We sat in a team meeting, trying to come up with an answer to this question: How do we help people more often than just once a year with our annual print magazine?
Social media is great. Blogs are great. But, holding something in your hands is a different experience. It has the potential to become part of your everyday life.
That was a powerful realization for us. If we could get good words, and meaningful tools into people’s hands, maybe they would sink more deeply into their hearts. A domino effect of change could happen. Big change. World change, even. We are a tiny team, but we believe that what we have is good, and something the world needs: hope.
Our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings was a landmark issue for us. My marriage had recently come back to life, and our theme for the issue followed-suit: love never fails. Long before there were thousands of shops offering prints (and this was just four years ago), we took what felt like a big risk and made a gold foil print of those words to match our issue: Love Never Fails. Our hope was that couples would hang it in their new homes together and remember what matters most. We quickly sold out, and people began to understand and live out those words.
A few months later, in the Lara Casey Shop, we released this print, and this desk card, with the same hope: inspire people to cultivate what matters. Help people shift their thinking from distractions, comparison, and lies we tell ourselves too often, to truth. Life-giving truth. We sold out again. Having meaningful words in people’s homes, tucked in lunch boxes, on desks, and written on family room walls, was doing something.
Over the years, we have done notepads, prints, water bottles, original artwork, T-shirts, desk cards, sketch books, and lots of prints with my handwriting. We were up for creating whatever was going to help people get truthful inspiration in their hands. And then, we took a big risk and released the first PowerSheets, hoping that these goal-uncovering worksheets, filled with thoughtful questions and prompts, would help people uncover good goals–and take action. Four years later, thousands of people from literally all over the world are continuing to cultivate what matters with them. From one woman losing 90lbs and taking back her health, to students finding direction in their paths, marriages being strengthened (praise Him!), businesses being launched, moms finding fresh contentment right where they are, people being able to better navigate seasons of transition, and the simple things in daily life being savored more intentionally, the impact was–and is–happening.
But, two years ago, I started to feel restless. Like the feeling you get when your clothes don’t fit well. I had just gone through a miscarriage and we were beginning to pray about adoption. God was opening our hearts to things we never imagined. Lots of change was in motion in our family, and in our company, and some things didn’t match that heart change.
My website felt too flashy.
We were selling too many different products, which was a lot to manage.
And shop name felt too, well, about me.
We kept running into walls when we wanted to share more good words with the world. Using our Instagram name @LaraCaseyShop felt like we were selling things, even when we weren’t trying to at all. For instance, earlier this year, after I posted this about wanting to quit my business, and we started telling more of our new story, having the word “shop” in our Instagram name didn’t feel like the right home for what we were sharing. Now, don’t hear me say that having “shop” in your name is a bad thing. It’s not at all! This is just what we personally felt in these four walls with our specific story. For us, our name began to make us feel confined, like we had to talk about shop things since that’s what our name was. But, this shop wasn’t created to just sell stuff; it was created to help people. My friend Lindsay and I share a heartbeat. She recently did something similar with her company name and I love what she shared:
“I love making art. I love making it for me, for you, and for the Lord. I believe that He’s given me this gift to bless Him, others, and to steward well. So the solution cannot be quitting. The solution, it seems, is a mind-shift. The solution has to be found in perspective.”
She shifted her perspective from selling art to blessing others with art. And her shift has made a greater impact.
Is selling bad? No way Jose. I believe that God has given us tools and words to help change lives, and the money we make is a tool to help change lives too. We are given all these things to steward well. And for us, to steward what we’ve been given well, we came to the conclusion that we needed a new home to do it from. We wanted to break free of the title trap, and have a home that fit. We wanted to tell other people’s stories, too–YOUR stories. We wanted to simplify, live well, give big, and help you do the same. We wanted a home that was bigger than just a shop. Because we didn’t start this to run a shop; we started this to run this race of life well and help you do the same.
But, renaming a shop is a big deal. There was so much we’d have to change, and what would the new name be anyway???
Here’s how this conversation went for all of us:
Well, “Cultivate” is our ideal choice. This word has defined the last few years for us. We’ve tilled up the soil, gotten our hands dirty, planted meaningful things, tended to them little by little, and in the last couple months we’ve started to see the fruit. We are cultivating what matters, and the intentional decisions—and little by little imperfect progress–has been worth it.
BUT! Someone else has that domain name, and someone else has the Instagram handle.
So, that’s out. If it’s not perfect, we shouldn’t do it.
I prayed. We mulled. We discussed all kinds of other names. We slept on it (for about five months). But, Cultivate just wouldn’t let us go.
And now I’m in tears typing this. I wasn’t at all expecting them, but I believe this is confirmation from the Lord, once again, that He is in this. This isn’t about a company name; it’s about our lives. Little by little, change has happened. Little by little, God has been teaching me to grow what matters, in whatever season I’m in, with what I have, and that I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.
‘So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow’ (1 Corinthians 3:7).
God’s three answers to prayer: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind. His answer to my prayers about our company name was a combo of not yet and I have something better in mind : ) When I let go of chasing “perfect,” I finally found freedom and truth. The name became abundantly clear.
In a meeting, I said it out loud:
Cultivate What Matters.
We all got still.
CultivateWhatMatters.com and CultivateWhatMatters on Instagram just happened to be open. Would it be easier to tell people Cultivate.com? Sure. But, that wasn’t God’s plan. And God’s plans are always better than ours.
Because, you see, it’s not about just growing any old thing. It’s not about doing more or being more. It’s not about striving for perfect, or having it all together. It’s about growing the right things. It’s about growing what you’ve been given right where you are. It’s about growing what lasts longer than you. That’s what matters. And we want to help you get there.
My friend, Andrea, sent me this note a few months ago as I was in the beginning stages of writing my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases next May):
This past Sunday our pastor said something that made me think of you. His sermon was about work and how we serve the Lord through our work. One of his points was that we were designed for work. Work was part of God’s plan even before the curse of the fall. In discussing this he referenced Genesis 2:15 “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Then he pointed out that the Hebrew word used here as “cultivate” is `abad and that it is the same word used for “serve” in Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This just really struck me and made me pause and think. I love the idea that the hard work we are doing in cultivating our faith, our lives, our businesses, our children is serving the Lord. I immediately thought of you and your work on Cultivate.
Cultivating what matters means serving, blessing, giving, and finding deep contentment knowing you are right where you re supposed to be, mess and all. Flaws and all. Flowers grow through the dirt, and so do we, friends. And they don’t grow for themselves; they grow to bless others.
So, there you have it. Our new shop and company name is Cultivate What Matters, and we’re so grateful! In sharing this with you, we feel like we’re all coming home.
What’s ahead and when this change will officially happen: In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching the 2017 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker books (these are arriving as I type these words—wait till you see them!), and most importantly, CultivateWhatMatters.com (right now it redirects to the PowerSheets site). The new site will be home to a new inspiration blog, goal accountability groups, live coaching, downloads, and much more. Along with the Cultivate What Matters site launch, we’ll be changing over our Instagram name and social info to match.
And more change to share today—the relaunch of this here website! : ) These past two years have been a season of transition and change, and the glitter and flashiness of the old homepage just wasn’t me anymore. We’ve simplified it and included new photographs thanks to my friend Amy (now that I’m embracing my curls and have a few more kiddos around the house!). On the new home page you’ll find three free guides on Goals, Faith, and Marriage, to equip and encourage you to live out the words of our soon-to-be new company name.
The blog has been revamped, too. I’ve been blogging every week for the last six months, and I wanted to be able to connect with you more easily. A mobile-friendly version of the blog has been needed for a while; no more zooming in to read things. We’ve also made it easier for you to interact in the comments by using your Facebook profile if you choose.
There’s more and a few surprises, but I’ll let you poke around to find them : ) And we know a bunch of stuff isn’t done and there are glitches we need to still fix, but we’re launching anyway!
More about our new company name and our changes on Facebook Live.
There’s more to say and share, but in the name of done being better than perfect, I’ll end with this little prayer that’s on my heart right now:
Thank you, Lord. Oh, Lord, you are GOOD. I just took a big deep content breath. I feel You with us. May these changes, our work, and our imperfect words bring you joy. I’m so grateful for this change, what you are growing in all of our lives, and most of all, for Your transforming grace. AMEN
By His grace my marriage was redeemed.
By His grace we have helped women uncover clarity and direction—and found it ourselves too.
By His grace I am Grace, Josh, and Sarah‘s mom.
And now, by His grace, we share this story, and invite you to join us to Cultivate What Matters.
Thank you, friends, for all of your love and encouragement as we’ve travelled this journey!
To celebrate, I’m giving away a set of our new Flair pens (for you to use to write meaningful words in lunchbox notes, post-its, in your PowerSheets, or wherever!), and five of our new sticker books that are full of colorful, and genuinely meaningful stickers for your planner, PowerSheets, or wherever you want to use them (for example: put down your phone, drink water, take a day off, rest, and many more). Tell me below: what do you want to cultivate in your life?