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The 5 Top Inserts for your Planner

Yep. I am one of those. A planner addict. I should own stock in Cloth and Paper. Until recently (2 months ago), when my husband suffered a health setback and a job loss, I was subscribed to their monthly subscription service. It brought me SO much joy and I truly miss it. So I thought I would pass the time by giving you my list of 5 items that you do not want to be without in your own planning.

  1. Dividers: I have purchased dividers from several different companies. I have not found any that I am truly in love with. I love the premise of Cloth and Paper’s plastic plain dividers, but have found that they are quite heavy in the planner and it just makes the weight uncomfortable in the planner. I understand they now have lightweight plastic dividers, which would solve all the problems, but I have yet to try these. I also have their gold foil nude color dividers (as seen in the photo above). I have a love/hate relationship with them. I absolutely love the aesthetic, but they have a tendency to bend, which just ruins the look for me. I also have pink heavy weight paper dividers from Brooklyn Grace Co. that have held up absolutely perfectly. I use these in my A5 planner and if I had to pick amongst all of my dividers, I would say these are my current favorites. I have heard excellent things about Sessavee’s dividers as well.
  2. Calendar: I have gone to the minimal side of planning of late. To this end, there are so many awesome calendar and planning inserts out there, but my favorites that I have found are actually from Tul, Crossbow Printables (in the U.K. so shipping time is extended a bit), and Cloth and Papers multiple types of calendar pages.
  3. Clear card/large pockets: These are useful for putting planner cards, or if you use your planner for a wallet as well, these are useful to hold credit cards or any cards you carry with you. I use these for holding my inspiration planner cards I get mostly from Sequins and Paper.
  4. Planner cards: from aforementioned Sequins and Paper and several other shops: Bunny Plans, Sessavee. There are so many amazing planner etceteras, but the planner cards are my favorites, especially with the inspirational sayings just because I enjoy seeing them and these make want to open my planner which in turn makes me keep up with my planning more consistently.
  5. Contact Inserts: These make my planner completely functional. With this addition, I basically have everything I need in one spot. I also use Password hint inserts which streamlines my life as well. No more keeping up with 15 different resources to keep track of things.
  6. A BONUS: one more thing you could add to your planner if you wanted to keep more of a journal are plain note pages. This way if you are more interested in creating your own pages of inserts, you can. The paper quality then becomes an important factor. The best paper quality I have found is once again from Cloth and Paper. Their dotted grid paper is amazing quality and no pens I have used leak or ghost.

I hope these suggestions help some of you in setting up your planner or agenda. There really are so many options out there , I did not even broach the subject of planner stickers. That could be a topic for an entire blog post, but the inserts and accessories I have mentioned here will definitely get you started in your own planning.

FEELING LEFT OUT?

Me too.

In fact, I often struggle with feeling like the uninvited left-out kid pressing my nose to the candy-store glass looking in at people having all the fun. But I know this is ridiculous. I just wish my head would let my heart know this. I mean… yes, I do get out of the house (except for the past month or so while my hubby’s car has been down and we are having to share my car). I go to Bible study and to MOPS and my son has several extra-curricular activities I need to attend with him. But even in these groups I feel like the one on the outside looking in at all the moms and friends going about their lives connecting and enjoying each other’s company, and somehow, I always feel like the one set-apart because of illness or family’s illness, or some thing that I have never fully understood. It is like I somehow set people uneasy. So I start yammering on trying to make them comfortable, and end up making the situation worse. Does this ever happen to anyone other than me? Am I the only one waving this freak flag?

 

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This ridiculous feeling also extends to my work. In fact, I have allowed it to brew itself  (we all know what they say about holding on to comparing ourselves!!) into a type of jealousy. I have found myself making comments in my head saying, “This girl has been working two years, and is already making a living from this.”  More recently, has been the bigger voice saying, “I cannot believe that mid-westerner is getting the bridal show in MY state!!” Ugly voices that I know are not healthy.  I will be happily following along with someone, then they reveal they started their “calligraphy journey” a WHOLE TWO YEARS AGO!!  I think to myself how I have been studying it for the better part of 25 years now, and practicing since 2012, and still consider myself a newbie student.  I find myself thinking jealous thoughts, and feeling even older and more left out. Yes, I am self-teaching, but so have A LOT of these ladies. One in particular I allow to really get under my skin: she taught herself not only calligraphy, but the business of calligraphy as well, and is pulling in a good income now. Of course, she has worked her tail off, I am certain. But that knowledge does little to impede my feelings of inadequacies. I suppose that is what this boils down to, right? Not feeling good enough.

 

So, not being one to allow myself to revel in despair, I came up with a game plan I thought I would share with you in case you are ever feeling the green-eyed monster stealing your joy and robbing you (and me) of our right to feel proud of ourselves. After all, we have the right to pat ourselves on the back for a job well-done too!! It is no small feat to self-teach, but add to that mix a special-needs son and a hyper-toddler, a husband with anxiety disorder and other health problems; holding down family obligations as well as keeping up with the nine-million mom duties, a house that isn’t going to clean itself (they can make computers that sit on the end of a pencil, but can’t seem to make carpet that cleans itself????), and I know in my head I have MUCH to be proud of. So what if these twenty-something girls without a family to take care of, (or at least kids) are making enough money to be able to buy and sell me? I will not allow myself to be bitter. I will not allow myself to be bitter. I WILL NOT ALLOW MYSELF TO BE BITTER. And every day, I learn a little more to move myself closer to earning a living myself with my business.

 

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So, as promised, here is a little action plan to help when the monster takes his turn with your self-worth.

  1. Understand that how you speak to yourself speaks louder than you may realize. Whether or not you lend credence to the “Law of Attraction,” the basic principles at it’s core is a powerful one psychologically: the words we speak are what we believe, therefore, that is what will become our reality. So, the first and most important thing we can do for ourselves is to speak kindly to ourselves, and speak positively. Get a self-worthy, uplifting mantra (affirmation) and speak it to yourself. EVERY. DAY. It could be something as simple as saying, “I can do anything I put my mind to because God made me exceptional, and I am exceptionally His.”
  2. Understand that loving yourself is not egocentric or selfish, but it is a necessary- even mandatory-  part of being a healthy, whole individual.  It is about having self-love and treating yourself with the same compassion, tolerance, and generosity as you would your best friend. You need to be your own best friend first and foremost. Again, it is important to recognize that God made each of us exceptional, and we are exceptionally His.
  3. Trust your instincts: or trust your gut. This is one I have the hardest time with.  Drawing the line with well-intention-ed friends or family and taking their love, advice, words of wisdom to heart, but listening to your own heart and internal voice is what you should be making your final choices with. God gave us a brain and a conscience to use, not to lock away and depend on (or be led by) others.
  4. Analyze and re-evaluate yourself often. This could also be taken as “Know Yourself”. For us list makers or journal-keepers, this is an excellent time to weekly (or even daily depending on your personality) put down on paper questions to know ourselves better and to continually strive toward self-discovery and growth. Questions like:
    • What skills do I have?
    • What are my strengths/weaknesses?
    • What do I want to be doing with my life? Am I doing this or taking steps to do this?
    • What makes me feel fulfilled? Am I working on these things, or am I constantly working towards/on other’s fulfillment?
    • What makes me happy?
    • This last one is probably the MOST important one. One that I am almost certain that we all do the most frequently: stop making your self-worth contingent on other’s opinions!! I think that one bears repeating too, STOP MAKING YOUR SELF-WORTH CONTINGENT ON OTHERS OPINIONS. If we try to live up to others expectations of us, we will never be able to see our own expectations, AND, we will NEVER meet their expectations. (I have learned this the hard way). It is very hard thing to feel that you are letting someone down and their opinion of you down, but it is a shaky bridge to walk across, and without a doubt, that bridge will not hold you up forever. If a parent or loved one or even friends or teachers- anyone- who knew you as a child, their opinions of you are often skewed and it is not healthy to allow them to determine your own thoughts, actions, or self-worth. Their opinion is fine…it is their own, and it often has little to do with the person you are as an adult. Let their opinions stay their own and not affect who you are.

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So, there we have it…my little attempt at a pep-talk to let go of the (my) green-eyed monster or help you build some positive self-worth. I hope that you can take something from this post, or that it helps someone out a little bit. Until next time, friends!

STYLED SHOOT PORTFOLIO

STYLED SHOOT PORTFOLIO

When it comes to photography, novice doesn’t begin to describe my knowledge or technique. In my rare moments of spare time, I have been doing tutorials and taking online free courses in order to learn some basics to up my Insta game.  So when the opportunity arose to be involved in a styled shoot came my way, I was beyond excited! Not only would I get to be a part of a group of amazing artisans all working toward a common goal to be publicized (which we were VERY excited and honored to be a part of Artfully Wed’s publication), but it was an amazing opportunity for some high quality, beautifully professional photos of my work (keep scrolling for a look).

 

I highly recommend you getting involved with a styled shoot if the opportunity arises. Typically these are non-paid collaborations, but the payment you receive in seeing your work in print and getting your name out, is well worth your effort; not to mention getting some amazing photographs. The amazing photographs below (along with all the work from the rest of our amazing team you can read about if you follow the link above to Artfully Wed’s blog) was photographed by the amazingly talented, witty, kind, and beautiful soul’d Brandi Cutshall of Unbound Images.

 

 

 

ANY OLD SEPTEMBER SUNDAY

ANY OLD SEPTEMBER SUNDAY

And just like that, August has rolled into September. I am still not sure where August went. Our schools here started school on August 1st again (the premise being that the earlier start date allows for a full week off to enjoy the Fall break). In any case, it literally ATE the entire month. There are still so many things I had wanted to get accomplished this summer. A trip to the lake…(why is it that NONE of my friends own a boat?!?!?!), another long hike with the family, a picnic, and some painting of furniture that has been on my to-do list for too long to be novel.

However, with my ever-increasing dizzy- nausea- headaches from needing a surgery that we cannot find a surgeon to do in my particular circumstance, and a few other ailments that often times keep me from being as productive as I am used to being or want to be; a hubby dealing with his own issues with health, and work, the days that we could get busy, we don’t always get to be busy doing the things on our bucket lists, as it were.

So, today, we made a marked decision to go sauntering in our neighboring town of Abingdon, Va. It was a beautiful day, weather wise, and we needed to get out of the house, as the children have been at each other’s throats, quite literally, and I was feeling an itch to blog, and an itch to hone my photo taking. Yesterday was such a yucky day, both rainy and cold. Our only excursion was the dreaded grocery store visit. I have never understood it, but car riding provides some of the best talk time also. It was a good time for the hubby and I to discuss some important things, to make some plans, and to examine ourselves. That was a hefty obligation to place on a little car ride, but it really does provide the best respite in which to hash any emotional chow-chow, I have always felt. Am I the only one that does my best thinking and talking in the car?

Now, I am a BIG fan of Abingdon, Va. Blog-worthy? Check. Photogenic? Check. Plus, going there provides the best (albeit, bittersweet) trips down memory lane for me. My late mom and I used to go several times a month often times just to “Sunday drive”. It is such a beautiful town, with its old brick buildings, its old-fashioned feel, its antique feel. But my very favorite part of Abingdon has always been its brick sidewalks with moss, and the real shuttered windows. Often times, the windows are still the old, handmade ones with the beautiful wavy glass. I LOVE the historic part of downtown. Something about it speaks to my soul, whispering secrets from times long-past. You can read some of the history of Abingdon, Virginia here .

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I can just feel the history on these bricks..

One of my favorite things about upcoming fall is Halloween. I just love a good ghost story. Especially one of local lore. One of the best ghost walks I have ever taken was the one in Abingdon. It was just a surreal experience walking the same bricks on which the people in the stories the docent was relaying to us travelled. You can get a good idea about it on this page.

So, without further ado, walk with us, friends…

The first building I will show you is my favorite, The Tavern. It opened its doors in 1779. It has had an interesting, storied past, as often times old buildings do. During the past two centuries, the Tavern has served as a tavern bank, bakery, general store, cabinet shop, barber shop, a private house, post office, antique shop, and, as it is now, a restaurant. It also served as a hospital for Confederate AND Union soldiers during the Civil War. Most importantly to those of us that do love a haint, it has a ghost attached to it.

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The Tavern is also known for its mossed roof

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A ghost lingers here…

Next on our little Abingdon tour was the Martha. The Martha Washington Inn is aptly named after our first president’s wife. It was built in 1832, and it too, has a storied past. Its history includes a women’s college, a private residence, and a Confederate hospital. You can read more about it’s history on this page.

The Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Va

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Couldn’t resist adding one with my two cuties, Grey and Lily

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Old Glory, may she fly high forever

From The Martha, we travelled around the rest of downtown, taking random pictures. Following is a selection of the ones we took today. Enjoy!

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Thank you for joining my family today on this little excursion. Its always good for the soul to wander. “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”
― Anita Desai

All photos on this post belong to Lisa Jones, greylilyco. Please ask permission before using.

SOME REAL STUFF

I am going to share some real-life drama stuff today here on the blog. As you know, I have two children, Grey and Lily.  Normally, cherub faced angels that fulfill our lives as much as a Hallmark movie would portray. And then there are days like today. Days that leave me crying while hiding in the bathroom on the toilet days.

It started declining pretty much as soon as I opened my eyes. My son (who is almost 8 and is a highly-functioning autistic) is standing in front of me in tears crying because he got banned from his favorite online game for using a less-than-child-like word that he picked up at the end of the school year when another little boy shared it with everyone. My tactic with things like this is to down play it so as not to make it seem more interesting to him by making a big deal of things. Apparently, this is a word I should of dwelled on the fact that is a B.A.D. word. So, after dealing with the fallout of this (punishing him by taking away his computer privileges for two days), I get further bombarded with hearing him screaming in his room, “I HATE MOM!!” Ok. So, this adds insult to injury. I confess, I didn’t know how to handle it, much less what to say. This is something I hear other parents deal with, not us. In my naivety, I never thought it would EVER be something we would be facing, much less having to deal with. So, I cried. I stood there and cried. With “normal” kids, they see a parent doing this, they deal with the issue in the moment, and more often than not, kids get over things quickly. Not my son. Not in his little mind. He sees me cry (or any emotion, really), and it sets off a tail-spin of fits, stemming, and o.c.d. behaviors in him. Its almost more than I can bear on a good day, much less a day that was already hard.

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He is such a high-functioning, that most everyone do not see what he is enduring trying his best to “fit-in” or be “on” as I call it. It drains him. I am still trying to determine if our putting him in public school was the right choice. On one hand, I knew he learned best from a small amount of peer pressure. But as he has just finished first grade, it is already becoming a little more than “a small amount” of peer pressure. Yes, most of the children treat him wonderfully, he rarely gets made fun of, but what is changing is the fact that he is aware of the difference and the patronizing. It seems an impossible choice most days. We just pray. Pray over him, pray for him, pray ahead of him, and behind him. And we try to go with the flow the best we can, and most days, we get through just fine. Then there are days like today that end in tears: mine, his, sissy’s, dads. Tears and feelings of failure and frustration. Did we do the right thing? Did we address it the best we could? Did he understand what we were saying? Should I have talked to him more than I did? Less? Days like this are ones that I truly wish came with a manual.

GREYLILY EXPANDS

GREYLILY EXPANDS

I have been wanting to delve into the world of holistic health for many years now. Something has always held me back…wasn’t the right time, too busy, children too young for me to divert my attention… you see where I am going with this. But I have decided that no time is like the present, so after much research and asking questions of companies that I respect and love, I have found the proper fit for my online continuing education.

I am excited to be applying to the American College of Healthcare Sciences. I am already a college graduate (in 2004, BS Criminology). I have been out of school many moons, and this is a little intimidating for me, but I am excited to get this journey on a roll. My interests lie in both herbalism and aromatherapy. I threw around the idea of obtaining two MS degrees, but after speaking to the advisor, I think the best fit for me right now is the certification in natural product manufacturing. I plan to make my little tinctures and salves at home, and sell in my etsy store. Ah, the old etsy store. That is another entire blog post on it’s own. Tell me friends, are you finding selling in an overly-saturated marketplace exhausting, intimidating, frustrating, time consuming? Is it just me?

I have busied myself trying and reaching out to other all natural companies whose products I love and appreciate, and use. I am excited to try a few new ones. I received one in the mail today, from Herbivore.

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I hope to begin this journey this summer. My plan is to begin manufacturing all-natural (organic when possible) products and using my calligraphy for my labels, packaging. This opens a whole new world for greylily. We hope to help fill a niche in the market for educated holistic skincare. Wish me luck friends!

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

THE BUSINESS OF WRITING

Hello, friends. I have been debating on whether or not to take on the added responsibility of a blog for some time now. I decided to go ahead with this endeavor because there are so many times I would like to share something on my mind about this stage in my life and business, so… here I am.

I am currently on Instagram (who isn’t these days? – as I am finding an overly saturated market) as greylilycalligraphy and, for lack of a better way to put it, am learning the business end of a craft while learning the craft itself. I am finding this isn’t for the faint of heart.

I took a step out of my comfort zone the other day, and sent out a “questionnaire” to some of the calligraphers I admire the most. I was at a loss as to how to grow my following, and thereby, grow my orders (shop temporarily down). I got some very interesting responses, some positive, some not so much – from surprising sources. In any case, I did receive some helpful information.

I am going back here, to how it all began for me. This is a little bit of my journey to how I arrived here, today, writing this.

But, my friends, learning while doing is a difficult task, no matter who you are. My background is in criminology of all things. Years worth of work in a degree field working to obtain my Bachelor of Science degree, and during the years of hard work, working up to 4 jobs at a time, carrying a full load of course work, taking care of my mom in the end stages of cancer, all while assuming the responsibility of caring for an invalid sister…well, they were difficult years. And during those difficult years, I knew my heart was not in the field. My hopes were to go straight in to my MS in forensics, but life had other plans for me. I sacrificed my life for others. Not as noble as that sounds, because I have regrets, I let fear be in the driver’s seat. Much of what I did was out of fear…letting people down, trying to keep all the balls juggling in the air. And, as is the due course of trying to keep too many things going with not enough resources, dropping many of those balls (re: finances) with devastating results.

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Looking back now, I see the silver lining. Not finding work in my field for years (while being at home with my sister and then, later, my special needs son) led me to reach for the things that were in my heart. I brainstormed at one point and discovered, if I had listened to my heart to begin with (and not been afraid of letting my family down), I would have gone into history from the start of my college career. Of course, that path may not have led me anywhere but where I am now, so who knows? Fickle fate, or being led…I am not certain anymore. However, my path did lead me to dig into what my passions really were, and through finding history, I specifically came to realize that I have always had an admiration and love for writing and communication, and then, “beautiful writing”. So I set out to study it, that was a good 15 years ago now.

I started reaching out to (harassing, really) calligraphers years ago. Where I live, the arts are not a focus. It was difficult in those years (these were the days before having the internet was an everyday thing for everyone) to find people to reach out to. Eventually, I was successful, I found IAMPETH (here) on this journey. I could not travel because of the responsibilities of caring for my sister and son, so I reached out. Eventually, people started putting things online, resources, and even classes. I grabbed for those every chance I got. I have now been practicing (I call it that, because calligraphy is one of the arts you never really “arrive” at…you simply continue to practice and hone your hands. There are those few that reach such a level of perfection they are deemed “masters”. To my knowledge, there are around 10 of those in the world), for around 5 years now.

During the years of practice, and taking my little photos of my “aha!” moments, there was a change in the social media world. A “professionalizing,” with people seizing the opportunity of a free means of advertising, both with good and bad consequences. Hence, up arise the individuals offering the “business skills” in “getting you followers.” I once made the (possible) mistake of telling one of these such people who were offering me a “follow and follow back” that I was looking for “quality over quantity”. Silly me, I didn’t realize what I was doing. After I realized I was going to have to step up my game with social media, I began taking courses in business…in Instagram itself (of all things!), and any other part of selling of myself and my skill I could find. This business is not easy. But I am learning.

So, in the end, I have found that I need an outlet to discuss and share the things I am learning and doing other than the business arenas of Facebook and Instagram, and even Twitter to some degree. Therefore, I am writing. I do love a good blog, and have made some connections with people who are so dear to me. I have hopes of doing the same with this one myself. Won’t you join me?

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