Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: book recommendation

For the organizationally prone: A Plum Planner discount

I’ll admit it. I walk down the stationary aisle of Target for recreational purposes. Nothing soothes my soul like an unmarked notebook. Yet neither of those things top the geeking out I do when a new planner arrives in the mail.

Yes, I’m being totally serious.

My 2015 design, except mine says "MICHELE." And it's spelled right, unlike anything ever purchased from King's Island. Image via Plum Paper Deisgns.

My 2015 design, except mine says “MICHELE.” And it’s spelled right, unlike anything ever purchased from King’s Island. Image via Plum Paper Designs.

I live and die by old fashioned, paper and pencil (NOT pen, but if it must be pen, make it blue ink) spiral bound planner. Steal my credit cards, even my passport, but if you take my planner for even a day I will loose my mind. I most definitely won’t remember to show up for a doctor’s appointment or parent-teacher conferences. Even regular commitments are questionable, like my small group that meets every Tuesday, because I allow my planner to keep so much of my calendaring that I’ve trained my brain to no longer retain that information.

In fact, I like to believe that my reliance on my planner makes me smarter. Writing down even our menu plans gives me more space in my brain for the necessary thoughts that consume my life. Like how to improve grocery stores. You know, meaningful stuff.

Since my time in high school I’ve kept a personal calendar full of information needed to arrange my life. At the beginning of new seasons, semesters or a series of events, I mark each occurrence in my planner. I was nerdy enough to mark every assignment, test and final. Now JJ teaches the FPU class at our church on Wednesdays – and it is marked each week to remind me to have dinner that will be finished quickly so he won’t be late. I chart bills alongside doctor appointments and weekend trips.

Why the old school planner, you ask? We’ve got these fancy-dancy cell phones now that you can even share your calendar with family, why write it down? It’s simple – the act of writing it down and seeing it on paper gives it more meaning. At least, to me. And also to the smart people who do expensive studies on how people retain information.

And let’s just admit it. There’s a certain glory in crossing off a week, a bill paid or task complete. Life is too short to deny yourself such pleasure.

I used to settle for the cheapest month-with-weekly-view available, but I’ve upped my game since entering adulthood. I graduated to a fabric-covered Target version, but now I order online. I’ve tried a few makes and models and I’m now a repeat-orderer from Plum Paper Designs on Etsy. Last year’s model included a double calendar so I could have my work and my home stuff separate. This year I condensed to the single view but added extra notes pages to each month for space to do other planning and note taking, specifically for work and other meetings.

You can custom create your workspace on the weekly view, as well. My preference is for the Morning – Afternoon – Evening – Checklist in the daily view because I utilize a “blocks of time and groups of people” mentality in planning my days. You can also have the hourly version or a blank, lined space to work. For those who prefer to organize by kid, you can label the blocks by family member (by ordering the “Family Planner“).

Last year I attempted a DIY, on-the-cheap version, but I learned my lesson.I chucked my print-it-yourself through the window of a moving vehicle. (Ok, slight exaggeration.) So, I started last year’s planner in March, thanks to Plum Paper Designs allowing you to choose your start and end month, up to 18 months of calendar beauty. For those of us who are economically minded, you get 6 more months without replacing. For those who place a higher value on beautiful things, that’s six months longer you must wait to reorder. I know, life is full of hard decisions.

And on the “beautiful things” note: that might be the hardest part of ordering. So many gorgeous, colorful designs with Michele-approved fonts. Serif and sans serif! Whoops. My inner nerd is showing again.

So, to you, good reader, who desires to become more organizationally focused and perhaps loves a bit of beauty in your every day life, I suggest to you the Plum Paper Designs planner. They take up to 6 weeks (mine came sooner) for printing and delivery, so order your 2015 soon. We’re rapidly approaching that uncomfortable season of having to carry around 2 planners.

Make sure you browse the add-ons page for your order to really make it your own. This year I opted for the Monthly Bill Tracker and additional monthly notes pages. There’s a monthly cleaning chart, if that’s your thing, or checklist pages.

To make your life even better, there is a discount code! I know, right?! Plum Paper Designs has generously offered to give readers 10% off their order with the code MINEHART10. (Note: I make nothing off of this. However, let’s call it a team effort. Perhaps if enough of you order with this code, they’ll cover the cost of my addiction next year and we can all be winners?). This code is good until 12/3/2014.

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What a glorious day, today

I changed puke-covered sheets twice last night, which means another day of trips to the basement laundry room. I left the preschool after chatting with a few friends and letting the teachers hold the baby to get their fix (he’s so cute, he’s like a drug). I’ll make a pot of ginger turmeric tea to share with the toddler and though I have all the right ingredients, my effort at replicating the Bakehouse Breakfast Club fell slightly short. (It’s never quite the same as when someone else makes it for you, yes?) 

Then on to the pile of resumes to review for the client who wants to hire. Note: when it says “1-3 years experience in food service” they really do mean you. The Dyson needs surgery so I’ll be spending some time on YouTube while the toddler paints* at the kitchen table. A newsletter needs curated and samples sent to a lead on new opportunities. 
This is my day. All day, most every day. Often I get to meet with fascinating and encouraging people along the way -for work and for play. Just as frequently my only conversation is discussing the days of the week or the ways in which flashlights work. 
So with the sun shining this morning I’m filled with gratitude and awe. It’s a day with a to-do list that is tasked out but which will end with an evening of celebrating 8 glorious years with a man who makes this beautiful struggle possible. I have things to do, people with whom to enjoy it. God has provided just enough, each day, for me to continue to live in such a blessed way.  
In our culture, we’re often driven to build more, bigger, best. But recently while reading Tsh Oxenreider’s Notes from a Blue Book** I fell in love with an old parable (source. I copied/pasted.): 

An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while. The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siestas with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine, and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life.” The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the proceeds from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing, and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually New York City, where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15 – 20 years.”

“But what then?” Asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions!”

“Millions – then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siestas with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

That’s my dream life. Enjoying daily life with my children, making dinner, running a household, writing things that help people’s dreams and business’ flourish and their spiritual lives come awake. Then ending with a full glass of wine and the company of beautiful souls. Some people build empires of business and commerce and personal wealth and all the power to them – you have this one short life, so go for it. As for me, I’m building into people in the most basic ways possible. This simple act of presence – of typing out words into an invisible world, splashing my hands into warm, soapy dish water for the third time of the day and fixing toys whose wheels fell off – fills me with joy. I’m living it with such beautiful souls, people who encourage me and make me laugh and don’t mind my exceptionally greasy, unshowered hair. If it all ended tomorrow, I can say it’s a life well lived.  My prayer is that, wherever you are and however you spend your days, you feel the same way.

*While writing, this happened:

I swear I cropped out that sun streak. But those emails are calling, I have no time for editing. 

**Affiliate link. I make a few pennies when you click and buy. But Tsh didn’t pay me, I’m glad to recommend the book on my own accord. It’s a fantastic book. 

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