Family Centered Planner Spotlight - Win a Planner and Plan to be a Winner

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I literally can’t wait for August 1, 2011. Along with the arrival of my son Eric home from Russia, I’ll be turning the first page of the calendar on my brand new and beautiful Family Centered Planner. As a time management geek, I’ve tried many calendars over the years and in recent years have largely clung to a digital planning system. But when I learned about Catholic Mom Michele Quigley and the products being created by her Family Centered press, I couldn’t wait to try one out!

I selected the large sized planner for the extra room to capture notes, lists and ideas. A gorgeous piece of Marian artwork graces the sturdy front cover. I love the organizational structure of the planner, mostly because of the tremendous priority it helps me place on truly living out my faith on a daily basis.

I’m very happy to share my recent interview with Family Centered founder Michele Quigley. Please note Michele’s generous contest offer at the end of the interview and be sure to register in the comments for your chance to win one of these beautiful planners. But truly, my advice to you is that you purchase your planner today, immediately, and start making faith and family the greatest priorities in your life, and share the contest planner with a friend if you’re selected in the contest – that way you’re guaranteed to win by getting your life in order this year, placing faith and family squarely in the center.

Q: Michele I’m so happy to share the good news about your Family Centered planners! Please begin by telling us a bit about yourself and your lovely family.

My husband Tim and I have been married for 26 years and we have 10 children ages 25 – 4. Four are grown, the oldest is married, two are in the military and one has a cabinet making business. Six are still at home and we home educate them.

Q: What prompted you to begin creating the planners? How has the project developed since you created your first planners in 2003?

I created the planner because I couldn’t find one that had everything I wanted. The first one was simply a 3 ring binder planner but was surprisingly popular that first year.

The following year I mentioned to my husband that I’d like to offer more sizes and binding options. He did the research and made it happen and we ended up with a large sized planner (8½”x11″) that comes spiral bound or 3 hole drilled and a small planner (5½” x 8½”) that comes spiral bound or 7 hole drilled (configured to fit some popular retail binders).

I did change the format after the first year but haven’t since. People like familiarity and when they get used to something and it works for them they don’t want to change. I get that. I’m the same way. That being said though I do understand that my planner just isn’t going to work for everyone and I do sometime gets requests for different formats –though at this point we’re still just too small to offer more format options.

Last year I came up with the idea of offering different cover options and that too has been very popular.

Also, we only did a school year planner the first year but later added a regular calendar year planner so that we now have both (Jan – Dec. and Aug – July) though they don’t overlap in that we only sell one planner at a time.

The planners tend to sell out every season. Because the planner has a shelf life we have to throw them away after a certain point if they don’t sell and gosh I hate doing that. So we made a decision that after a certain point in the season we won’t have anymore planners printed and we just sell what’s left. Unfortunately we learned the hard way the first year that if we discount them at the end of the season we’ll quickly go out of business since most people will wait for the discount. It’s just not feasible for a business our size and we really do strive to keep our price fair and reasonable. But, if someone orders before the planner start date we will always reprint more if we have to. The Aug. – July planners go on sale in April and the Jan.- Dec. planners in Sept. so there’s plenty of time. But if they wait to order until August or January we just can’t guarantee we’ll have any left.

Q: What are some of the special features of your Family Centered planners? What makes them unique from other secular planning systems?

Our planner is uniquely and specifically Catholic. It has the Mass reading citations for every day (ordinary form); holy days of obligation; First Friday and Saturday devotions; and a daily rosary mystery reminder.

It’s not a “Saints” calendar it’s a liturgical calendar. Each day lists feasts and ferias as well as the liturgical color proper to the day for both forms of the Roman rite liturgy. The feast days are those that the Church celebrates in the United States. Last year we added the Extraordinary Form (1962 calendar use in the Latin mass) since the Motu Proprio has led many people to follow both calendars and attend both forms of the liturgy. This has been very popular.

Q: Why is good time management such an important factor of a Catholic mom’s vocation?

I find that proper time management is essential to me fulfilling my vocation to the best of my ability. I would be lying if I said I was an expert at time management or that I always followed my own advice. But I do know that the times I make the effort bear the most fruit in my daily life.

Q: Since you’re in the planner and time management system business, I’m making an assumption that you are a pretty organized mom – is this correct? What are some of the keys to good time management in your life?

I try to be but it’s certainly not my natural tendency. I have to work at it and the planner helps me do that in a lot of ways. My husband is naturally organized and has told me for years that I needed a plan. I resisted because I was just sure it would crush my spirit. The truth is that it has set me free. Knowing what needs to be done then accomplishing that leaves me feeling like life is much less chaotic and much more manageable. Of course, like everyone else I have good and bad days but overall things just flow better when we follow a routine.

Q: For someone who is just getting started with committing to using a calendar or planner, what are a few recommendations you can give for getting started with being more organized about your time?

Be realistic. If you’re just starting take baby steps. My natural bent is ‘all or nothing’ but that only leads to discouragement. Tackle one thing at a time and make it a habit, then move on to the next thing.

I had to train myself to LOOK at my planner everyday because I found that simply writing things in it didn’t just make it happen. 🙂 I keep my planner open on a book stand by my computer so I can see at a glance what’s going on and since it isn’t lying flat on my desk, things can’t be piled on top of it.

Q: What have been some of the greatest blessings you’ve experienced from employing and share Family Centered planners?

The people who buy our planners are wonderful. They share their stories with us, encourage us and truly humble us with their kindness. I never cease to be amazed at the way God works. Just recently at a conference a woman came up to me and told me that my planner had saved her home school. I wanted to cry because I know how inadequate I am and yet God uses that anyway and beautiful things happen. It’s truly a blessing.

Q: What are your plans and goals for the future of your Family Centered apostolate?

There are several projects ideas that we are working on. We really have a heart for doing what we can to promote family life but we have to be very discerning. I have a tendency to want to run headlong into things but thankfully my husband is wise and patient. Our own family absolutely has to come first and because of that we’ve had to say no to some really great ideas. We’re truly just trying to listen and move forward as the Holy Spirit guides. Life has been tumultuous the last several years as two of our children were diagnosed with a chronic disease that requires daily attention. It’s taught us some very valuable lessons about what is and isn’t possible as well as what’s ultimately important.

It also meant we stopped shipping outside the US. It’s just more than I can manage right now since international shipping requires a trip to the post office and standing in line while domestic shipping can be done from home and picked up at my door. That being said I do hope to be able to return to offering it in the near future.

Something that’s very important to us is continuing to offer a quality product. As such we’ve found it important to limit our focus lest we become too scattered. In addition to being the production manager of our business (we punch and bind all the planners ourselves) my husband works a full time job M-F and directs the RCIA program at our parish. I handle orders, customer service and do the actual making of the planner on the computer –which can literally takes months since I enter everything by hand and have to squeeze it all in in between homemaking, homeschooling, and helping my husband with RCIA. It’s a wonderful life but it is indeed quite full. Our older children lend a hand and we work hard to keep everything “Family Centered”!

Visit the Family Centered website and order your planner today!

Contest Alert: Michele Quigley has generously offered our readers a chance to win your pick of one Family Centered Planner. To enter, leave a comment below by Monday, July 25 at midnight pacific time. Only readers with United States mailing addresses are eligible to enter this contest – the winner will choose from the selection of products at Family Centered. Update: Congratulations to Debbie, the winner of our Family Centered Planner. Enjoy!

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

81 Comments

  1. I love the idea of a Catholic Family Planner. Organization is one of the areas I’m asking Our Lord to help me in because I do agree that being more organized would help me be more effective in my vocation as a Catholic wife and mom.

  2. Vicki Thurmond on

    This sounds like an awesome product. I will be praying for continued success for your business and continued healing for your children.

  3. Love the idea of a “Catholic” planner… I’d feel honored to win one!! and am looking forward to sharing this site with my Catholic Bible Study friends.

  4. Jen Hrazanek on

    It is absolutely true that writing everything down and having a plan are essential to living one’s vocation as a Catholic wife and mother to the maximum. It helps me avoid being late and double booking, my worst time management habit. The intertwining of liturgical obligations and reminders into the plans of my day sounds like an excellent way to keep the earthly and the heavenly all in one place!

  5. These planners look so great. I would LOVE to win one of them, thanks for the opportunity. Would sure keep my homeschooling year organized.

  6. Susan Blackwell on

    This is beautiful!!! In raising ten children I have NEVER been organized : ) Not even when I homeschooled, this would have been such a help. But it’s never too late, I realy need to get one of these beautiful planners.

  7. Julie Meintel on

    This looks like a wonderful planner and I bet it would help me stay on top of my hectic schedule! I’d love a chance to win one, but even if I don’t, I’ll be looking to get my hands on one anyway.

  8. This is perfect for my family! I am super-organized, but have yet to figure out how to incorporate these skills while stressing the importance of faith. With two busy parents and an ever-expanding family, this would greatly benefit us!!

  9. I spend too much time trying to be neat and organized, but seem to be always looking for important papers. St Anthony knows me well!I have notes,appointment slips,grocery lists,library lists, field trips,Holy Days,First Communion classes and school supply lists all over my desk and the kitchen and my office.I have been looking for a planner that could contain it all. It has to be Catholic.I would love to support another Catholic mom and homeschooler.It sounds as if Michele Quigley heard me. Thank you and God Bless you.

  10. I love the idea of putting the calendar on a book stand. My desk is tiny, and my calendar is in a binder, buried at the moment under papers, a magazine, and some other things that don’t even belong on the desk! A few years ago I was specifically looking for a calendar with the liturgical calendar–sounds like a fabulous product.

  11. Michelle, I love your remark that the first imp’t thing is to LOOK at it each day. Every year I start a different planner,hoping this year’s version will somehow make me more organized. I use it faithfully for the first month or two, and then the darn thing just becomes part of the decor. I forget to look at it and start missing appointments. Then I start forgetting to write new ones in it. It gets lost under papers, or shoved in a drawer and forgotten. I’d love to win your lovely planner and try once more, but think of developing a new one with some sort of motion detector that sets of a little recording that says “look at me.”

  12. I also LOVE these planners…and the Angelus cover is my #1 choice…what a lovely reminder to stop everything to pray! God bless your day!

  13. I really like this planner and have been using it for several years now. I was SO HAPPY to finally find a CATHOLIC PLANNER ~ I now have prayers, daily readings AND Saint of the Day all in one place without having to search for that information. As a busy homeschool mom, this helps keep my day a bit more organized. THANK YOU!

  14. The use of a Catholic Planner is necessary for those of us that use daily readings as part of our prayer routine. More so if we share this with our family. It is a great tool to use. Hope to win it!

  15. I would sooo love one of these planners. I love anything that keeps me focused on God and my faith but that I can use for my everyday life. What a great giveaway! Thanks!

  16. Elizabeth Morris on

    I would love to be entered. I’m constantly trying something different, and with #7 due in the fall, I could use some help. 🙂

  17. I could really use a planner like this! I am going to be a (Homeshooled) Sophomore in the fall and I am President of a Pro-Life group, so it would be helpful to have such an awesome Catholic Daily Planner to use to keep track of everything.:)

  18. I love the design of these planners!! I would love to have one! I will definitely be checking into these for myself and my mom.

  19. What a great idea! I have tried many different “mom” planners over the years. A Catholic one will help me stay faith focused in my daily activities.

  20. My wife uses a three-year, secular planner and pulls it out all the time. Yours would be a marvelous evangelization tool for her. Have you thought of producing a multi-year planner?

  21. I pride myself on being organized but never can find just the right planner to meet my needs! Would absolutely love to try one of your prayers and believe that will also be a constant reminder of my priorities……..God…..self……family!

  22. Not being a naturally organized person I’m always looking for ways to make a schedule work in my daily life – it takes discipline! I’m making that my goal for the new school year.

  23. Kate Daneluk on

    I don’t know if I am eligible for the contest as a contributor to CatholicMom, but Michelle is a lovely person and I really should get a better planner. I’d love to see Michelle’s planner with all its features made into an app. (especially if I finally get a smarter phone) Michelle, we must get you shipping overseas. Email us!

  24. I bought one of these planners for the first time last year and loved it! The artwork on the cover was beautiful and inspiring. Would love to win one for this year. Thanks!

  25. I’ve used these planners in the past and greatly enjoyed the format and liturgical/feast day reminders. I need organization in my life again!

  26. Candace Mack on

    I am always trying new planners but can never find one that has everything I need. Maybe this one is it!

  27. I keep hearing about this beautiful planner! I’d love to win a copy. The artwork and lists of holy days and prayers are just what a I need to start my day! Thanks for this contest.

  28. Barbara Lancaster on

    Hello,
    Your planner looks beautiful!!! Unfortunatly, I have just made a change to an electronic calendar. Will you be able to offer this planner in an electronic form that works with Outlook or AnyTime Organizer?
    Thank you,
    Barbara Lancaster

  29. Ok so I realize this thread is from almost a year ago but I’m so stinkin’ excited I had to reply anyway! This will be our first full year homeschooling and this planner looks to be exactly what I’ve been praying to find! I LOVE that it will help us to weave our Catholic faith throughout our day and I’ve been seriously in need of some meal planning organization for a while now. Thank you so much for developing such a beautiful product!!! Just ordered mine last night and can hardly wait to get it in the mail! 🙂

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