Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Full Color Seasonal Beehive Planner Now Ready to Order

Okay...here'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...live 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 slow-curve...it 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)


* * * * *


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 investiture...it'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.

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