Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tis' the Season for Excitement

As Christmas approaches I always feel an awe and general excitement that doesn't run out, no matter how tough the day is, and for that I am so very grateful.  This is the season that it is easiest to remember Jesus coming into this world and how from the very moment of his birth the world was forever changed, so that no matter what happens on this earth, I will have a home eternally in his kingdom in Heaven!  He has a room ready for me right now and I can sense it in the air and feel it in my bones; that this body is not mine but His and therefore, through faith, I will return to Him!  Isn't that so exciting?

In knowing this it is also fitting that this month seems to be the biggest month of my own self-reflection and assessment.  Am I the person whom I want to be?  Do others see the real me when I am out and about?  Or do I come across negatively?  Do I carry myself and make decisions based on who God created me to be or am I letting the worldly challenges weigh me down and make me into someone that I am not?  How can I be a better me?

All of those questions have answers.  Answers of where I have fallen short, failed miserably, done my very best, or just slid by.

I am a writer, someone who journals, and a planner.  Thus planners are also a very big part of my end of the year thinking.  It is time for me to end the planner of one year, assess my needs for my planner for next year, and make the plunge.  I have used so many different types of planners over the years, from school planners, to mom planners, a simple calendar, a blank composition book, to a self created filofax insert with washi tape and all the trimmings.  I have even used a scrapbook with Calendar pages as my planner for one year!

With everything that happened this year my planner was not used once and I find myself looking back and wondering what did I do, did I accomplish what I wanted to?  Did I make progress, or meet goals, or help others?  I have no physical proof other than my limited memories and a notebook of lists some with check marks next to them and some items staring me down.

I know that in the past year I was there when it counted for many of my friends.  I know that I was absent for many months as I wrapped my imaginary wings around my chickies and just loved them through all of the loss and hurt from this year.  I know that we as a family have made great strides in learning what really matters and who is really a friend.  Who is really going to be there for you when it counts.  And we have learned that even if someone isn't a true friend to us, that doesn't mean that we cannot be a true friend to them.  And that even if it does hurt when we feel alone, we are never truly alone and that we always have the choice to look on the sunny side of life.  

We have also learned that the love of strangers is surprisingly strong and sometimes more powerful than the love that comes with all of the emotional and timely demands of being a close friend or family member.

So even though this year we lost everything earthly and I learned to live simply (without a planner) with just a few lists of to-do's and constantly working on the big list of needs/wants, I also strengthened my case and reassured myself that yes, yes I do need a planner!  Because without one, I am forgetful, a hermit, and have very limited focus.

Since October I have been watching youtube videos, reading blogs, and scouring the internet for the perfect planner.  And I just can't seem to find ONE that will help with all areas that must be planned and organized.

I have the perfect planner in my head and if I had the skills and the software I would create the perfect planner for me and honestly I think that it would be helpful for others as well because it is different from those that I have seen.  However, the cost to do that and the time it would take to learn the software, create the planner, and then make multiples of them....well it is just not something I can do at this point in my life.  So I continued to search and I came back with Three options.

The problem is who wants to use three separate planners, or even two?  I would have one for scheduling.  Another planner for meal planning, fitness, and health.  And a third for reaching goals and self assessment/betterment.

Would I really look at all three of those and actually put the work into them?  Especially, noting that I also journal, do regular Bible studies, and have to do lesson plans for Avagrace, and lesson/activity plans for the other kiddos when they are out of school.

I was about to give up and just go back to my composition book full of lists and my family binder (which is a completely different post all together) but then I came across an Etsy shop called Plum Paper Designs.  In their shop they have a family planner that seems like it would be perfect however I would still need two.  In the family planner you have so many options for customization including 7 line items for each day in a vertical weekly format.  I would use one for meal planning, work outs of the day, calorie intake, and grocery shopping, and another for everything else.

                                            I just love this owl design, and I can change the color scheme!
However, the Erin Condren planner that is a bit more expensive seems to be significantly more durable which is very important considering I carry this thing everywhere for a year.  The draw back is that it would not be as specific (although she offers customized stickers that would be a substitute for the custom line item) but I would still need a second planer from Plum Paper Designs for the Health/Meals/Fitness side of things.  After all, fitness and health is going to be a MAJOR focus of 2015 for me.  The good thing about getting one of each is that I could compare the two and see which one was really my style.  And it would be a helpful blog post and youtube vlog.

                                             I love kaleidoscopes and this cover reminds me of them!

Click HERE to register with Erin Condren and SAVE $10 on your first order!

However, I still have Filofax binders that can be used over and over again as long as you get new inserts.  Which is something that is very easy to find in many fabulous Etsy stores.  I could simply get a Meal planning, Fitness, and Health themed insert PDF for my A5 Filofax which are very inexpensive the only downfall is you have to print them yourself or pay to have them printed somewhere else.  If I did that I would probably use that in conjunction with the Erin Condren planner due to the durability of it.

However all of this is leaving out those really neat question and answer tools in the Goal and Self Assessment Planners from Amazon!  There were two and they are called "The inner guide" and "Tools4Wisdom" planners.  But I am sure that pinterest has tons of those types of pages that I could easily print and work off of for free.

So I was talking to my husband (who is currently TDY out of state) and he came up with a fabulous solution.  "Why don't you get a planner or two for your Christmas gift since they are kind of pricey and you love them so much."  This will eliminate some of the guilt I feel for spending more money on a planner than just buying a simple day/week planner at walmart for under $20.

So,  Less Buyers guilt and more productivity.  Plus I will be able to show you how I use them and why they are so vital to my life.  And I can also share with you my family Binder aka My Brain.

But before I take the plunge, I wanted to write it all out, share my bit of crazy, and ask you to share the planner in your life!  And because this is such an off the wall post (just a lot of thinking out loud) I wanted to offer giveaway just to get people talking a bit more.  So, if you share your favorite planner, or what you use as a planner I will pick a random winner to receive a goody bag of planner stickers and accessories that I use in my planner.  (I will order your goodies when I order mine in the next few weeks).  So, share this post with all your planner loving friends and I will announce a winner next Wednesday.  That gives everyone one week to share their tips and share this post.  That is one entry for sharing your loved planner and a second entry when you post again saying that you have shared this blog on pinterest/facebook/twitter/etc.  (Limit 2 entry's per person)

The more comments I get the better the giveaway will be!  It has been far too long since I have done a giveaway anyway!

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