Friday, October 30, 2015

The Planner in a Nutshell

What is The Seasonal Beehive Planner exactly?

In a nutshell...or rather...a beehive...

...this is how the Seasonal Planner has been described or referenced to.  ;-)
  • Calendar
  • Journal 
  • Daybook
  • Sketch pad
  • Nature journal
  • Planning guide
  • Devotional
  • Commonplace Book

  • List keeper
  • Meal planner

  • Scripture Count
  • Prayer journal
  • Bullet journal
  • Quote keeper
  • Book Memes
  • An Organizer
  • Seasonal Magazine 
It has a little of all these things wrapped tightly in 88 pages. The Spring Edition is already at 93 pages as we have added a "planner" section and have restructured it to be a bit MORE user-friendly. The Winter Edition was a bit of a learning curve. ;-)

But if we aren't learning, we aren't improving. :-)

Buyers have termed it to be:
  • A Seasonal Inspiration
  • A Working Journal
  • An Activity Book for Adults
  • My Best Friend (I especially love this one! ❤❤❤ )

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Questions About the Seasonal Planner

When does the Winter Edition begin?

Each seasonal planner covers 3 months. The Winter Edition Begins with December 2015 and continues with January and February 2016.

Can I still order the Winter Edition?
Yes...through the month of November. Order link is HERE.

When will the Spring Edition be ready to order? 

In January. We might have a pre-order date towards the end of December. Check the Cajun Cottage Shoppe for ordering date. I will also send a personal mail out to everyone who has already ordered a Winter Edition.

Where is the Seasonal Planner available?

Besides ordering online from the Cajun Cottage Shoppe, the planner will also be available at the Living Advent Workshop in Virginia on November 7th. The lovely Ruth Tucker and her daughter Adrianna will have a few limited copies at their tables: Loreto Rosaries, LLC and My Little Felt Friends.

The Seasonal Planner will also be available locally on November 19-21 at the Lake Charles Civic Center @ Mistletoe and Moss in Louisiana.

What are people saying about The Seasonal Beehive Planner?

Read reviews here. What People are Saying About The Seasonal Planner

What can I expect in the Spring Edition?

The Winter Edition is the first of its kind. I looked and looked and googled and searched and couldn't find anything to walk hand-in-hand with my family and I through the seasons I so love. So I began creating. The Winter Edition will walk you through a rhyme of seasons but the Spring Edition will dance you through...because with the Winter Edition I fell into a wonderful pace in making the Spring Edition even better.

Because of that the Spring Edition is Just Got 100% BetterIt doesn't mean the Winter Edition doesn't have lots of good stuff, it just means that with putting the Winter Edition into your hands, you told me what you liked and what you needed more of. I finally sacked the "planner" essence and tied it up into a bow in the Spring Edition. We're going to embrace and enjoy theses seasons together.

Is the Seasonal Planner gender specific?
SBP is geared to women. I think the tutorial will show you many of the pages and what it looks like. A man could "use" it, of course, but the practical side of a man probably won't be impressed with nature study and Scripture prompts and heart-point pages. never knows.

Happy Seasonal Planning!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Seasonal Planner Just Got 100% Better

One feedback I have received on the new Seasonal Beehive Planner came while standing in a hallway chatting with a local friend. Her critique, concern, and suggestions created an addition for the SPRING edition which is making it 100% better (watch for a January order date). It includes reminders of dates beyond the normal holidays; dates such as Hairstylist Day and Grandparents Day and Cinco de Mayo and Thank Your Pastor know, all those fun life-extras that we forget about until the day after;-)...along with small ideas to commemorate the date (only if you want to) to make yourself feel you're "in-the-know" or at least ahead of the game---even when you're not ;-)---or, if nothing else, just for the random FUN-ness of it all.

This hallway critique was ironic because I found the hardest part of this planner was creating the "planner" part. I am very Charlotte Mason-y minded (see the reviews recently posted: First Reviews: These ladies "get it!" and embrace it). This little planner was to be a gleaning away from the regular boxed-in planner. Possibly for those of us who have found a planner doesn't work properly in our hands. For those of us who survive in the now more than on next year's plans which might, or might, not happen.
I wanted this creation to be thoughtful and compact. I added lists that I thought were worth your time-of-day. I didn't want anything stressful. Remember, for some of us "boxes" create stress because we feel the need to fill-in those "boxes".  Now, lists? Ah, yes, that's where it's at. Those of us who don't do well inside of boxes still love our list-making. The lists seem to work better than the boxes. I've always found the boxes in planners are much too small for my creativity and regular duties. Lists, on the other hand, can expand and flow and breathe. So there are lots of lists in the WINTER edition of the Seasonal Beehive Planner.
I simply couldn't wrap the "planner" part around my brain and fit it into this "box". The thought of creating a box scared me. And I felt guilty selling a planner that wasn't a planner. And so I fudged and tried to call it anything but a planner. But the one word people understood was "planner"...except for the postal lady that is (very nice lady) who finally looked at me and said, "Oh, you mean like an organizer!?!"
Yeah, like that.

Only the mission of The Seasonal Beehive Planner isn't to organize your life. There are multitudes of organizers already out there for you to tediously do so. There is no "goal" behind the Beehive because it's a "mission" meant to calm your life.
So I set it up with seasonal prompts and activities and a focus and a devotional and LISTS....lots of LISTS...and avoided those boxes like one would avoid a hornet nest. :-)

But I was listening to the humming and buzzing of others. I could tell from the questioning and input of others that some want (or perhaps have a need for) those little spaces in which to cultivate daily plans. In a very real way, that calms them. I want to be able to offer them that calm. And so I worked late one night coming up with "a plan" for the SPRING edition.
And the "planner" part, which was the hardest part for me, once embraced and accepted, became the simplest thing ever. One of the FUNNER things, actually. Such a strange twist...
I had avoided the "boxed in" planner in creating the WINTER edition but, after realizing there is a deep-rooted need, a much-watered desire for such, I looked at those boxes as "focused pauses" in one's day.

I believe, perhaps, this is why we cling to and strive to "box" in our days. Part of it is a control issue...which I skirt around because I've seen nothing but tension and resistance come with people holding tight to their "boxes" and trying to control their day...but I'm learning (always learning) to see that what people really need is not control but a centering (which many Church Fathers have talked about and written about). We need a focus and a coming back to self and a reminder that fits in with the cycling of the seasons which follows the cycling of our lives. It's a natural process and there's nothing wrong with it whatsoever. We need "focused pauses". We need that balance. With that concept, the planner part (available in the SPRING edition) creates a balance and fulfillment that is lacking in the WINTER edition.

"Boxes" can add support and create structure. And that's a very good, very necessary thing. I'm beginning to understand that now.

Slow learner, me? Nah!

The WINTER edition is pretty nice and special in its own way, so the Reviews seem to say, but since it was the very first edition of this endeavor, I'm fixing myself a fresh cup of coffee, embracing the pause, grateful for the focus, and moving on.

Have I mentioned the SPRING edition is going to be 100% better. :-)
{Special grateful THANK YOU to the talented, Anna Cantrell, who has created the cover design and art work for The Seasonal Beehive Planner! }

First Reviews on Beehive Planner

First shipment orders are arriving at their new homes and here are some of the whisperings that people are saying, texting, emailing, messaging to me. I'm grateful for all your feedback.

Please keep your comments and feedback and suggestions coming. I want to hear your thoughts about this new little planner. I want to hear everything! I want to make sure it blesses your season. Contact me @ caygibson AT gmail DOT com

Happy Planning!

* * * * * *

"It's very Charlotte Mason-y..."   ~ L.F.

* * * * * *

"I received my book and just love it. I would love to skip November and head right into December. ( heck, it has already snowed here). I also have struggled with needing a day planner desperately but becoming totally overwhelmed with them. This is perfect. A little planning, a little peace and a little bit of time to just breathe and enjoy. Thank you you producing such a lovely book ." ~ J.C.  
 * * * * * *

"My new best friend, my security blanket and it fits right into my purse. Its my own little world where I can hide into while out and about." ~ L.M. (Thank you for the picture, L.M. ;-) )

"I love, love, love this "planner." It is actually better than what I was expecting!!! Thank you so much." ~ K.V. 
* * * * * *
"I'm having such a challenging week, and came home after an unexpected car repair to find my seasonal planner. As I turned the pages, curled up on the couch, I felt the tension drain away. Thank you for this beautiful gift. I LOVE it! And it came right when I needed something lovely for my heart and my soul. Thank you, thank you!" ~ M.P.
 * * * * * *
"I went with the black and white and couldn't be happier. I think it is well done. Would it be wrong to compare it to an activity book for adults? I find that aspect exciting. I like being prompted to do this or that on the pages." ~ J.T.

{A little note for those who order the B & W. A packet of lovely pencil colors makes your planning perfectly "planned". :-) }

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some Schemes and Dreams

It took me two nights to sort and wrap and stuff and seal and pray over each little journal that was sent out to its home this past week. I'm so grateful to all of you for taking me seriously. Why on earth did I do this? I wasn't even a passionate planner when they first took hold of our daily lives. I thought them dry and rigid and useless. Just boxes to fill. No fun, no flavor, no meaning. Just busy work. It drove me crazy to ink in boxes with plans that got canceled and moved before the week even started. Three gift planners sat at the top of my closet unused before I committed myself to using one...more out of guilt than because I felt the need to use one.
But I don't believe one should live under the code of guilt. I found that using a planner had to be an intentional desire before it became a commitment and then a habit which turned into a lifestyle choice. Guilt only gets you so far, and it usually isn't uphill.
Perhaps that's why. I had something in my vision and it wasn't a dry and rigid planner.
The Seasonal Beehive Planner is only part planner (perhaps not even the best one you'll ever use...I'm still planning to use my main Day Designer and simply tuck the Beehive into the front pocket or my purse. 
You won't find anything to "box" into a certain day. The whole season (3 months worth) is meant to be planted ~ flourish ~ harvested ~ lie dormant within its pages. The best of the Beehive is  that it is a journal, a magazine, a game plan, and a raw filter for the rest of your life so that when your planner boxes get too cramped and full, I pray you reach out for your Beehive and breath a moment, reflect a minute about what truly matters about the season you are living in.
And be grateful for the honey in your life and not let the buzz-iness disturb your hive.
The purpose of Cajun Cottage Press is to focus on home, seasons, and simple living. Our planner begins every season anew. This planner is all about giving you the freedom, yet the structure, you need to plan your seasons with flight and a bee-zy world. It is not meant to be busy, like your main planner. The purpose of this one is to quiet you. Fill in your boxes in your main planner...but come and take a rest in each season with The Seasonal Beehive.
The very creating of the Beehive quieted me.
My hopes and prayers are that the same calm will be reflected onto you.

While the rest of the world retreats to their digital smart phone calendars and scheduling apps The Seasonal Beehive Planner takes you back intentionally to pencil on paper.

I seriously wonder why my family puts up with these hare-brained schemes and dreams of mine. But they have been crazy supportive of these seasonal planners, as have all of you.
I'm truly grateful.
Which brings me to a little beehive-keeping right now.
{Beehive stickers purchased from QueenBeeInspirations }
 I need you to know that because this is a seasonal product I have to collect orders before printing. It is not something I can store in my personal  beehive that creates more clutter and which I loose money on ordering but not selling. Everything I do with these planners has to be intentional and well-thought. I must be a good steward of your money as well as my own. As this was the first run of these planners I had no idea if anyone was interested much less willing to take a chance of a new product, one of which there are countless designs and possibilities out there. Again, thank you to all who took a chance and ordered. I'm grateful for your faith in my other books, enough to invest in this venture.
So orders placed in September were printed in early October and mailed in mid-October. If you are still waiting for your planner, that is why. Those orders exceeded my plans and the applause gave me permission to go through with filling a need and a want that others, like myself, might have. In looking online I could find nothing like what I envisioned...what I wanted and needed as a Christian wife and mother...except a lone seasonal planner that didn't seem (for any number of reasons probably) to have gotten past its first issue. It fell void years ago. That worried me. Either the creator's heart was not fully immersed in the creation or there simply was not a need for it. 
The Spring edition will reveal to me if there is truly a desire for this product or if the Winter edition was not what you expected it to be. That will be a tell-tale sign of whether this is truly a ministry to be lovingly tended or just a wild idea to let go of. 
And speaking of ministry...
The Seasonal BeehivePlanner is my very “little way” to contribute towards the support of families and home life while supporting mine. It’s an outreach of sorts. We work together for a greater, holier good.
Remember that the work within this book happens within a community: my creativity reaches out towards your need for intentional living and helps meet the needs of your family.
This building of families...good, whole, realistic, Christian important stuff and for a time when people are always looking at healthy alternatives, building a good, solid family is the healthiest thing one can do for their children.

You are all in my seasonal prayers. May you and your family have a season of blessings and joyful living.


* * * * *
That being said...for those of you who will be receiving their new planners very soon, I really want to know your thoughts, your ideas, your excitement and...yes...even your disappointments with the Seasonal Beehive. I need to know in order to create a better beehive with each season and make sure it is leading you into a calmer lifestyle and not unnecessary buzz-iness.  

There is a conversational Seasonal Beehive Group for discussion found here on FB:
The Seasonal Beehive Group
I really want to know what you think of the Seasonal Planner.
Don't hesitate to email me @
caygibson AT gmail DOT com
Here are a couple of pointers concerning the planners and getting them into your hands:
  •  The first issue---which will be available in time for winter hibernation and all the festivities that create the months of December, January, and February---was printed in October 2015.
  • Another printing of Winter 2015 will be done this week. Anyone ordering the Winter 2015 Issue during what remains of October/November 2015, will have their planners shipped to them by mid-November. 
  • Plans for this little planner are blooming and the Spring 2016 Issue is promising to be even better.
  • The Spring 2016 planner (celebrating March, April, May) will be ready to mail by late January. Watch my Etsy shop to see when it comes out.
Thank you for your patience and your support. 
 Have a blessed season and happy planning!

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

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