I have been having a lot of crazy thoughts lately. Like, “What if I didn’t have Facebook? Or any social media??” And you know what? My husband doesn’t. He never looks at Facebook. Ever. He is perfectly content with just having in-person relationships, and he spends his free time reading the Bible on his phone. That may seem archaic to some, or “boring,” but I can tell you that he is anything but bored. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:21 He is focused on what matters and it SHOWS in his actions and how he has completely changed in the last two years.

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Photo by Caitlin Sullivan. Oh, what a life-changing two days this was! I love you all so much!

I told the entire story of our marriage at the Making Things Happen Conference a couple weeks ago, and it was one of the most passionate moments of my life. It’s hard to explain the feeling of telling people your true heart – the good, bad and really ugly parts, too. It made me feel, in a word, WHOLE. OK, I have more than one word… it made me feel GRATEFUL. The kind of grateful that wants to do a jig, hug the mailman and sing at the top of my lungs to the birds outside. Yes, I did all three. God is good. Real good.

Recounting all that we have been through (our marriage almost ended at least a dozen times several years ago – we were two ships passing in the night) and seeing where God has brought us is… truly miraculous. We both spent our days searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places early in our marriage. I escaped to my work and to getting “bigger” and to making money and to relationships that distracted me from what mattered. He did the same. Soon, we found ourselves constantly fighting, sleeping in different beds and feeling totally hopeless. We were miserable. We felt like it was impossible for anything to change. But, God…

“But, God…”

Those are the magic words.

But, God didn’t want us to fail.
But, God can make the “impossible” possible.
But, God can bring the dead to life.
But, God isn’t a God of “logic,” He is GOD.
But, God didn’t care about our past. He wanted our hearts.

I told Ari this weekend that I felt like we were best friends again. And we talked at length about how this happened and how we still have arguments and we get weary from work and parenting… but lately these things have made us stronger and they’ve made us see that God is with us. Our key to a strong marriage from what we’ve learned in our experience (from Ari): “The secret to success is the same as it is with God: give up your selfish desires. Live for another. You cannot be passive. You have do to the hard work. Jesus demonstrated this best. If he was married, he would have been an awesome husband!”

secret to marriage lara casey

Marriage is hard and at the same time, the joy on the other side is indescribable. And I know it seems impossible when one person in the marriage is or appears to be more invested than the other. Been there countless times, too. I don’t have all the answers, but I know what worked for us and continues to make us grow closer – keep choosing God and keep choosing love. Love never fails. God heals all things. Too much to say for a little post. You can read the whole story of our marriage here.

I need Jesus Lara Casey

Making Things Happen was about much more than relationships, but for me, it was telling the whole story of my marriage and how God completely changed everything that lit a spark I didn’t expect. It gave me a clear example of how ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

When you find clarity about your core, you have no choice but to act on that clarity. And, let me just say that the time between clarity and action can be downright frustrating. I know this first-hand! Taking action on what matters can be scary, but INDECISION is like jail to me. So, I choose action. I’ve learned that on the other side of “change is scary” is POSSIBILITY. DONE is better than perfect. And a leap of faith doesn’t mean you haphazardly go after something; it means you can envision a possible positive outcome and you believe in it so much that you have no choice but to ACT on it with intention… even though you don’t know how it will happen. You know that risking for what matters is worth it. The alternative is staying stuck and that gets you… in the same place you started.

And so… back to Ari and social media. You see, he used to spend his time playing video games while I worked till 3am. And now, having faced the brink of what felt like death to us at the time – the death of being totally chained by our sin – we are PASSIONATE about fixing our hearts on what matters. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2 Those words say it all. It’s not social media or video games that are the problem. It’s where your heart is.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS and physically doing something about it.
Making things happen means making tough decisions.
Making things happen is about grace, not perfection.
Making things happen means saying NO to what is holding you back and YES to what fires your heart up.
Making things happen requires guts. And fierce passion. And forgiving yourself and everyone around you.
Making things happen – the right things – will set you free.

I would love to hear from you in the comments here. Tell me where your heart is. What’s on your mind? I’d love to pray for you or give you some encouragement, if I can!

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P.S. I also hope to get to know you in person this year! I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share and teach at these events soon. I had a rather crazy February with 12 speaking requests in one week after the launch of my new website. So, I spent a considerable amount of time praying on each opportunity. I learned at MTH that I need even more time here at home with Grace, so I narrowed it down to just four. I hope to see many of you at engage!13, Americasmart, Pursuit 31 and the Influence Network Conference.

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  • Comparison isn’t just the thief of JOY, it’s the thief of EVERYTHING. If you are comparing your business, work, kids, marriage, finances, spiritual maturity, smarts, ___[insert whatever it is for you]___ to any other human being on this earth, you will continue to chase your tail and you will MISS YOUR LIFE. I am typing that in all caps, because I was so there. I chased “big” and “more more more” and “the best” and more followers and — you get the picture — for way too long. Until all of those things I had worked so hard to build by comparing myself to others started to crumble. Anyone feeling that way right now?

    Seeing people flooding to Vegas for WPPI brings back crystal clear memories of where I was five years ago. When I first went to WPPI in 2009, I was lost. I remember doing whatever I could just to ‘fit in’. I bought new clothes, I stayed up till 4am, I wore my heart into the ground chasing what didn’t matter. Don’t get me wrong, WPPI is a great thing. It’s not WPPI’s fault that I felt lost. It’s not ANYONE or ANYTHING else’s responsibility but YOURS to follow that narrow path. The path that not a whole lot of people follow. The path that leads to lasting JOY. Open the ears of your heart to what matters. Just because everyone is going in one direction, doesn’t mean you should, too. Everyone could be wrong. Follow the narrow path and do YOU.

    lara casey quote

    “Doing YOU” means owning your core, your art, your flaws and your greatness. Just thinking about “owning your greatness” feels a little weird, right? More people are truly afraid of success than they are of failure. Why? Because success means you will be called to step out from the masses and be a leader. It means you will be authentically YOU. It means saying YES to what matters and NO to what’s holding you back. It means stepping outside of your safe comfort zone and stepping into the potential that you know you have. For me, taking that risk every single day is worth it a billion times over. I am a different person than I was back in 2009 at WPPI with a different life and a clearer heart. I say that with conviction because just about everything in my life has changed except my email address. God is good.

    This week, I’ll be joining some of my dearest friends in leading the Making Things Happen Conference for 100 people from all over the world. I couldn’t be more grateful for an opportunity to hopefully instill in each attendee this simple truth: make what matters happen. Forget the rest.

    I could go on, but Jesus says it way better than me… Matthew 7:13-27, NIV84

    The Narrow and Wide Gates

    “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

    A Tree and Its Fruit

    “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    The Wise and Foolish Builders

    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

    Friends, build your house on a firm foundation. Stop comparing and start leading. Do YOU.

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    So, I got this shiny new site and suddenly I felt paralyzed. I had poured my entire heart into every pixel. The new shop exploded. I had to hire a shop manager ASAP. We sold out of a lot of things way too fast (great problem, I know). There have been a lot of growing pains. Good growing pains and a whole lot of change.

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    Friends, change is awesome but it’s also scary, isn’t it? Since our company’s growth (like kudzu) doesn’t seem to be slowing down, I’ve been thinking about how much change I’ve endured in my business over the last decade. From it, here are 5 Things I’ve Learned About Business Growth. I hope these little nuggets help you, too.

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    1. I tell this to all of my clients, too. Be prepared for sudden growth. Streamline, simplify, automate, pre-stamp envelopes, take out the trash, clear the clutter and give yourself no excuse not to succeed when “Oprah calls”. In general, it is wiser to use your time to get your back-end organized and streamlined internally than to market yourself externally. Do one in preparation for the other. I learned this the hard way when we first launched Southern Weddings in 2008. Our brand exploded onto the market and I wasn’t prepared, so I ended up working 24/7 and my life suffered. My work suffered. I bit off more than I could chew. I kept thinking that “getting bigger” was the goal. If that is your goal, ask yourself WHY. Now I make decisions from my core – a core that is grounded in what matters most to me – and it never fails. Sudden growth still catches me off guard at times, but I’m much better at navigating those waters now with full sails!

    2. Done is better than perfect. And another phrase I say to myself often: One thing at a time.

    3. In times of busy business, stick to your CORE. It will guide you and help you make efficient decisions quickly. The goal in growth is not to get “bigger,” it’s to get better. You cannot please everyone. And, if you are doing things right and being very specific to your core, you won’t please everyone. That’s a very good thing. Your goal should be to capture a specific loyal audience, not the masses. We’ve had exponential success by following this model in business. When things get crazy around a launch or magazine release, we are all on the same page because we know exactly what our mission is. These are the little desk cards Nicole made for each of us as a reminder of our core and to be sure everything we do aligns with it. How cute is Henrietta? She is our office chicken mascot. Oh yes.

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    I don’t have to micromanage anyone in this office ever. They know what our heart is and they are as passionate as I am about making that heart happen. Specific and small are the new big. Follow your core. Say NO to what doesn’t fit your core, and take big risks in saying YES to what does.

    4. Growth is exciting, but be sure to prioritize. And “prioritizing” doesn’t mean letting things slide. It means being more efficient. When you add to your company, don’t forget the rest of your business that still has to run and run well. If your core services fall through the cracks and you spread yourself thin, your growth is pointless. So, be prepared, be efficient, get more help if you can’t do it all and grow wisely. Use your time wisely. Get off Facebook. Make things happen.

    5. Don’t wait to start your big idea. Growth is scary because it can mean big life change, but isn’t that risk worth it for what you really want?? The timing will never be “perfect.” As my friend Ritchie says in his new book, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, “Don’t wait. Start stuff!” Stuff meaning the things that MATTER. Take risks. Take risks. Take risks! In the midst of huge transition and growing pains and any time you are overwhelmed, just keep choosing what’s right. One. Step. At. A. Time. But, the point is to CHOOSE. Again: Take risks. Take risks. Take risks. Don’t let fear or a state of “overwhelmed” keep you from moving forward. Don’t wait. Start good stuff!

    I love this excerpt from Richie’s book: “I refuse to achieve success at the expense of my life. The two – life success and genuine fulfillment – will have to go hand in hand, because I will not keep my head down for the next forty years only to look up at the end and say, “Now I can finally start living!… Don’t wait. Start stuff.”

    I use this quote a lot because it’s true: A year from now, you will wish you had started today. What do you need to start? What is your “stupid” idea that you want to make happen? Leave a comment on this post and I’m going to give away another copy of Richie’s book to a random commenter. Even if you entered on Instagram already, enter again if you didn’t win! I’m so blessed to know Natalie and Richie and to have the opportunity to share my story in this book. I hope you grab your copy before it sells out! I just bought 12 for friends, and one for the winner here : ) Can you tell Gracie loves this book, too?

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    OK! Speaking of winners, there are LOTS of winners to announce! All randomly chosen. Congrats to Laura Frances, the winner of my Instagram/Facebook giveaway of Richie’s book. You will LOVE it! And congrats to the three random winners chosen to receive prints from my new shop: Annie {little&ever}, Vanessa from V3 Events and Fiona Cheng! Winners, email me and I’ll get your prizes to you!

    SINCERE THANKS to everyone who commented about my launch. Your comments made my heart so full! After working so hard on this new site for a year and a half, it is so wonderful to know that you have been inspired. I hope y’all will come back often : )

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    This free download and more can be found here.

    And really, I want to hear from you so I can hopefully encourage you or pray for you. Don’t wait. Start stuff. Comment below and tell me what you want to start. And don’t be afraid to comment. I know some of you feel that way and you are not alone. Lurk no more and talk to me : )

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