Monday, August 17, 2015

Sample Pages: Seasonal Beehive Planner/Journal

Coming soon...
A Video walk-through of the Seasonal Beehive.
In the meantime, for those of you who have asked, here is a rough sampling of the pages.

More information found here:

* * * * *

The Seasonal Beehive is not a's more.

It's a organizer...a journal...a plotter...a menu chart...a meditative accountability coach...a tutorial...a drawing board...a reflection...a blend of mindful intention.

Here is just a small gathering of the pages offered.
There's so much more to come.

{Size: Digest Form}

Intentional Points for the Month
Monthly Prayer Page
Monthly Gratitude Chart
A Monthly Nature Prompt...Page Taken from
Charlotte Mason's Direction of going outside every day and being Intentional...
10 Day Challenge (can be copied to adhere to a 20 or 30 Day Challenge)

Little Bullet Point Jottings Offered for the Month

Extra Journaling Pages

Each Beehive is sectioned into seasons and offers 3 months of observation.

Only three:
  • Winter: December, January-February
  • Spring: March-April-May
  • Summer: June-July-August
  • Autumn: September-October-November
Every season begins anew. A new start. A new setting. A new day. A new page. New fruit.

Here's a couple more samples for you to try:

Winter Issue will have Christmas pages.

And, of course, some thoughtful pages to give your mind a place to pencil and ink those intentions and financial and accountable goals into one place.
Daybook pages for each month...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Three Months to Observe Your Life

The Seasonal Beehive is not a's more.

It's a organizer...a journal...a plotter...a menu chart...a meditative accountability coach...a tutorial...a drawing board...a reflection...a blend of mindful intention.

And it's provided to you on good old-fashion, well-intentioned paper.

Because part of its intent is to take you away from your online presence, away from your social media cues, away from the demanding world of the Internet, and back to the real world of sensory reality.

Most of us lead lives of busy activity, so it benefits us to be collective and observant about what we are doing with our they are they are they are broken...and how they are attached to other activities.

Our lives are truly hexagons of activity filled with numerous activities and demands and choices. That's a given so it's proactive to meet our lives right where they are. As such, the Seasonal Beehive is a hexagon assortment of pages and charts and lists and prompts that can fit inside your purse or your larger-than-life planner. You jot in it throughout the day with intent and meaning. And you don't get distracted by links or the words of too many opinions and choices. Rather, you ponder on your own words with a little mentoring from quotes, Scripture, and only a handful of guided essays.

Each season focuses on a mindful theme for you (Winter Issue is on Gratitude) and a fun theme for families to share (Winter Issue is Snow). And each season offers fresh pages to guide you and help center those hexagons in your life so that by year's end you have an idea of which hexagons bare the richest honey, which ones need to be cleaned out, and which ones need to be restructured or permanently closed.

Each Beehive is sectioned into seasons and offers 3 months of observation.

Only three:
  • Winter: December, January-February
  • Spring: March-April-May
  • Summer: June-July-August
  • Autumn: September-October-November
Every season begins anew. A new start. A new setting. A new day. A new page. New fruit.
  • Themed Essay each Season
  • Intentional Calendar Chart
  • Month-at-a-Glance
  • Heart Bullet Points
  • Simple Daybooks for each month
  • I Took a Walk Today Meditative Guide
  • Seasonal Checklists
  • Hidden tokens that guide us towards gratitude
  • Seasonal doses of prayerful pondering
  • Reflective Poetry
  • Commonplace Page for Information
  • Home Cabinet for notes on oils and medicines
  • Garden Bench
  • The 15-Minute Classroom
  • Gratitude Charts
  • Prayer Guide and Charts
  • Meal Planning
  • Capture your Thoughts
  • To-Do Lists
  • Book Pause with Commentary
  • Nature Sketch Page
  • 10-Day Challenge
  • Seasonal Mosaic Themed Booklist for Children (with recipe)
  • Planning, Organizing, Journaling Pages
  • More Journaling Pages
Go here to read more about the upcoming Seasonal Beehive Planner

Ordering information will be available soon.
[Artwork created by Anna Cantrell]
Seasonal and Simple: these are the key words to this planner.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

More About the Upcoming Seasonal Planner

What if...? 

Life is full of relevant What If... questions, isn't it?

What if you could start with a fresh planner every season? What if you could combine your planner and bullet journal into one, complete with prompts for both? What if it wasn't on your phone but small enough to slip inside your purse? What if every season promised a fresh start? 

Would you be interested?

Why the Name?
Every year I escape to a retreat house that is situated under old Acadian oak trees and nestled on a long sloping ridge in the heart of Louisiana’s heritage and culture and life of faith. The bishop in that area at the time of dedication said it was his desire that, “the laity will make the retreat house a beehive of spiritual activity.”

And isn’t that what our life should be, especially when it is one we walk in faith? It should not be this crazy, senseless, mindless loss of time but, rather, a creative, intentional splurge of nectar and splash of honey on everything we do with our lives.

If our lives are a “beehive of spiritual activity" we are doing good works indeed, and our lives will be blessed.


Why a Seasonal Beehive Planner?
I’m not a structured planner. Boxes cripple me. I never imagined I had a perfectionist bee in my bonnet but, perhaps, I have one...or two. :-)   Honeycombs, however, are hexagon in shape and the creature is allowed to fly away and search for new fields and greener pastures and sweeter nectar.

The seasonal aspect frames life well, I think, and it is my hope that it will frame your life simply and with purpose. Here in the beehive we focus more on the purpose, process, and produce than on the mindless work ahead of us.

What are we doing? Why are we doing it? What have we accomplished? What has blessed us? What has inspired us? Where is the richest nectar? How can I pollinate (share) this with others?

This is a better way to keep track of our life than a checklist of dull days being clicked away.  I mentioned here that "Pre-planning that got scratched and canceled as soon as it was inked onto my calendar drove me crazy and left me feeling defeated. Writing schedules, five children with various activities, and a part-time job made me realize the need for order and accountability…of some sort."
I had to stop and question myself. Was I meant to go through life feeling defeated and inferior? Burdened and always busy?
That was when I realized that...Yes, I needed to keep track of my life's happenings and...Yes, the calendar was my tool, one to be inked on and erased on and scratched on and lived on! It was not the end result but rather the means to the end. Look at an athlete's shoes and gym bag and head band. Those are his tools and they're dirty and worn and frayed by the end. But they serve a valuable purpose. A calendar, a planner is the same way. By the year's end it is filthy and worn and frayed. But it has served a balanced valuable purpose and it is rich in hidden meanings and wise messages that we forget along the way.
I'm a seasonal person. I like fresh pages and fresh starts. Time flies fast. It stops for no one.  I embrace the seasons of the year with high hopes and huge plans. And I bask in setting the stage within my home for them. As a Catholic, even our Church year is set and written and heralded in a kaleidoscope of seasons that speaks loud and clear through the smells and bells and images which surround us as temples of the Holy Spirit.
Seasons are made to be lived out and remembered. Only if, as one Holocaust descendant shared, we do not remember for the sake of remembrance but, rather, we remember in order to create a better existence.

The Seasonal Beehive allows you to begin each season of the year with a fresh, unblemished page. The planner has a calendar-at-a-glance and bullet journal with prompts to start living your plans. The Seasonal Beehive isn’t a phone device but it is small enough to slip inside your purse. There are menu guides, holiday charts, prayerful pondering pages, a daybook chart, an enticement for physical activity, a seasonal booklist for children and book review for mom, an inspirational page to doodle major events on, and some seasonal essays and motivational taste-testing.
Every season begins anew.
This planner is all about giving you the freedom, yet the structure, you need to explore the year with flight and fancy...and a honeycomb of order.

There are plans to create a yearly boxed package of these little missives that will serve as a journaling keepsake and allow you to preserve your thoughts and ideas and words in an attractive way for years of reference or future generations to remember you by.
Which brings us back to life's relevant question...
What if you could pencil your life's story and preserve it?


FIRST PART: Seasonal Beehive


 Do not remember for the sake of remembrance but, rather, remember in order to create a better existence.




Coming in Time for the Winter Season

An Introduction…

I’ve always loved the idea of planning but was never a good planner. Formal planners baffled me and expensive, elaborate planners sat in my closet unused. Pre-planning that got scratched and canceled as soon as it was inked onto my calendar drove me crazy and left me feeling defeated. Writing schedules, five children with various activities, and a part-time job made me realize the need for order and accountability…of some sort.
A month-at-a-glance and a good mini-notebook for all my scribblings was all I needed to feel a renewed sense of control. That’s when I was introduced to the new-fangled bullet journals that were, in theory, a mini-notebook one carried to hold all their scribblings and to catch their random brain dumps. Inspired by grand ideals, creative projects, and beautiful photographs on social media, I was motivated to create my own version of something inspiring, creative, beautiful, and simple. So very simple. Something of worth. Something that breathed and was as fluent and flex as my inner self is. Something that was not boxed within margins but flowed with instinct and impulsive vigor. Something that was as vintagely simple as writing on paper. Something that renewed itself with the waxing and waning of each new season.

Seasonal and Simple: those are the key words to this planner.
While the rest of the world retreats to their digital smart phone calendars and scheduling apps, the whole list-making, calendar, pencil to paper theory speaks to me…and inspired The Seasonal Beehive Planner which I hope to make available in time for the winter solstice and all the festivities that create the months of December, January, and February.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Drinking the Summer Nectar and Schedule

Are you ready?

For July, I mean? And summer?

I don't know about you but my summer has just begun. June was hectic and the girls and I were still on a set schedule of work and dance. July offers a little reprieve. I plan to suck the nectar straight out of this hot, sticky, summer month.

I'm back home from a week at the beach followed by a weekend holiday by the lake. This month we have no schedule and I hope to keep it that way.

And I'm fixing to head to bed but first I thought I'd scramble my "back to reality" plans here in my little note-place on the web. I usually jot them in a bullet journal kept in my purse.

Coming back to reality makes me want to tidy up the pieces and organize my life a little.

Even if for a day. And tomorrow isn't even Monday. :-)

The things high on my list are...

Family Tasks:
  • Order new contact lens for the girls
  • Schedule apt for Annie's braces
  • Take traditional ice cream walk over crosswalk
Church Work:
  • Complete Safe Environment for Diocese (would have done it tonight but forgot my PW)
  • Order new books for catechism program
  • Work on youth ministry flyer
  • Record sacramental info in church records
  • Finish high school lesson plans
  • Work on Pre-K and K lesson plans
  • Meet with engaged couple
  • Most of it's a self-imposed secret ;-), but I need to wrap up the first part of it if it's to be ready in time for winter reveal
  • Need to get something up on Louisiana Passport---I'm a terrible travel agent. ;-)
Tasks Done:
  • Finished description of my Composition Class for 2015-16 co-op year
  • Laundry
  • Unpacked
  • Paid bills (Yay!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Kind of House I Belong In

I've never known exactly the kind of home I belong in.

 I decided a long time ago it was wherever my husband and children were.

I also admit I sometimes regret passing up the offer of my childhood home but at the time I wasn't looking for a large rambling two-story house. I only wanted a cottage.

Then my husband and I had five babies. And life grew. And now I toy with the idea of a large covered area outside so we can fit the extended family in when we get together for a Saturday night gumbo or Sunday meal or holiday and birthday celebrations.

Instead I have ended up in my husband's childhood home (ironic much?) and he added on a very nice covered patio attached to the living area which extends us and allows romping room for the boys.

Then this pops up: Danbury Home of Laura Ingalls' Wilder's Daughter

And as the slideshow and legacy unfolds, I realize it's pretty much me.

The house has the charm of the past, is spaciously spread, old but not new and new but not old, and its vintage character has enough knicks and bumps to forgive a houseful of children who knick and bump it.
It's the character I love the most. It isn't square and plain. It's rambling and crazy and winding and all over the place; kind of like my thought process.

There's an adventure around every corner and enough sunlit rooms to dispel shadowy days and enough shadowy nooks to blanket you in rainy day bliss.

Such a beautiful sunroom. I've always wanted a sunroom. And I have a slab on the back of my house where I could see doors like this opening onto such but my husband doesn't see the vision. Where I see a beautiful open room (complete with a/c for these hot Louisiana summers) for writing while the children play, he sees wasted space.

This is exactly what my husband will explain to visitors as my "wasted space" room. But I was so excited when I got it. And it's always promised much more than I could deliver. It's the tactical skills I lack.

I never thought of myself as a visionary but I guess I am one.

{I really do appreciate the mechanical people in my life who have to deal with us visionaries taking up their time and space. But without visionaries, think of all the *wasted* space there would be. Think of all the gaps. ;-) It took me as much time to appreciate them as it took for them to appreciate me, I'm sure of it. Together, we make a beautiful balance.}

Then there are those peaceful window seats. Not worthy of magazine status but open to laps and good books and daydreams and children with toys and lazy cats and playful dogs. And video games, no doubt. And Ipads and all those things my grandchildren will know about that I won't. But the atmosphere...not to mention that huge plated window and household smells...add a lot to whatever lies in our laps.

It's not always what's directly in front of us that matters, but the things that lie around us.

And nooks and bookshelves built into walls. Gobs and oodles of 'em.

There's those swinging saloon doors I've always wanted between my kitchen and sitting room. I even "envision" my three grandsons, gun holsters on their side and cowboy hats atop their heads, running through those doors and glorying in the swinging motion until the inevitable collision occurs.

This house has brick walls I simply love.

I even had my husband keep the brick wall uncovered when we redid a small carpot into a "keeping" room, simply because I couldn't bear to cover it. We let Annie paint it though.

And there are openings in the wall for kids to climb through and peer through. I have three little boys who visit my home under the oaks. Please indulge me in my visionary state. ;-)

And this brick step that trips me back to a half-moon brick step in the house I grew up in.

All the old wood.

And old oak beams that have told countless stories to spiders and flies. And old wood floors...wide with memories...that pound loud the hammering run of children's footsteps. No need to apologize for the dents and scuffs. This house embraces it all. Welcomes it even.


And a butler pantry with a coffee station off the kitchen. Can I sign the check right now?

And bedrooms with doors leading straight outside...because I like the idea of awakening to fresh air and coffee in the morning.

And rooms that curve off rooms and don't go anywhere and then meets home again.

And empty rooms with seamless possibilities. The people in my life will never understand that some people need a built in library because our brains can't hold and our pocketbooks can't afford all the things we wish to learn and all the places we want to explore and all the information we wish to gather.

A library is a cheap investment to a lifestyle we are limited in living.

And a kitchen that's almost like mine...only there's a beloved, lasting brick floor instead of linoleum and it's a bit more encompassing for cooking when there's multiple cooks in the kitchen and we keep bumping into one another. #happensallthetime

And the yard and patio. Need I say more?

The added bonus...and the reason I even took an interest in a house that's so far across the country from my little cottage in the that it belonged to the mute writer who helped her mother pen the books that taught me all I needed to know about home and relationships.

This is an author's house. It speaks to me in a private conversation that only visionaries can appreciate.

The house is not new. By far. But that endears it to me even more. I appreciate a house that allows the breeze from the windows to dust the furniture and natural light to enhance the room. I'm not much for housework but I fancy myself to be. My main form of housework is to tidy-up. A good tidy-up is always a good thing. I've gathered a routine of tidying at night after everyone else has gone to bed and the little boys have gone home. I have a live-in laundry maid (in training, let's say) and a dishwasher who needs training in diligence. Still, it makes me feel better to say I have one though sometimes it's easier to just do the work then to track down and reprimand the hired help. ;-) Tidying-up is what keeps my sanity in check.

A house like this (built in 1879) has had so many years of dust and grim that it's coated in humble, well-intentioned acceptance of the past, present, and future. I love that.

It lives. It breathes. Even more so, it embraces life.

I'm sold.

If it wasn't a handful of states away...and costs double what it would cost down in the grassy swamps of Louisiana. :-(

* * * *
Least anyone think I'm ungrateful for the house I have, I want to say I'm totally not.
I'm a writer and writers put into words their visions. We're a quiet sort of way. We aren't vocal but people have all kinds of things to say about us when they read our thoughts...because many people don't ever voice their thoughts the way a writer does. We're a little more exposed...and people wonder why we hide.
I am at a place in my life...literally and figuratively...where I appreciate what I have and what I don't have. I jokingly tell my family I ended up with a black van and a black dog and I never wanted either: the black van due to the heat element or a black dog because I had a black poodle for 16 years. I've ended up with both.
I told my husband that I have never gotten exactly what I wanted in life but I have always had more than I ever needed.
This post isn't about being ungrateful. This sharing is only a walk down a visionary road. You're welcome to join me but, please, never assume I'm ungrateful.
I'm hoping to coin another post about what I'm reading...and thoroughly enjoying and how this visionary walk makes our lives happier and more content if we only enjoy the decorating of life and looking at it from the many angles that one takes when rearranging the living room furniture. It's a fun walk...if we envision it to be.   +

Friday, June 5, 2015

Create One Pink Flower

It's been pretty quiet here. The quietness is in contrast to the ruckuses spinning in my head and the overflowing life within my home and family. 

I multitask like a crazy in my head.  I drive like a thoroughbred between our lake cities. And my mission field in our little home communities has prompted me to seek training in the area of spiritual direction.

I've got so much I want to do, so much I want to research, so many plans to implement, so many pieces I want to write.

The ruckus silences me.

And I've been pretty OK with that because I know that God opens all avenues when he desires us to proceed.

Still I see others continuing their projects while mission in and serving harder and wider than I judge myself too harshly. I've lost readers because of my silence.

But the world is so loud that I figure it isn't missing my little bit.

Then today God reminds me of something.
(Last two paragraphs: "A Healing Walk with St. Ignatius" by Lyn Holley Doucet)
I fight this daily...weekly...monthly. So many voices out there. They silence me. Then God tells me that He was not content with "creating one pink flower; he created thousands."

I'm one of the thousands of voices out there. And I'm very small.

But I like small.

Yet I am called.

And I must respond.

It's a struggle I have with myself and it's not about me. The silence is about me and I need to break through the silence because it should never be about me. That's a sign that pride is trying to stifle the voice of God.

But the voice doesn't have to be here on this blog and it doesn't have to be every season.

I need only create one pink flower when called by God to do so and then allow God to plant it where he pleases.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Why Stay Catholic? Why Not?

The Anchoress at Patheos is asking for reasons as to why we, as Catholics, have chosen to be Catholic. Remain Catholic? Everyone likes to know the Whys?, don't we?

"Ready to share your reasons why you will remain with the church as the world increasingly bares its teeth against it?"

My reasons surely aren't anything insightful or wondersome and worthy but I'm sharing and there's worth in sharing.

My take on the question really isn't important. I know why I stay Catholic. There's no wondering as to the Why. I'm a MayMay now, past the stage of wondering who I am and my place in this world. There are so many reasons, it has become part of my DNA. There is no beginning or end. I simply AM my family has been since my first pagan ancestor (God rest his soul, whoever he was)
encountered one of the followers of Christ and was offered (and freely received) a mystery and some keys that opened doors to truth, wisdom, hope, and love in a world that offered none of these things. 

When I talk to my 83 year old dad about religion and faith and I hear and witness how he grasps a belief system of a faith that has gotten him through a lifetime of everything, I believe. I simply believe.

Because I want that kind of faith.

No, I don't wonder about myself. It's in my children that I find my sense of wonder. 

Isn't that so typical? Every parent reading this knows that sense of wonder I speak of. That sense of mystery. That sense that life continues through us and beyond us into something bigger than us. And so I wonder why my children remain Catholic and how it is that both my daughter-in-laws (her and her) and my daughter's best friend (recently) chose to become Catholic when it's neither politically correct nor popular to do so. It's the worst of times...and the best of be Catholic.

But there are the continued trips into our small church with these three little men of ours and they are drenched in an age-old ritual, the spiritual significance which their newly anointed mommas might not fully understand and one which has taken me thirty years to appreciate but...still...they've stood there at the foot of an altar with a family of believers in faith.

A mystery of faith...yes, but who doesn't love a good mystery?  God is a mystery. Do we expect anything less?

In simple humble faith, they proceed. With innocence and purity flowing from their wombs into their arms, they simply show up.

And sometimes that's half the battle. When one has toddlers and babies in a cry room perhaps it's a larger percentage than that. ;-) It's the staying power that teaches you to rest and listen.

Consistency is sometimes a smear away but they keep rebooting themselves and they keep seeking the answers to a mystery handed to them with a dangling of complex keys.

They cling to a faith that has stood rock solid for centuries. They question a faith that has answered the same questions long before they did. They commit to a faith that never sways in counseling them in their dignity as a person, a child of God and an heir to heaven and instructing them in what it means to be who God made them and their children to be.

It's the Gospel alive and flowing down the aisle of a small church in Louisiana and where countless prayers have been uttered for them...known and unknown, intentionally or not, whispered or sung, silent or spoken.

And it humbles me.

This legacy...

This rebirth...
This self-offering of faith.


Afterall, that is the question...

I like to see this new generation as the face of the Catholic in the modern world. In a world that is defiant and demands society to Prove It!, they are proving that you can be part of today's changing culture and still be Catholic, not necessarily what mass media defines as Catholic. 

My children and their children are the now-alive and present faces of Catholicism. They are not perfect and in many ways and for many reasons I'm grateful to show how imperfect we are and yet how our faith has blessed us and supported us and stood by us.

This Church is home and the doors have always been open. Christ is brother and his body receives us. Catholicism has been mother and this bride has always welcomed our victim souls into her protective and forgiving and restful sanctuary.

We are not the stereotypes the media has made us out to be but we are the people next to work and school and gatherings...and we are not bigoted, medieval entrapped, crusty, prejudiced skeletons but, rather, we are your neighbors who love through inevitable change, embrace the teachings of older wiser generations, lean on morals that benefit a greater good, prays for a future we will never see, and peel apart onion skins to get to the root of who God wants us to be. 

Because even while we all fall pitifully short...intentionally even...especially because we all fall short...we are the Universal Church.

And the Church is not only for today; it's for a lifetime.

That's Why!

As a Catholic in the modern world I refuse to allow the media to define my family. For the dog that bares it's teeth, I hope my children willing welcome him and feed him in hopes that he will one day see the true face of Catholicism. Or, perhaps, one day in the unthoughtof future, when he has no faith or no one or anything to believe in, he will remember that once in his life he saw the face of Christ in an imperfect Catholic family. And because of that memory he will no longer bare his teeth but smile into the face of God.

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