something hidden and still.



We went. every. single. Sunday. And expected our children to do the same.

This isn't some heroic essay. Please, bare with me. Remember, I am no martyr. I also don't want it to be a moan and groan piece with people saying Nobody told you that you had to live that life! It also isn't a suffrage post tooting what a hard life we've had and how we stayed the course to victory.

There is no victory; there's a just a older ranch house where too sinners live with too many kids and too many dogs. The only victory here lies in the crucifix that hangs upon our wall.

We always believed that there was something greater than ourselves to give worship, thanks and praise to and that one hour a week was something the Faith of Our Fathers had been doing for centuries and centuries before we were a piece of dust in the universe. Just because we were born in the 21st century didn't give us an excuse to stop.

And we thanked God for all our blessings, all our hurts, all our decisions, all our anguishes, all our losses, and all our gifts.

That's when we prayed. After the work, we laid it down at the feet of Christ and we prayed. And that gave meaning to the new morning when we had to get up and show up and go back to work.

In giving it all, God blessed it.

* * * * *

* I often think of that young girl working behind that hospital desk and I hope she found the same contentedness and peace that I have found. The first step though is not looking for Oz any further than your own back door.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Winter Pause: Preorder Now


Pausing



One of the primary goals for The Seasonal Book of Days is to help us pause in our day and embrace special moments and memories found in each season.

Doing it each and every day of our lives can be a bit overwhelming. Agree?

I don’t know about you, but I often have blank days in planner sections that don’t get touched beyond the inevitable school and sports schedules of my children.


Life has no pause button.


Even though incredibly difficult, when we recognize a pause here and there, cherish a moment, and savor a memory within each season, we find our lives are more rewarding and discover a taste of heaven that might otherwise have passed unnoticed.

Once we learn the skills for finding those moments, our lives are more deeply satisfying. That’s what this little Book of Days wants to help you find and embrace.


A pause here. A moment there. A memory savored. A moment remembered. These are called heart pauses.

If the Seasonal Book of Days does not allow you that pause, then I have not done my job well.



Preorders are now being taken for the Winter Seasonal Book of Days (this is last year's cover...this year's is slightly different) which walks you through the three winter months: December, January and February.

There are three (3) options available:

(1) purchase a year's worth to be delivered 4x seasonally to your doorstep (this is a savings of $10.00)



(2) purchase the
full calendar/planner version with all the daybook extras and all the calendar pages.




(3) purchase only the
book of days version
which is everything found in the planner version  (see option 2) minus the calendar pages. (#3 is perfect for those who already have a favorite planner they love and use.)


Table of Contents

A Winter Beehive List………………..7

Welcome……………….. 9

Retreat Time………………..11

Toward Holy Rhythm (Elizabeth Foss)……….14

Life if Liturgy…………………………….17

Seasonal Virtue---Charity………………..18

December @ A Glance……………………21

December Calendar………………..20-39

Hanukkah Booklist………………..40

Christmas Plans ………………..41-46

Christmas Meal Planning ………………..47-50

Sweet Shoppe…………………………….....48

Christmas Shopping List…………..…………….49

December Recipe Box…………………………50

December Daybook…………………………51-54

December Extras……………………..55-58

January @ A Glance………………………………….60

January Calendar ………………..59-78

Snowflake Booklist…………………………………78

January Meal  Plan……………………………79

January Recipe Box……………………………80

January Daybook…………………………81-84

January Extras……………………..85-88

February @ A Glance………………………………90

February Calendar……………………………………89-105

Valentine/Jack Frost Booklist…………………..106

The Frost Poem…………………………..107-108

February Meal Plan………………….109

February Recipe Box…………………………………..110

February Daybook…………………….111-114

February Extras………………………….115-118

Winter Booklist ………………..119

Seasonal Reading Log ………………..120

Reflection…………………………..123-124

MawMaw’s Molasses Cookies (Kim Devers)……….125-128

Molasses Cookie Recipe……………………………..129

Mulligan Stew Recipe……………………………..130

Extra Journal Pages……………..131-134

15-Minute Classroom Notes…………………….135-136

Book Pause……………………………….137-138

Poetry Pause…………………………...……139

10-Day Personal Challenge……………………..140-143

Hidden Corners………………..144-145

Winter House/Yard Lists………………………………..146

Honey-Do List…………………………147

Things to Focus On…………………………148

Open Your Bible Study (Jenny Coleen)……..149-150

Scripture Count……………………151-152

Journaling………………………….153-156

Notes………………………..157-160

Winter’s Story……………………….161

Winter’s Letter to Myself………………………162

Credits……………………….167


{Just for the sake of cuteness overload ;-) }

Saturday, July 23, 2016

PreOrder Autumn Book of Days Today!


Preorders for the Autumn Seasonal Book of Days are now open @ our

ETSY SHOP: CAJUN COTTAGE PRESS

To see what's new click here: What's New

To see what's inside the new issue click here: Table of Contents

DON'T JUST PLAN YOUR LIFE. Live it!













What's New in Autumn Book of Days

WHAT'S NEW FOR AUTUMN?

Pre-Order starts tomorrow....

So what's new in Autumn?

We have a new column in our Seasonal Book of Days.
Jenny Coleen is contributing an Open Your Bible column...because those Bibles can be as difficult to open as our planners sometimes. Right?
***
Someone asked for a Table of Contents. Guess what!?! Ta-dah!!!
:-) 
See it here: Autumn Table of Contents
***
An Autumn Bucket List...just because...everyone needs a bucket list. ;-)

***
Retreat Time---offered in autumn to help us all open this little books of days and make it something we actually use to fill our tanks (and souls) up. You'll want to go and use this first thing when it comes in the mail.
Order here! 
***
I have grouped the Daybooks/Prayerful Pondering/Nature Observations/Menu Blackboards/Recipes into a section of the planner rather than behind each month's calendar, that way you can use them at will and not feel as though the month ended and you still have pages left bare.
***
Autumn's Story...you know have a page to write a summary of what happened in each season.
***
5 droplets of water are offered for each day (versus the original 8) because of my own feelings of defeat. Let's commit to drinking more water, but be kind to our own commitments. We're only in competition with ourselves, not others.
***
Daily Main Meal listing...because, again, I was lax in my entries with this as well. If there is a demand for three main meals I will change it back next season. Maybe it's just me but, for the Season of Summer, I'm just not in my kitchen much. What about you?
***
All essays, seasonal meditation, the home cabinet, and extra journaling pages relevant to the season are located in the back of the Seasonal Book of Days to separate them from the "planner" section.
***
Meal Planning Blackboards are changed a little. Hope they are more user-friendly.
***
Watch for "The Happiness Project" book pause @ our seasonal communal page launching in September!

***
Our autumn planner is a bit smaller (5.83 x 8.26) than the 6 x 9 it has been. We want to hear back from you about the new size.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Autumn Book of Days is @ the Printers!

Autumn Book of Days is @ the printers. What's inside of it? See below and remember that Pre-Ordering is coming this weekend to our Cajun Cottage Press Etsy Shop.

Pre-Orders means you get your Autumn Book of Days at a lower cost and guarantees you will receive it before the autumn season begins.

An Autumn Bucket List………………..6
Welcome……………….. 8
Seasonal Virtue---Justice………………..10
...
Retreat Time………………..13
Autumn Plans………………..16
SEPTEMBER Calendar………………..17-38
Apple Booklist………………..34
Back to School Supply List ………………..35
OCTOBER Calendar ………………..39-59
Pumpkin Booklist ………………..56
NOVEMBER Calendar ………………..60-80
Thanksgiving Booklist ………………..77
Autumn Booklist ………………..81
Reading Log ………………..82
Election Reflection ………………..85
Election Prayer for our Country ………………..87
Daybooks ………………..88-99
Nature Observation ………………..100-102
Prayerful Pondering Sheets ………………..103-105
Menu Planning Blackboards ……………….. 106-111
Recipes ………………..112-117
Home Cabinet ………………..120
15-Minute Classroom ……………….. 121
Book Pause/Poetry Pause ………………..123-124
Essay---On Seasons & Sufferings by
Emily Stimpson Chapman………………..125-128
10-Day Challenge ………………..129-132
Hidden Corners ………………..133
Autumn Yard/House List ………………..135
Things to do Next Season ………………..137
Advent Planning ………………..138-139
Open Your Bible by
Jenny Coleen………………..140-141
Scripture ………………..142-143
Winter Planning ………………..145
Journaling Pages ………………..146-148
Beehive Features ………………..148-152
Autumn’s Story………………..153
A Letter to Autumn………………..154

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Winners of the Autumn Book of Days

Thank you for all your entries and comments in the recent Summer Giveaway. There were so many who posted both on social media and here at the blog and I'm grateful for your enthusiasm.

These lucky ladies are the winners of the up-coming Autumn Book of Days which will be ready for pre-order at Cajun Cottage Press the week of July 24-31st.

Winner #1: Create a Meme---No Entries = No Winners
{If anyone wants to try their hand at a Meme and email it to me @
caygibson at gmail DOT com
I might have an extra planner available ;-) First one to email a Meme wins. ;-)}
{Up-dated to add that Angie Wolfe created a Meme and won a copy of the Autumn Book of Days}

Winner #2: Become Community----Colleen Rein @ Stamping Away
(who I got to meet for real @ the recent ARCH Conference)
is the winner for graciously sharing and tagging friends about the Autumn Seasonal on social media.

Winner #3: Proud to Be an American---Rosalie Loya who is a faithful blog reader (for which I'm grateful) and wrote...
"I am proud to be an American because of the freedom to be who I want to be."

Winner #4: It's My Birthday! It's My Birthday! ---Mary Dougay
a real life friend of mine whose birthday we celebrate on October 13th!
Happy Birthday, Mary!

Congratulations and, again, thank you to everyone for sharing and commenting and entering this Summer Giveaway for the upcoming Autumn Seasonal. I cannot WAIT to share it with all of you!
Summer is happening fast so enjoy the remainder and get ready for fall. 

Please graciously share our posts about this little book of days with your all your family and friends, especially the Reviews . 

Happy Planning!



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