Introducing The Hope Planner

Almost two years ago I started reading the Bible everyday. It was at a time in my life where everything I was working towards was working against me. Eleven years into our marriage, after the birth of our son, while I was still trying to manage my role as “the boss” in the growing company I had founded before motherhood, I was miserable. Self-doubt consumed my thoughts, exhaustion overwhelmed me, our marriage was suffering and I thought “this is not the life God planned for his daughter,” and then it occurred to me in all of these new things in my life, I had left God out of them.

I had it all wrong. I sought encouragement from business books, followed other entrepreneurs on Instagram, got up earlier and earlier to crush my to-do list, yet I rarely spent time in prayer, I never opened my Bible, I had zero fellowship with other Christians, and we hadn’t been to church in years.
I was empty and the only thing left in me was an overwhelming feeling that I just needed Jesus and that God was calling me to invest my time in the Scriptures.
And so I did.
Because I’m a graphic designer, list maker and generally pretty organized, I turned the weekly to-do list I had designed for myself into a daily one that split my to-dos between “God, family and work” so I could visualize on paper where my priorities were each day.  I wanted to find the harmony between my role in our household as a wife and mother, my faith and also my desire to lean into my career ambitions…. without letting one area become neglected as I was currently battling.  Over the last 18 months I have used that daily planner (printed and bound at Staples every 3 months) to make a habit of reading the Bible every morning and letting that study lead my prayers, reaffirm my faith and help me grow confident as a wife, mother, business owner and Christian.
When I tell people now that I read the Bible everyday, they look at me in amazement (mostly shock) and ask me “How?!!? How do you find time for it!?” And I say this: I simply made a space for it on my calendar and remained committed to my daily “appointment” with God. However sterile that my sound here on this blog, I can assure you what started out as something I needed to do, has now become something I want so badly to do each day. It has made me realize that no amount of planning or organization…. or crushing, or hustling, or competing, or dreaming …can hold you together like the glue of God’s grace.  Absolutely nothing compares.
As the pages and my faith have matured over the past 18 months, I realized this planner was meant for something much greater than my own personal use. It’s meant to serve you too.
In the last year, between growing St. Augustine Social, negotiating and managing the sale of The Celebration Society, launching Littleature and writing two children’s books, I took what I know about publishing and design and used it to move the production of this planner from my local Staples to a mass production facility on the other side of the world so maybe it could change your life too.
Today, I am humbled to introduce to you our latest brand, Hopefuel – a faith-based publisher of workbooks, planners, and journals and most importantly, home of the Hope Planner.
The Hope Planner serves two purposes…

1 – TO HELP YOU STAY ORGANIZED.  Like a traditional agenda or daybook, it’s a place for you to keep track of all the priorities of your daily life –  tasks, appointments, shopping lists, reminders. In addition to that, I’ve added my personal system of weekly “big picture” planning and monthly goal setting as well as progress tracking that has helped me keep my family and company on track. 

2 – TO HELP YOUR FAITH GROW STRONGER.  Unlike a traditional planner, its primary purpose is to help you make a place for Bible study and prayer in your daily life.  Because it is your trust in God’s direction that is the ultimate peacekeeper in our lives. 

This planner is not a Bible study – it is a tool you should bring with you to Bible study. There are no pre-selected Bible verses for each day, instead blank designated space for scripture and prayer. I know that everyone’s journey is unique, so I wanted it to serve as a clean slate you can use during each phase of your life, where you can pair it with the scripture you are being led to study at that time.   

A few key features to note….

  • It is undated so that you can begin devoting yourself to daily bible study among all the other things on your to-do list at anytime.
  • It has a 6 month layout out because I just don’t feel like I want to carry around 12 months worth of paper at a time.
  • It is 6″ x 9″ linen wrapped hard cover with gold foil.  So beautiful!

For women who are craving a way to be more “in Christ” in real life I can tell you based on my own personal experience that starts by spending time “with Christ” everyday.  The Hope Planner helps you prioritize your daily devotions before you ever tackle the to-dos and serves as a subtle reminder throughout the day that God is with you, wherever you are.
We are now accepting pre-orders for the first batch of planners currently being produced.  They are $34 each and will be shipping in October 2018.
I don’t know where this brand will grow or how many people will use the Hope Planner like I have, but I can tell you I am leaning hard into the direction of God in my life these days because of it… and if I can help one person or one thousand do that too, I will have succeed beyond my wildest dreams.
Here’s a direct link to our new website and the Hope Planner.

Thy Will Be Done

Recently I hear these words over and over in my brain whenever I’m not thinking of something else.   From the second I heard Hillary Scott’s song “Thy Will be Done” I haven’t been able to get these simple four words off my mind.

And I’m pretty sure it’s for good reason:  I need this constant reminder.

Thy will be done. 

As entrepreneurs we are always juggling to-do lists, team meetings, HR, marketing and all the admin work that goes with running a business while also exploring new ideas that present themselves almost on a daily basis.  Every day we work to control chaos. Truth is, I love it. I’m certain project management and risk taking is the ultimate talent given to an entrepreneur (and I’ll gladly take it!), but with that gift comes the responsibility of identifying where the line is between what can be controlled and what cannot  – and that is exactly what I feel myself searching for at this current moment.

I struggle with control, planning, every movement needing a bigger picture cause, revenue stream, purpose and again, plan.  Enough is enough.

Thy will be done. 

I don’t know the purpose of this blog, there’s no revenue plan, but I’ve always felt compelled to keep it, write my thoughts, share our experiences and potentially lead others. It’s something I cannot get out of my head like those four words.  Weighed against the mounting to-dos from our business I ask myself “should I really be spending any time thinking about this, let alone writing about it?”

I don’t know the answer, but I know I feel incredibly compelled to share.  So that is what I will do until perhaps the plan is shown to me through Him right here.

Thy will be done. 

I find myself being called to soul search recently.  And in my quest for whatever it is (still not sure), I’ve started with reading the Bible.  (Like actually reading the whole thing instead of just screen-shoting versus that run across my Instagram feed.)  I’m not reading it front to back, but instead started with a verse in Romans that I read in the book Thirty One Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer.  It spoke to me, so I started there and will continue wherever God leads me.  I am making it my mission to know the Bible.  I was raised Catholic and married an Evangelical Christian and while we both have a fervent belief in the Almighty God, I don’t have the habit of turning to the Bible for hope, learning, and prayer like Andrew does.  I don’t feel comfortable praying out loud. I have so much faith, but not much experience putting those beliefs into action and habits.  So, that is where I am putting my time these days.

Spending less time scrolling news feeds and more time empowering myself the written word of God.

Thy will be done.

I don’t know what will come about on this blog, but I will start with my prayers and paying attention to the things God puts on my heart. You’re welcome to follow along and chime in.  I am an open book.

Thy will be done. 

Sidenote:  I know Hillary wrote this song as she recovered from the grief of miscarriage and that has no comparison to the struggles of running a business…. but the good news of God’s word is that its healing powers transcend every scenario.  Whether when dealing with death or debt, life or logistics of a small business – God is there.

Dear God,

Thank you for this day.  I’m sick.  And while my first instinct is to ask for speedy healing, I want to first thank you for the ups and downs of life.  Thank you for the moments that force us to slow down.  Force us to stop and get off the hamster wheel and rest.  While I don’t need this head cold and the clogged ears, runny nose and coughing that comes with it.  I need the rest.  I need to be locked in our room all to myself to digest all of the clutter from our lives recently. Andrew and I are weighing so many new moves for our company and we are grateful about new adventure and opportunities, but that excitement can often bring distraction.  Lord, help me to remain focused on our business as it stands today.  Help me to not stray from our mission.  Help me to balance the desires of growth with the gratitude for what we currently have.  Help me to water my own grass. Bloom where you have planted us.  Take in every second of this day because it is a gift from you.  God make me a vessel.  Help me to answer the call to share and do it with my unique purpose. When I am stressed, when I am worried, when I am weak – turn my doubts to you.  Thy will be done.  Amen.