30 days, 30 planes, 30,000+ miles and I came home alive.  Alive as in AWAKE.   The Making Things Happen Tour – (preceded by travel to Salt Lake City, Palm Beach, New York, St. Lucia, Atlanta, Barbados, Trinidad, and Miami) took us from Raleigh to Houston to Phoenix to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Maui and back again.  It rocked my core.  My experiences gave me fierce clarity that I never thought I’d find.  You can read our complete daily adventures on the MTH Tumblr page, but I’ve pulled a few highlights for you here from my journey with two incredible women and 100+ new great friends.  “Friends” is a mild word for what these people are to me.  Everyone I have met in the last two weeks is family now – a deep part of my heart.  There were rivers of tears, triumphs, and bold moves toward joy and wholeness.   It was the best two weeks of my life so far and it keeps getting better!  The adventure continues in our daily lives back at home (and on our Tumblr page) every day.



November 4: Houston. I want to know Christ. I want to be rested. I want to find joy in simplicity. Joy in breath, running, laughter and letting go.  A year from now, you will wish you had started today. Today could be the day. The day it all begins. Begin anywhere.  lc  [video]



November 5: I am praying for Haiti. I am ready to face my fears. For once, I know exactly what they are today. A text message I never thought I’d get this morning has me feeling all sorts of things. I surrender all. A song from that won’t leave me: I give it all away… so You can use me.



November 5: ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world…’



November 5: Houston. April, Jenae, Debra, Elizabeth, Amber, Angela, Cynthia, Danielle, Emily, Lauren, Judith, Lisa, Lara, Carrie, Caroline, Jenny – Yesterday was just the beginning. Today, now, in this moment you have the choice to be remarkable. Give yourself license to dream bigger, as you did together just hours ago. Make the choice to be remarkable. Life is just too short to settle for anything less than the greatness – giving, loving, creating – that you were created for. xo Lara, Emily and Gina



November 6: Houston Airport.  I am immersed. The last time I was in Phoenix was when Ari came home from deployment. He encourages me to love, to give, to forgive. Time to do something about what I uncovered yesterday. Thank you, new friends. I’m so grateful for yesterday. Time to act.  lc



November 6: ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.’



November 6: Phoenix is warm so we dove in.  147 photos.



November 7: I am refreshed. Sermon on forgiveness kicked me this morning. ‘Bless those who persecute you.’ I am so ready to take some big risks. Risk is the stuff real life is made of. Let’s do this Phoenix. lc



November 7: I want new. Ari said to me this morning, “So, I was reading pre-natal ultrasounds today and I was thinking I wish one was yours.” My heart melted. Being around Emily makes me excited about that. One day. For now, I want new life. I want to live what has been so clearly laid out for me with abandon. I don’t want to ignore it anymore. I want so badly to break through, to stop fearing the greatness inside of me. I want so badly to just. let. go. Currently listening to All Things New | Watermark. ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old had gone, the new has come.’ 2 Cor 5:17



November 7: I want to take a big huge bite out of life right now. ‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.’ – 2 Timothy 1:7 My heart is so full from today. I wanted to freeze time. Thank you, new friends, for the real, raw, honest, unabashed love. You make me want to own my life without fear. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Risk big. Run fast. Love deeply. Do not sell yourself short. EVER. You’ve got this. There is no fear in love. You are powerful beyond measure. lc



November 7: Phoenix. Erika, Jen, Carlee, Tiesha, Heidi, Kara, Heather, Wendy, Melissa and Leah: Don’t ever forget those tears. You flooded the desert and sprouted new wings just hours ago. It’s just the beginning. Now it’s time to act. You owe this to yourself and everyone around you. Walk the plank. When you get to the edge, there are friends waiting for you in the water. Baby steps. Bold steps. Then leap!  [video]



November 8: I am useless when I’m tired. I need sleep and/or Pinkberry. Meditating on: ‘Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest.’ Matt 11:28 When I’m spent, I focus on gratitude. So grateful that Ari is meeting me in LA on Thursday and cannot wait for dinner with my sister Kathy on Friday and spending the weekend with my grandma in Irvine before I leave for MTH Maui on Monday. Family is good for the soul. So grateful for the women who have changed my heart in the last four days. So grateful for the women I work with. Miss you KTW and EAA. So grateful for change. God is good. Time to fly. Time to rest. lc



November 8: San Francisco. I want to bathe in mayo. My skin is so dry from Phoenix, y’all. Then I want someone to walk all over my back and a cold shower. And the sugar in Emily’s purse. I need a Mentos moment.



November 8: Making a Chinese feast happen.



November 9: Good morning San Francisco. Today you have a choice: stay comfortable (aka stuck) or step out of your comfort zone and make things happen. Open, accept, give, act, forgive and choose to be the remarkable you that you KNOW you are. Don’t waste another gorgeous full day. Life is too short to wait for tomorrow. Start the wheels turning. Tiny steps build to big momentum and create new life. Make it happen. lc



November 9: San Francisco.  ‘I don’t want to be stuck anymore.’  Geomyra, Caitlin, Marin, Briana, Jen, Sarah, Ashley, Melissa: you are powerful beyond measure.  ‘Life is too short to do something that you hate all day long.’  Life is too short.  You are unstuck, my beautiful radiant udderly beautiful friends.  Make it happen.  We’re all together in this. [video]



November 9: Your friend is your needs answered. He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving. And he is your board and your fireside. For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace. When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you withhold the “ay”. And when he is silent your heart ceases not to listen to his heart; For without words, in friendship, all thoughts, all desires, all expectations are born and shared, with joy that is unacclaimed. When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain. And let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit. For love that seeks aught but the disclosure of its own mystery is not love but a net cast forth: and only the unprofitable is caught.  And let your best be for your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? Seek him always with hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed. – Khalil Gibran



November 9: Today I had this picture in my mind of running on the beach. Running hard, fast, pushing. Breaking through. I’ve been carrying a deep pain by myself. Until today when I realized God is bigger than any pain I have. God has this. I cried. I sobbed. The well sprang up as I envisioned myself running on the beach, free from the past, fully present in the NOW. I’ll be in Maui in a week and I. Will. Run. Strong, hard, fast. I will break through. I will not settle for anything less. Thank you, friends, for believing in me. Thank you, God, for clarity. Thank you. lc



November 10: Just one week ago we started in Houston then off to Phoenix, San Francisco and now here we are in Los Angeles – exhausted in the best way and fired up like never before. More clarity was uncovered in one week than an entire year. I’m so excited for the women I’m with, how my marriage has already grown from this work opening me and for all that is ahead. This is just the beginning. I’m so crazy behind on work from being on this trip, but I’m suddenly grateful that my inbox resembles tangled spaghetti. My eyes are clearer, my heart is new and I’m coming at life from a perspective I’ve never had. I’m so grateful for this work and how all things are made new when we just let go – when we fully surrender. When we drop in. When we get real, face our shadows and see that we are enough – right now in this moment. I am enough. I am full, clear, free and I can do the hard things today. I can send the difficult emails, have the challenging conversations and I can feel this fear and act on it. As I picture every set of eyes I’ve looked into in the last seven days, I know I’m not alone. Life is too short to go through the motions. Life is too short to wait another day – another hour – to accept the fact that I’ve changed. Life is too short to play small. Let’s do this, friends. Watercolor, Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Minneapolis, DC, New York, Atlanta, Nashville, Chapel Hill, UNC, Salt Lake City, Houston, Phoenix, San Francisco, Los Angeles and everyone who has been a part of this Making Things Happen journey – whether you’ve been to the intensive yet or not – let’s DO THIS. Today is the only day we have. Strike the match in your life. It’s so time. Everything is going to be alright. I’m ALL in. Are you? lc



November 10: Los Angeles.  I want to run out of this hotel and straight into my husband’s arms. I can’t wait till he gets here tomorrow night. My intense sense memory kicked in the moment we landed in Los Angeles and got my heart all tangled. I did not see it coming. I like to be in control of my feelings. God instantly took me out of my comfort zone. Living here for three years, so many visits as a child to see family, work, Navy life, growing up, relationships and memories of my last trip here – staying at this same hotel, grandmother in the hospital, exhausted from too much travel, heart completely torn apart – instinctively made me want to run. Sprint. But, I’m here. Gina and Emily listen so well. Praying at dinner with them gave my heart courage. I’m feeling this fear. It’s not fun but it’s time to rewrite this memory in my body. I am so grateful that God makes all things new. All I have to do is let go and let God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor 5:17



November 11: I am feeling all sorts of on fire today. Dealing with pain, facing fear and giving it up to God is where it’s at. So grateful to wake up energized, clear, ready to live life with all five senses. I am humbled and thankful beyond words for all of the inspiring friends we’ve met this week and will meet today. I am so grateful for this work and to witness people grow and break through. My eyes are wide open. My heart is so full. I’m ready to break out some hula moves with Em, Gina, Fred and Jory on Monday. For now, let’s do this, Los Angeles!



November 11: Make things happen, Los Angeles.  She believed she could, so she did.



November 11: Los Angeles. What a powerful, honest, life-changing day. Skip – the best guy in LA – Kate, Samantha, Katie, Helena, Elizabeth, Carissa, Melissa, Eve, Meghan, Amber, Tami, Carrie, Sharon, Katie and Kat – you are at the top of a rollercoaster that’s about to get awesome. All hands up!



November 12: I am so excited to be in LA with the man I love on a day that makes my heart sing. My grandpa Cecil – who left for Heaven 7 years ago today – was the most influential person in my life. He taught me who Jesus is. He lived a humble life – at one time selling flour and Bibles to farmers. He was a man of God, passionate beyond words to preach the good news. Father, farmer, tomato and eggplant lover, thick Alabama drawl, song leader, preacher and my grampa. He baptized me in our pool when I was old enough to listen and understand what it meant to be loved just as I am. Grandpa, I miss you, but you are always here. Every day. You are in my heart with the Christ you introduced me to so long ago.



I was just at lunch in West LA with Ari and my mother in law and I couldn’t help but tear up – and look up – when the waiter brought out grandpa’s favorite… boiled peanuts. Amazing. So grateful that grandpa Cecil lived the life he lived. Tonight I’ll have dinner with the sister I hadn’t seen since I was 8. Late tonight I’ll play in the city with the two women below who have opened my heart wide. Tomorrow we’ll spend the day with Cecil’s beautiful bride – Grandma Bunny. God is good. Today, I stand in awe. lc



November 12: Dinner with my half-sister, Kathy, who my dad hadn’t seen in almost 20 years until recently.  An email to Dad: Just letting you know I’m hanging out with Kathy and John this Friday. Ari is flying out and meeting me in LA and we’re all having dinner on Friday at a place she said she took you. I’m so excited! Then we’re headed to grandmas. I just wanted to say that I’m so happy you pushed through and tried for so long to be close with them despite their initial resistance. It was so worth it and I’m grateful to have more family. I just wanted to say thank you. Love you! It was one of the most memorable nights of my life.  God is so good to bring us together.  I love you, Kathy.  Thank you for making us, dad.  All that heart ache was worth it to get us to today.  I love you.

Grandma Bunny from lara casey on Vimeo.

November 13: We all visited Grandma Bunny in Irvine. Such a special day.



At 92, she is who I want to be when I grow up.  Heart explosions!



November 13: Gina photographed Ari and I.  More heart explosions.  I’m so grateful for how our love has grown.  The greatest work of my life thus far has been on my marriage.  The photos from today day are my favorites ever.  Thank you, G!



November 14: Church in Irvine with Gina, Em, B man and Grandma Bunny. Lots of grateful tears as we sang Amazing Grace and reflected on the last week. It has been a powerful time in our hearts. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears released.’  I don’t think I will ever forget watching Emily – full with new life in her tummy – walk down the church aisle to take communion.  We were all so humbled and floored by God’s work in our lives.  That night we all had dinner with my aunt, uncle and cousin in Laguna Beach.  It was a magical weekend, but it left my heart torn in ways I didn’t expect.



November 15: Back in Los Angeles.  I am in the hotel lobby waiting to see great friends – Harmony Walton and Steven Taylor. I am joyful yet nervous to write this. I feel happy – and at the same time – broken. Like my good friend Jen said to me, broken is a good place to be. Hard, but it means there is clarity and strength on the other side. For the first time in her 92 years, my grandmother showed her age. Amidst great laughs and some good conversation this weekend, she was oddly difficult and senile. It was hard for me to cope with. I felt angry and not like myself. It showed me how weak I am and, like Gina said below, how much I need God to direct my steps. I didn’t want to talk about it or deal with it, but the second we got to our hotel last night the tears bubbled up. It’s funny how tears start as one thing and, when we let go, they flow for so many others. I cried about loss and lots of hurt endured this year, my own weakness, being overwhelmed with so much work from traveling so much, exhaustion, missing my parents, open family wounds that Ari and I had to heal this weekend and I cried for grandma. Ari hugged me and wiped away my tears. This tour has been wonderful in more ways than I can describe, but honestly I am in need of stillness and rest. I have so much joy in my heart to give. I need the peace that passes all understanding. Time to make rest happen. Boarding a plane to Maui soon. I can’t wait to feel the ocean lapping over me. Stepping off that plane to smell the plumeria in the air will be a turning point for me. I’m ready to take that deep breath in. Currently listening to Captivated // Watermark.



November 16: Woke up with the Maui sun with two women who make me want to be my best me, in a place I never dreamed I’d visit, about to do the work that makes my heart sing. I am so proud of Emily and Gina for the power they’ve owned in their lives in the last ten days and the authenticity they have uncovered. I’m so fired up by a long conversation we had on our five hour flight last night…



I’m also really grateful to spend time with Fred and Jory here to renew our friendships. I just can’t believe we are here…



Changed from ten days ago. I almost can’t let myself enjoy this. Sometimes I hold onto moments so tightly so I can’t feel them. It’s just too much clarity and, if I let it wash over me, I know it would change me. My honest [irrational] thought: I don’t want to let go of the pain. I catch myself feeling like I deserve to carry this burden on my heart, as if I don’t deserve forgiveness or joy. I know full well that isn’t true, but that plays in my head for a moment as I gaze out at this ocean, recounting the last year. ‘Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure.’…



How did I get here to this place in my life? Why? What do you want me to do today, Lord? I’m open. Currently listening to the song that won’t leave me: Mutemath // Odds. And now… to act on the little grain of truth I discovered in San Francisco. I’m ready to run on this beach, hard and fast, and just let go. I’m ready to break through. Here goes… lc



November 17: I have been in full on dance party mode since I woke up at 6am. As we go through this process, peeling back the layers of fear day by day, feeling the fear wash over me, I have started to find a new clarity. Clarity breeds action and acting on fear – breaking through – brings immeasurable joy. But, it first takes getting real with yourself, putting the fear out there, surrendering to it and letting whatever emotions come up wash through you. It takes dropping in and seeing yourself as whole, no matter where you are, no matter what ‘mistakes’ you have made. There are no mistakes, only lessons. It takes brutal authenticity. Brutal because sometimes it means you aren’t pretty or perfect or right. I am so grateful. More than ever. God is so good and my heart is so full. So much to celebrate today, starting with the 91 new friends I have made in the last 10 days. 91 because one of them is me. Dance party ON! lc



November 18: Maui changed my life forever.  Friends, you are powerful beyond measure.  I will never forget this day.  God is so good.



November 18: Came back to the room to discover a note tucked in my laptop that changed my heart. A river of grateful tears. Just hit purchase on my life.



November 19: Last day in Maui, reflecting on 14 days of Making Things Happen.  My heart has never been so full!



November 19: Emily and Gina, I never imagined in these 10,000 miles we’ve traveled together that you would become part of me. Genuinely part of me. Me that I never thought I’d see again – or for the first time. I love you more than my heart can express, but you already know the depth of that. I feel it from you too – unabashed, authentic, real, new love. Thank you. See that thank you written on this Maui sky, because words will never hold my gratitude in the magnitude I feel it.



Through big belly laughs, baby kicks, grateful tears, bittersweet sadness, intense fear that we pushed through together, enough adventure to keep my heart happy for a lifetime, and the hope in things unseen – the hope and faith in Christ that we were gifted by unending grace – I have seen you and in-turn seen myself. Broken and whole in Him.



The change I’ve seen in you leaves me speechless. Do not play small. Ever. You have this. The authentic, whole you has this. Gina, dance it out and feel your immeasurable beauty. Emily, be still and know. You aren’t leaving for another 10 hours and I’m already so sad this day has to end. So many memories in these 14 powerful days ingrained on my heart.



No matter where we are in the world, we are together. IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING. No goodbyes. Go and do. All my heart, Lara



And today: There is only one word big enough to explain what we experienced in these two weeks: God.  God worked in my heart, in Emily and Gina’s hearts and in all of the 110+ people that we had the pure joy of knowing on this journey.  I couldn’t be more full of gratitude this Thanksgiving for all that was, is, and is to come.  Thank you, Gina, Em, and everyone who is a part of my life for making me look UP.



Many thanks to Gina for most of the images you see here.  To see all of the photographs from the whole tour, click here.



A year ago today, I took a big risk and wrote this blog post. Hitting publish on that post – feeling the fear and doing it anyway – is why I’m here today. Maui marked my 20th city doing the Making Things Happen intensive.  So grateful for that leap of faith.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Go and do. (Thank you, brilliant Natalie, for that!)

Love,

[a very happy, grateful, joyful] Lara



P.S. Want to make things happen in 2011?  Join us for the last 2010 Tour stop in Watercolor (we just opened 5 more seats for those of you who just can’t wait!) OR leave a comment here telling us where you want us to go next. Here’s to a brilliant new year!

22 Show Comments
  1. Lara

    I was changed in spending that day with you and in everything you have done to encourage me this year. You are a treasure and I cannot wait to see your first J Crew spread! Happy Thanksgiving, Melissa!

  2. Amber Housley

    Happy Thanksgiving! How about a MTH at the end of Engage ’11 in San Diego? :) I’ll be there!

    • Lara

      Amber, that is a great idea! I will think on that and see how the logistics work out. Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Brie

    Consider coming to Indianapolis, please. :o)

  4. jen s.

    <3. i have no words to describe what is on my heart. <3 thank you to you, gina, and emily(and Bman!!) for presenting this opportunity. thanks to all who attended the phx leg of the journey, for helping me see the potential in myself & in each moment. i will not waste another second in doubt.

    much love,
    jen

    p.s. you need to make a book out of the photos (quotes, etc.) from the trip. this post is dreeeeeeamy.

    • Lara

      Jen, so I’m in the airport right now (again. I know. Crazy right?!) and there was a book called “The No A##hole Plan”. It lovingly made me think of you! Wishing you the best Thanksgiving ever. Thinking of you a ton and sending hugs from all of us! xxoo

  5. Kate/MagnoliaRouge

    Well you know I think you should head downunder (as in NZ not just Australia!!)… I’ll stop harping on about it now :-)

    • Lara

      And you know I want to make that happen! Keep harping because I need to spread the word there to be able to book it. We’d love to come!

  6. JEREMY COWART :: LIFEFINDER « Lara Casey

    […] be my best. Gina, Emily and I had a great conversation about mentors when we were in San Francisco a couple weeks ago.  A vital part of the Making Things Happen intensive is to identify toxic people in your life and […]

  7. ellie

    If you come to NYC, I want to help!!! actually i want to help anywhere so let me know if you do need some help with 2011. Everyone should take MTH 2011, life changing and amazing experience.

    • Lara

      You are the best Ellie!!! Thanks for the awesome support. Secret that I’m making un-secret right now: NYC is on our confirmed list! Details coming. xo

  8. ellie

    WHOOHOO!!!! how amazing, when i hear more details ill spread the word to everyone

  9. emily

    I am ALL IN. you know it.

  10. Happy Thanksgiving! « Southern Weddings Magazine

    […] drive that keeps us busy. I love you all so much. I am so grateful for Gina and Emily L. and for the adventure of a lifetime we just went on. I’ve never had close girlfriends and I have found two soulmates. I’m so grateful for […]

  11. KellyW

    Odem, TX. NO?

    Okay, what about San Antonio?

  12. Bethany Aleshire

    Cold Minnesota would be point blank amazing! Thanks SO much Lara! Keep it going girl!!!

  13. Erin Davenport

    Hi Lara!
    Loved keeping up with you, Emily and Gina on Tumblr throughout your journey, thanks for doing a recap plus more here :)
    Come to the Santa Barbara area (or L.A.) Jan-July or Colorado Springs (or Denver) Aug-Dec! I’m on the move with my Air Force hubby (as in, I shouldn’t be writing this since I’m currently driving through NM on my way from FL to CA) and intend to Make it Happen in 2011. Can’t wait to meet you!
    XO
    Erin

  14. Happy Thanksgiving y’all! > BustMyBudget.com

    […] that keeps us busy.  we adore we all so much.  we am so beholden for Gina and Emily L. and for a tour of a lifetime we only went on.  I’ve never had tighten girlfriends and we have found dual soulmates.  I’m so […]

  15. Making Things Happen • 2012 | Emily Ley

    […] Life is too short to play small. […]

  16. Editor’s note: Hey you! When are you going to chase your dreams? | Live the fancy life

    […] me since I attended the Making Things Happen Intensive in December of 2010, was this quote that Lara Casey shared. A year from now, you will wish you had started today. -Karen […]