Monday, October 5, 2015

A Stillborn Prayer at 4 AM

My daughter-in-law's yorkie dog is tucked in tightly to the left of me, my morkie Poo Jazzy sleeps at my feet. My grandson dreams to the right of me.

My husband has just awaken me to the fact he's been called out early to work. I roll to the side, careful of all my sleeping babies.

{ }
It's now 4 am and I can't sleep. I've always heard God is asking you to pray for someone.

Prayers feel void.

Even at 4 in the morning, even while surrounded with life in motion, even while knowing of busy plans within the next few hours, I reach for connection with other souls.

And the Spirit (that is always awake and vigil) and social media deliver this story into my hands:

Stillbirth by Leah Lebec

"And then he died, sometime during the quiet predawn hours. No one wept as he died. No one knew the precise moment when his heart renounced the struggle, and he gave up his spirit."

And I know that I'm called to pray for a woman in labor...a woman who has just lost a child...a woman who grips her swollen belly pleading for her little one to wake up. Because that could have been me. So many years ago. Eighteen years this week. A midnight prowl, like a mama cat in labor. I walked, I laid full out on a cold tile floor, I pushed, prodded, gripped my swollen belly. Waited. By morn I felt a swift little kick that assured me everything was ok. But I know the gut-wrenching terror of a midnight prowl.

{ }
My grandson breaths heavy and rolls closer next to me.

There's a lot of people out there. A lot to pray for. A lot of suffering souls. Many lost souls. So many searching, hoping, agonizing for joy in an unhappy world, a joyless society.

"What possible joy? The realization, for me, of how strongly God loves us. Yes, loves us, all seven billion of us, teeming over the earth. I have come to understand the love... that pierced my heart as a dim reflection of God’s love for us. Such love is instantaneous, it is absolute, it has no care for how many of us there are or what we have accomplished. It has no care for how long we have been alive. Young or old, sick or well, we are lovely in His sight, worthy to His heart. The love that overwhelmed me, even for a seven-month-old stillborn baby, also deepened my understanding, comforted me, and in the end, held up for me a mirror of the divine. Our capacity to grasp the humanity, the luminous beauty, of every child who comes into being is our capacity to love as God loves—with a strength that is primal, unreasonable, and unshakable."

And I am reminded again why I believe it holy...yes, holy...not to be too harsh or too arrogantly cruel to someone who does not view life from the same affiliate guardianship as myself. Not all suffering souls have been given the same religious upbringing or guidance or experiences as me.

"The next day, we went to a church. We were vaguely wondering what we should do when the baby was born. Should we bury it? Should we baptize it? We talked to a priest. We didn’t know him and he didn’t know us. We were not rooted in any religious community then. We stumbled into his church, and demanded that he say the right words to us at a time when neither he nor we could know how heavily these decisions would weigh.

"'Don’t think of it as anything but an operation,' he said. 'Don’t bury it or baptize it. It will only increase the pain.' He’s right, I thought, even as a more cynical thought nudged its way in: an “operation”? What does this guy know about childbirth? But Alain and I decided to agree with him. We didn’t really care one way or another about burial or ritual. The fetus was dead. The sooner its body was taken care of the better."

Life? Some of us just move through it minute by minute. Not fully understanding the fullness. It doesn't mean we love less.

It's a lesson for us to quiet ourselves so as to give God the privilege of taking a breath so that He can stir a fire from the messy ashes of another's decisions so as to create something brighter and more meaningful than any words I could ever say.

Stillborn by Leah Lebec

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Full Color Seasonal Beehive Planner Now Ready to Order's the low-down, the hi-down, and the inbetween-ground ;-) on the...

 Seasonal Beehive Planner. 

My dear husband finally told me to just quit. Quit tweaking it. Quit messing with it. Quit changing it. Leave it alone. You're done.
What bystanders don't usually understand is that all that tweaking and messing and playing and changing and butt-sitting aren't only in creating the planner. They're part of the website and the order page and the go-to Facebook page and random playing with photos and the constant changing of price tags because we want so badly to make it affordable to many without pricing our creation out of existence.
I was planning a BIG launch date because they sound and look so fun. I was also keeping my eye on the calendar...wanting to make sure everyone has the Winter Issue of SBP in the palms of their hands by November in time to use it by December 1st.
The beautiful thing with this first issue of SBP is that it doesn't begin or end with this one issue. It carries on. It moves on. It lives on. It's as fluent as...honey. At least that's what I'm hoping.  ;-)
I get to move on and plan again and live on again in the next issue...and the next...and the next.

NO...WE GET TO...move on...plan again in a new season. Isn't that a positive thought to realize? to claim for your own? to breath in the possibilities?

And I get to share it with you throughout a whole year of living...hopefully living well. That's the purpose of this planner.

We BOTH get to move forward (forget the dirty, messiness of life)...we BOTH get to carry on (despite the scribbled pages and unsolved problems jotted down)...we BOTH get to plan again (ignoring crowded boxes with false promises and empty notions that didn't go as planned)...we BOTH get to move on (afterall, tomorrow is another day!)...we BOTH get to live again (because we can)...and we BOTH get to inhale the newness of seasons past, present, and future (as well as creamy fresh pages taken from life).
And I'm embracing that decision.
I'm moving on into the Spring Issue as you gather the rich ideal that began this new planner in a rather plentiful woodland forest of planners. Because I know there's many of them and I don't want to disappoint.
My intent was to create something totally different. I'm ever so thankful and grateful if you trust me enough to come inside this beehive with me and see what I've created.
Until word and samples of this new planner get out and about on the Internet, I can only promise you what I have delivered before in my educational resources: Literature Alive!, the Mosaic series, and A Picture Perfect Childhood.

You can find reviews on all my books and know that what I create and share is done with a lot of heart and joy behind it. I've created and written resources to be used and shared and written in and fancied in. They are not just books to sit on your shelf. They are resources intended to light a fire inside your soul, wrap ideas around your mind, spread meaning on your intent, and capture joy within your life.

Today I've heard a couple of women tell me "I need this." That is such music to my ears and honey to my lips. If I've create something that is not needed, not useful, not of value...well...we can all fill in that void blank. For me that creates a lonely life, a lonely existence.

I am trying my hardest to fill the world with a spirit of resourcefulness and beauty and meaning.

Seriously...I want this little journal to breath your life anew. If it is not used, written in, read throughout, pondered over, thought about, tucked inside your purse then...perhaps it is true. You don't need it.

Because of this...and because I'm forever learning on a continues to be a process of giving. What the Winter Issue lacks, I hope you'll share with me so I can see about spreading it through future issues. You might see it in the Spring or Summer or Autumn Issue.

While the Winter Issue promises many things, even now I'm realigning and planning the Spring Issue.  There will be an encouragement chart for kids (still deciding what that chart might encompass) and I'm thinking monthly dividers might be a good idea, a liturgical year bullet-point checklist, and a Hidden Life column. (You don't want to miss the column on Hidden Corners found in the Winter Issue.)

It's all a work in progress. As excited as I am about beginning a new issue, I want you to be excited about receiving the one I sent to the printer recently. The one my husband told me to quit lingering over and pondering over and toying with like a cat with a moth. Don't do that to yourself. ;-)

If you wait to see what's coming in spring, you might miss out on something you need to see, hear, or use in the issue that is sitting on my desk right now.

I know we live in a world that promises to define you and simplify your life and give your life meaning. And there's so many things telling us You Need This!

I never want my creations to come across like this.

If I could offer it freely, I would. And I did do that...for the past year...without having a single plan in mind. I shared and conversed at The Seasonal Beehive Group. That group is now open publicly for us to converse, discuss, exchange and support one another. Only one day this past summer, I realized what I intended to do and what I wanted to share through this outreach.

This little planner is about sharing a meal and reading a book. It's about counting our blessings and being intentional about our family traditions. It's about being thoughtful over our finances and encouraging during our challenges. It's about keeping track of our unheralded successes and mindful of our Scripture reading together. It's about taking time for a daybook notation (or two) and taking a walk (or two) together. It's about finding community from within our hidden corners.

And it's on paper because good old-fashion pencil to paper forms a connection between the mind that flows through the heart and creates a community of sharing.

I have to make it count.

You have to make it count.

I have to be accountable to my family for how I spend my time. You have to be accountable to yours for what you invest your time in. I'm hoping the SBP blesses both of us for the good of our families.

A full-color issue is now available at Cajun Cottage Press. I really, truly wanted to make it affordable (I changed the price at least five times) but ink products are even more costly now since the web of the Internet filters through everything and full-color doubles everything. In a very big, heartfelt way, I'd rather not offer anything but the full-color. It's what I envisioned and the color helps to define our plans and imprint the ideals on our plans better than just black and white.

Life should be colorful. Right? I'm hoping it blesses you and your loved ones and your life sweetly and richly. Keep abreast of updates and newness here: Seasonal Beehive Planner

 Order now before winter's chill takes your breath away:

~ Winter Issue ~

The Seasonal Beehive Planner

(Covers all the meal planning, traditions, and shopping of Christmas/ an Advent meditation/ complete with a section for beginning the New Year/ a column on finding our hidden corners this winter/ a shared article by the lovely Aimee Kollmansberger over @ living learning and loving simply because heaven knows we all need a dose of simple living, learning, and loving/ a fun "snow" section to enjoy with your children/ articles and quotes on "gratitude" for your heart/ and many lists and bits (some listed here: Make Your Life Count) to help you make your life intentional and meaningful)


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Please pray for the spring issue as Anna works on the new sketches and I work on the interior. It's the place where I'm able to think my best. Being able to share it with you is a blessing.

{Cover design and waterpaint by Anna Cantrell}


Friday, September 4, 2015

Make Your Life Count

This isn't a typical planner. But surely no one starts out creating just another planner.

I really don't want The Seasonal Beehive to replace anyone's favorite planner. I have various planners I use and I find myself constantly looking for one that has everything I desire and is simple enough and serves me and my family with purpose at the same time.

Though a paper planner might not spark everyone with purpose and excitement and intent the way those snazzy apps on our smart phones do---for me---the paper stills and settles me into a more intentional frame of mind. I keep returning to a paper planner because it is something that steadies me with the assurance that Someone took the time and cared enough about me to make this so that this area of my life would have meaning no matter what else is happening in my life.

{My oldest daughter at her bridal shower looking through a homemade cookbook her Oma created for her; full
of recipes passed down from a generations before her.}
I want this seasonal product to compliment your favorite planner, not make it more burdensome or awkward. I want it to be more of a keepsake, something for you to look back on years from now and see those monthly praise reports and those intentional prayer requests and remember those moments
you found yourself in nature and know how many times you turned to God and what you challenged yourself to do each season and what creative outlets you were intentional with, and what books and plans you spotlighted that season.

Even if it only happened once that season.

Life can be a blur and, if it is not intentionally observed and jotted down, we tend to stop years later and think those years were a waste. Even when they weren't.

I want you to stop and see your intent in the intervals and the pauses in those present moments. I want you to see the sanctity of each season.  I want you to know your life wasn't a waste!

Someone recently asked if this was like a working journal. That's a very good description for it is through work that we find our purpose and it is through working within a schedule that we find our focus.

I call it a planner for lack of a better term but its primary goal is to make you focus on the things that deserve your mindfulness as you pass through each of life's season.

I hesitate to use the words "intentional" and "mindful". So often they are overused. The same thing with simplicity. But that's exactly what this little working journal is grounded, steeped, and brewed in. Intentional mindfulness and simplicity.

Be intentional. Be mindful. Be observant. Live gratefully. Live simply.

Make Your Life Count!

The Winter Issue of The Seasonal Beehive is almost finished. Artwork by Anna Cantrell, a fellow Louisiana gal.

I have tweaked a few more things, added a few more pages, considered a few more suggestions.
After the rough copy arrives next week I will send off for a final copy to the printer in hopes that it will pass an objective eye in order to be made available this October. And even in the mist of this investiture, new additions are happening in the Spring Issue which is in the works.

There will be 4 options:

Size 6 x 9" Saddle-Stitch (Black on Cream)
Size 6 x 9" Saddle-Stitch (Full Color)
Size 6 x 9" Coil Bound (Black on Cream)
8 1/2 x 11" Coil Bound (Full Color)

(The planner's pages are for the Winter Months: December, January, February)

Here is a sneak preview of what is inside each planner, specifically this planner.
Certain pages stay the same. Other pages, such as the theme and fun focus and essays, will change each season.

Each Month Offers:
  • Calendar at a Glance
  • Monthly Intentional Points
  • Monthly Bullet Points to Remember
  • Monthly Daybook
  • Monthly Nature Walk w/ sketch page
  • Monthly Sheet for Prayerful Creative Doodling
  • Monthly Gratitude Praise Reports
  • Monthly Prayer Intention Sheet
Each Season Offers:
  • Themed Essay (Winter's is on Gratitude)
  • Fun Focus (Winter's is on Snow)
  • Recipe, Craft and Booklist for Kids (Winter's is Snow-themed)
  • Meal Planning Chart for Christmas
  • Intentional Essays
  • 10- Day Challenge Chart
  • A holiday or seasonal poem
  • Holiday Spotlight Planning Pages
  • Your own Book Pause for reflective journaling
  • Journaling-Organizing-Planning Worksheets
  • Home Cabinet Caring-for-your-Family Page
  • The 15-Minute Class Room Break
  • Scripture Count (A page to help you read your Bible)
  • A Devotional each Season
Here are a few sample pages: Seasonal Planner

Be intentional and share this with a friend.
Let them know that they count in your life.
Tell you what...share and tag five friends with the hashtag #seasonalbeehive and make sure you let me know and your name will be put in a drawing for a FREE Spring Issue!
Email me @:
cajuncottagepress at yahoo dot com

Everything Else is in Your Head

The last line..."Everything else is in your head."
As a middle-aged mother of five, I have always believed that exposure was the best teacher and balance is the best measure of success. I have never fully trusted myself as the main caregiver, educator, nurse, counselor of my children. That's why they were born into a family.

I have had natural deliveries and epidural deliveries.

I have breastfed and I have bottle-fed.  (P.S.  One who was bottle-fed is a nurse who works with cancer patients and hospice and who is looking to go back to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. Her brain was not fed on breast milk but neither was it starved for food, love, or a parent's commitment to make sure she received an education. The rest she has, as have her brothers, done on her own.)

I have homeschooled (for the most part) and sent children to school. (This week I was asked to speak at a teachers' in-service. How ironic is that!?!)  They are all doing just fine and, as of today, their father and I are not supporting any of them. They are all functioning, law-abiding citizens who are working hard, raising their families, going to church, and respecting their elders.

I have worked out of the home, in the home, and stayed at home. The only thing is I never worked full-time. For me my heart and soul could not do it. Personally I have found that part-time work was the best "fit"...for us...for me...for my family. That's a blog post all its own.

I have raised children too busy with life to do more than attend Sunday Mass & CCD (but we never failed in those areas) and I raised children intentionally within the faith doing all the feasting and fasting and observances within the home.

I have been a strict parent, and I have been a mellow parent. When I was strict, my husband was mellow. Then...somewhere in this journey...we switched roles. Effortlessly so. Now he is the strict parent, I am the mellow one. It's all about balance. Children need balance. Without that balance they do not thrive.

It's true. Any success or failure we think is ours, isn't. It's all in our head.

I now have two daughter-in-laws whom I support (from a distance) in raising their boys. One works out of the home, the other stays home full time. I try to be respectful of their role as the mothers of those boys. I help with the boys when asked but, unlike some grandmothers, I really have no desire to take their place. And, really, why even try? No one can take their place. I've been doing this mothering bit for a very long time. I'm more than happy to watch from a front row seat...especially since I still have two teens at home I'm raising.

I know how exhausting mothering is. Believe me! I know.  I don't want to make it harder for those girls by dictating to them how to raise their boys. As long as I see a balance, it's good. I don't ever want these girls to feel they need to prove anything to me or that I think more of one and less of the other for how they raise their boys and whether they feel the need to work outside the home or not...whether they choose to breastfeed or not...whether they send their children to private school, public school or homeschool.

All they need from me is an endless amount of cheering, support, and a listening ear. I can never assume my way is the only way much less the right way for their families. It's pretty safe to say that as long as my children and grandchildren are happy, then I am happy.

And I know too many families where happiness is not the key element within the home and I can't help but wonder if overwhelming expectations are the problem, the destroyer, in most families. Often it's a control issue, a battle of the wills.  I think simpler expectations work best. There is nothing wrong with simple. Absolutely nothing. I don't harbor the notion of having no expectations. There have to be expectations otherwise people become wasteful, useless, lazy sinners. Nothing wrong with lifting the bar. Love usually isn't unconditional and if someone is taking advantage of you, that's not love at all.

Today as I watch my little boys being raised, I'm seeing (from that front row seat versus being front and center on the stage) how much their lives will be influenced by a culture and society outside the home.

Does it scare me?
Yes, it does.

Why? I ask myself.

Because I see where one can have a better life if we just focus on the good, the true, and the beautiful.
When we follow the crowd, we lose this focus. That's sad. It usually happens because someone has not been taught how to think or act for himself but is too dependent on the expectations and opinions of others.

I want to tell those little men of mine...

Keep your eyes on God. Offer your service to your families. Keep your expectations simple. Keep your focus on self-improvement more than on trying to improve others. Know that unconditional love does not have to extend to everyone you meet. Know that not every problem is yours to fix. Pick your battles. Know that it is ok to walk away from drama and not every battle is yours to fight. Know that working hard keeps the devil away. Being different is good, having variety is even better. Know the importance of's good for the soul. Being positive and grateful is a blessing for yourself and others. Know that simple is good enough.

And know that everything else is in your own head.

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:

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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.   +

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