I wasn’t going to write about today, but God woke me up at 5 this morning in tears (again). I’ve had tears streaming down my face all day today — even as I type this they are pouring. I’ve cried every day, at least twice a day, for the last two weeks. These are tears of sadness, but also tears of the deepest gratitude I’ve ever felt.

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I have to tell you about someone very special. For the last 510 days, I’ve woken up every morning excited to greet her at the door promptly at 8am. We’ve had hundreds of sweet morning conversations about faith, family and a joyful little girl that we both love dearly. She’s seen me in my PJ’s after countless sleepless nights, through the thick of postpartum depression, through joy and sadness and sickness and in moments I didn’t know where to turn. Susan hasn’t been just Grace’s nanny, she’s been my closest friend. “Nanny” doesn’t even scratch the surface. From the time Grace was a mere 4 weeks old, Susan has been our angel. She has used every second of her time with our family to fill Grace’s heart to the brim with love and goodness. Gracie and “Miss Sue” have spent their sweet days together reading the Bible, at music class, exploring the library, singing songs, swinging and sliding in the park and sharing more memories than I can fit into a blog post. The giggles have been endless!

God is good.

Do you know why I know that for sure? Because I have proof of His existence through Susan. I know that He loves us very much and is watching over us. I know that He hears my prayers and gives far more than we can ask or imagine. Susan has been far more than we could ask or imagine.

Susan has been my partner in shaping Grace’s heart. The fruit of God’s spirit in Susan is so clear. I see that sweet fruit in Grace’s smile and in her laugh every day. I see it in her affectionate loving nature. I see it in Grace’s curiosity about the world and her love of people. I see God’s reflection in Susan and now in Grace. There is no greater gift.

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For those of you who have met Susan, you know her big heart. She was without a doubt created for great things. The kind of things that will change the world. When she hasn’t been with us shepherding Grace’s heart, she has been caring for orphans and widows, the poor and the sick. During her time here with us the last year and half, she has spent every Monday and Friday afternoon volunteering at the women’s shelter. Even yesterday, with her volunteering commitment complete, she decided to go give blood when she left here. I am so grateful to God for her heart! She is heading to France this week to continue her life of service in missions and then on to grad school for social work in the fall. Ari and I are so excited to watch her journey unfold. Oh how blessed those who meet her ahead will be!

We were so grateful to witness her baptism this past Sunday at Jordan Lake. Yes, baptized in the Jordan! : ) We celebrated with her sweet parents after and spent the day praising God for all He has done in her heart. You can read her testimony here.

Friends, I’d love to ask for your prayers for Susan as she touches so many lives ahead. I’d also love for you to pray for the wonderful woman who is going to be sharing Grace’s days with her now, Meredith. We all love Meredith so much and know that God has great plans for all of us in this transition. Meredith has joined us all the way from Norman, Oklahoma, and we could’t be more grateful.

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OK, I can’t fight the tears anymore, so I will let these few photographs do the talking. I wrote Susan a book (literally) of favorite memories, but there are countless favorites that were never photographed. As we say farewell to Susan, we celebrate God’s goodness today in blessing us with her these last 510 wonderful days. I can hear God singing these words to her today:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23)


*post photographs by Faith Teasley

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This morning I watched Gracie sit straight up in her crib on the monitor and say, “Happy day!” Yes, Gracie, it is a very happy day. I’ve had this song and these radiant lyrics stuck in my heart and pouring out of my lips for the last week. A peek below at the brand new prints I just listed in my shop. I created the Oh Happy Day print for our living room to remind us that, no matter what, we have so much to be grateful for. The lyrics to the song say it all.

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I’ve spent the last two weeks completely off of social media and it has been good. Good in a way I didn’t expect. I thought it would be hard. It wasn’t. I thought I’d miss it. I don’t. I thought I’d only stay off of social media for a couple days. It’s been two weeks and I could keep going, but I love y’all and I wanted to say hello.

I am still letting this experience marinate in my heart, but I have one profound truth to share with you today: when you let go of something, you leave room for your heart to be filled with something else.

As I’ve shifted my focus from a frenzy of online influences to the hearts right in front of me, God has been meeting me in the sweet conversations and stillness that I now have time for. We planted a vegetable garden (pics to come!), had lots of dinners with good friends, had a big yard sale for charity (the $516 raised will go to the tornado victims in Oklahoma — all my prayers are with them today), went to visit my parents in Florida and even baked bread this weekend. I learned a blanket stitch (from Ari who is a sewing pro from his surgery training!) and repaired a quilt that has been worked on by four generations — my great grandmother, Grama Bunny, my mama and now me. I hope that Gracie will get a chance to sew love into it someday, too. She has been exploding with words lately and had her first real conversation Sunday morning with Ari before church.

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Photo by the amazing Katie Stoops, who came to shoot an editorial for us a couple weeks ago. This is also my iPhone screensaver : )

Ari (walking in to pick her up from her crib when she woke up): Good morning, Gracie. How are you?
Gracie (looks up, pauses): Good! How yooooo Daddy?
Ari (stunned): Good!

It’s not all easy, though. In sitting in stillness more with God, reading His word a lot, reading other books (I’m currently reading Radical) and spending the majority of my work time writing a proposal for a book about how to make what matters happen, my heart has been challenged. Like a lion facing off with a tiger kind of challenge. Raaaarrr. God has been shaking things up in my heart, making me question everything we are doing and asking, “Is this what God really wants me to be doing, buying, thinking, focusing on? Is this what He wants me to fill my heart with?”

You see, Jesus didn’t have Instagram. He changed the world through relationships. One at a time. He didn’t have a megachurch or a megaphone. Just the powerful truth of His existence and the plan that God was going to reveal though Him. The plan of grace. The plan of salvation. The plan of freedom. I want that plan to be mirrored in all I do. So, I’m going to keep listening in the stillness and challenging what the world says is the path to success. I want to make LIFE happen.

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Another signature gold foil print up the shop now.

Social media, of course, isn’t the problem. Your work isn’t the problem. Distractions aren’t the real problem. What we need to question is our hearts in using them. I have found great fulfillment in using social media to inspire and cheer others on and try my best, through many failures, to lead by example and share God’s word whenever I can. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but that is the point, isn’t it? The gospel – the good news – is good news to those of us (all of us) who are imperfect and need it. It’s really good news. I want to continue to use every platform I’m given for good. Risking failure in that is worth it. Sometimes a break is necessary to step back and make sure you’re doing things in the best way possible. It has certainly been necessary for me. I needed a heavy dose of perspective and it’s pouring in like a river. I’m not leaving social media for good, but I am going to use it less and differently from now on. The last two weeks have been so sweet. I don’t have all the answers yet, but stepping back to see the horizon is certainly helping me find some brilliant sun rays of clarity that are illuminating possibilities I never knew existed.

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In the spirit of making what matters happen and making memories with those right in front of us, I’m giving away a Fujifilm Instax Mini and one of the new prints from the shop – your choice! We use the Instax Mini every day here in our house and my fridge and kitchen bulliten board are so packed with wonderful photographs of great memories that we started covering the sides of our fridge!

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TO WIN: Simply leave a comment here telling me what you want to make happen most in life. I’ll choose a random winner on June 11!

P.S. I sent my book proposal off to the publisher just moments ago! Oh my stars, this has been one of the most challenging and rewarding (46-page) PDF’s I’ve created. Thank you to so many who have encouraged me and prayed for me during this time. I’m so grateful!

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I read a book this weekend. Do you know what a monumental statement that is for me? Truly an act of God and I’m not just being funny in saying that. It really is. 7 is the first book I’ve ever read without using an audio version or skimming or stopping at chapter 2. I went with my friend Nancy to see the author, Jen Hatmaker, speak last Friday. In my heart I laughed about someone like me, who in a recent blog post professed to not be a “reader”, going to a lunch with readers of a book I never read. I had no intentions of reading it. “I’m just not a good reader.” But, God had other plans. I resisted. My resistance held out all of 24 hours until I found myself clicking “buy now” on iBooks Saturday morning. I devoured every word. In 48 hours. And friends… it has changed me profoundly. More on this later. I want to act on the change in my heart before I tell you about it. Till then, read the book.

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My friend Casey Chappell is adopting a baby this week who has downsyndrome and, while God brought them the funds they needed yesterday for the adoption fees (God is good!!), there will be so many needs for this new life ahead. Casey is one of my dearest friends and already has four beautiful adopted children. Her family inspires me to no end. My #SpreadGoodnessToday project is going to their adoption this week. Get your scripture cards and donate here.

My first draft of my book proposal is due to my agent for review on Wednesday. I have a lot of work to do.

I also have to write my engage13! presentation.

We have SOLD OUT of the Making Things Happen PowerSheets four times this year and I am so inspired the incredible progress PowerSheet owners are making, myself included. We’re putting a few fun upgrades on them and will be releasing the next batch soon. PRE-ORDER your set now before we sell out again. We expect these to ship in late May/early June. Follow the #PowerSheets hashtag for updates and to see how others are making things happen with them. Also, the fun notepads in the first image are up in the shop now, too! These are our press samples, so just one available of each for now.

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I’m so grateful that we are going to see my family in Pensacola this coming weekend. So grateful. I miss my mama and my sweet daddy and Grandma Bunny and my amazing giving brother… and I can’t wait to get Gracie in the pool : )

Our new nanny, Meredith, starts next week. We are so grateful for Meredith and at the same time I may need to attach the Kleenex to my hip for the rest of this month. Words can’t express my sadness in Susan leaving, but I know she will change the world in her work ahead. God has great plans for her.

He has great plans for you, too.

Why this random short blog post? I’m taking some time off of social media. Maybe a couple days, maybe a week. I don’t know. I do know that God wants me to focus on other things right now. It’s hard to say no to the creator of the universe. : ) I need less “stuff” and more of Him. Less mental clutter, time replying to Instagram comments and posting pictures and more focus on Him (my goal is to get through all of Psalms this week). Yes, I easily take weekends off of social media and have for the last 2 years running, but I need that same focus in my week right now in order to make the things I want to make happen. More time to write my book that I know God wants me to write. More time to pray about the big change in my heart I feel stirring like a tornado after this weekend. More Gracie hugs when I have a break from work instead of looking at other people’s kids on Facebook. More face time and less phone time. If you want to join me, feel free. The world will not end. : ) Less is more. I love you all!

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P.S. The randomly chosen winners of the Goal Setting Update giveaway are Lauren (print from the shop!), Mel (print from the shop!) and Monica (TIEKS! YEAH!). Email me your mailing addresses ladies and we’ll get your prizes to you. Everyone who entered, I can’t wait to hear your progress in July. I’ll have an equally fun giveaway then!

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