Friends, today is the day! After writing (and re-writing) for over two and a half years, getting on my knees a thousand times to beg God for the words He wanted me to write, and so much life change and refining, Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life, has finally bloomed. This has been a journey of surrender and trust–more than any other time in my life. I’m grateful for so many of you who have prayed me through this journey. My prayer is that this little book will help you cultivate what matters, right where you are.

I believe that small intentional decisions add up.

I believe good things can grow out of hard things.

And I believe new life can come from what feels lifeless.

As I wrote in Cultivate, “New life starts with a tiny seed, which must let go of its shell to sprout. There is power—energy, ability, great potential—hiding in each one. The magic is already inside. You just have to cultivate it.”

lara casey cultivate book

Order your copy here in paperback, digital, or audio book. I was so grateful to record the audiobook in my own voice. Cultivate also includes a 10-week study guide in the paperback version and materials for small groups. I wrote this book hoping it would encourage meaningful conversations and connections with friends!

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And now for something extra special: the Cultivate photo album. Here’s a peek into the journey of this book and our garden, chapter by chapter. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I did in putting them together for you.

Chapter 1: The orchid, Grampa Cecil, the garden covered in snow as I started writing this book, our perfectly imperfect peaches and a few peeks at Grace in the garden over the years.

Garden Company: The company we keep in the garden: Hootie, the butterflies, Grace looking out the window at the “magical trio,” and… the hornworms.

Chapter 2: Seeds sprouting and letting go of their outer shell, running a business from my house, and our Elberta peaches.

Be the Bees: Our lemon tree adventures! The day the first Meyer lemon tree box arrived, “being the bees” and pollinating the trees with a paintbrush, and enjoying some lemonade.

Chapter 3: Garden dreaming through the years and Ari making new garden beds after our season of loss.

All the Plants I’ve Killed: Our multitasking tree.

Chapter 4: Trying to dig old roots out and having to get an ATV to help us, and tilling up the hard ground of winter.

Mama Bird Knows Best: Baby birds in our front door wreath.

Chapter 5: Planting new seeds in faith, and finding out some surprising news.

U-Pick Memories: Blueberry picking at Wanda’s. I actually went to Wanda’s this weekend with Ari and the kids and brought her a book–she was so surprised and excited!

Chapter 6: Growing in the wait – our memorable garden meal with Kristin, waiting for Joshua (Ari and my mom helping with the garden), writing the Word with Grace while we waited, Joshua arrives, and six months later Sarah arrives!

Metamorphosis: A butterfly in the garden–transformed in the dark and given a new life with wings!

Cultivate book butterflies

Chapter 7: The thick of it – our refining season fighting anxiety and hard emotions, and trying to write this book. We captured photos of the happy moments, trying to cultivate what mattered in the middle of what felt like a mess underneath. Good things grew out of that refining season!

Chapter 8: Dandelions and savoring the harvest.

Heirloom Plants: My Great-Grandmother Irene’s Jonquils.

Chapter 9: Walter, the community God grew around us, adventures in the “magical garden” at the retirement community, and our dear silver-haired friends.

Celebration: Gracie’s marigold celebrations and making our bean tee-pee!

Garden Markers: Marking our plants with the names of special friends and family.

Chapter 10: Preserving fruit and memories, our pressed flower project, and a photo of my grandparents.

The Day I Thought I Would Lose the Garden: The day we discovered some unwelcome garden company.

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A New Season: Embracing the frost of winter and a collection of photos from our new season!

Thank you again to the many friends who have encouraged me on this journey–I’m celebrating you and praising Him for you today too! Order your copy of Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life and grab sharable quotes, graphics, and screensavers from the book here.

 

 

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‘I oftentimes forget. I forget the good that has happened in my life and focus on what’s hard or undone. I forget that I don’t have to be perfect, and I try do it all. I forget the big picture and instead find myself focused on the narrow list of what feels urgent today.

I forget the way home.

In the thick of it, I want to hold something in my hands that brings me right back to what matters.

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I want Grace, Josh, and Sarah to know the way home, long after Ari and I are gone. There’s a pit in my stomach thinking about it because I love them so much, and I don’t want to imagine not being with them. But the truth is I’m going to leave this earth one day. Ari will too. It’s a hard truth to hold in my hands, but it’s potentially the most life-giving seed we can plant, friend. It’s the seed of legacy.

I want to cultivate truth in my children. I want to equip them to plant their own gardens in this world and learn how to thrive God’s way. I want to cultivate a life that is focused on growing what will last longer than I will—not what seems exciting or enticing right this second.’ – from Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

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Bible journaling with Grace

Bible journaling with Grace

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The Cultivate sticker book

The Cultivate sticker book

She Reads Truth Bible

She Reads Truth Bible

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Painting in the Bible!

Painting in the Bible!

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She Reads Truth Bible

She Reads Truth Bible

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Photo by Grace : )

Photo by Grace : )

So, I began doing something that has been surprisingly easy and impactful: Bible journaling with Grace. Now, let me tell you that the whole idea of Bible journaling seemed too scrapbook-y for me. I tried scrapbooking and I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t keep up with it. So, when I saw people posting photos of their colorful Bible pages, I was hesitant. Until I had a life-changing conversation with Illustrated Faith founder, Shanna Noel. She talked about Bible journaling as a way to connect with the Word and worship God with art. She talked about it as a way to plant seeds of legacy.

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It all clicked. This was something Grace and I could do together. Our creative brains could run wild in the pages of the life-giving Word! I gave it a try one night. Grace was instantly hooked and so was I.

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I have gotten a ton of questions this week about Bible journaling with Grace and how we do it.

Here are a few tips and resources!
– We use the She Reads Truth Bible, which I LOVE. It’s beautifully crafted, thoughtfully designed, and it has great wide margins on pure white paper–a great canvas for Bible journaling!
– We also have a bunch of Illustrated Faith supplies from Dayspring and we use stickers from the Cultivate What Matters sticker book too.
– Having shared those things though, you can use anything! We sometimes just use crayons : )

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids32Photo by Grace : ) 

We have done it like this so far:
– We start simple. We pick a verse and highlight it. I ask Grace if there’s a verse she wants to do (she might recall a song she learned in Bible class at church or a story we read at bedtime that week) or sometimes I pick one that I highlighted from my own Bible reading that morning.
– I read the verse a few times and talk about what it means in words she can understand. Sometimes we talk about the history behind the verse, and sometimes we talk about life application.
– Then I ask her what “pictures” come to mind when she thinks about the verse so we can begin thinking of what do draw, paint, or put on the page.
– We draw or make those pictures on the page. I really try to follow her lead here with what we create together.
– Lastly, we write either what we’re grateful for that day or comments about the verse and what it means to us. One of us writes the date and that’s it!

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– Sometimes I write a little love note to Grace in the margins too. (There’s much more about that in my upcoming book!)
– We leave the pages we journaled open on the kitchen counter to see the next day till we do a new one. We have a stand for our Bible in the kitchen. The one we have isn’t available anymore, but I found this one as a suggestion for you to try.
– An essential tip: make it easy to get your supplies out at the drop of a hat. We have an Illustrated Faith bag in one of the kitchen cabinets that we can easily bring out and easily toss all the supplies back into when we’re done.

Bible journaling with Grace has helped us have meaningful conversations about the Bible while engaging her full attention with a creative activity. One of the best benefits for me, besides having good conversation about God and closeness with Grace, is letting a smaller portion of scripture really sink in. I end up memorizing most of what we journal.

When Grace is older, I’ll give this Bible to her as a gift–as a way to always remember the way Home.

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I hope this post has encouraged you to give this a try–whether with kids or yourself. Have you considered Bible journaling? I’d love to hear from you!

To help you get started, I have a great giveaway for you today! Win a She Reads Truth Bible, a copy of my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases June 27th!), a Cultivate What Matters sticker book, Illustrated Faith supplies from Dayspring, and one of our SOLD OUT Write the Word journals (we will have more in stock in August!). Enter below:

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

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UPDATED: The 2017 PowerSheets are SOLD OUT! I’m so excited for all of you who will be getting your first set. We’ll be devoting the month of July to helping you dig into them, so stay tuned to the Cultivate Instagram feed for lots of tips and resources coming up.

Want to know one of my top life tips?

Ask questions and be open to unexpected answers.

Think about it. How did you learn about the things you love most? You asked questions. You sought answers. When we stop asking questions, we stop growing. I love the questions you all have been asking me lately.

The top three questions I get asked:

1. How do you begin to figure out what your goals/passions are?
2. How do you overcome the fear of failing in your goals?
3. How do you stay motivated?

I created the PowerSheets goal planner because I kept asking those questions too. They are my safe space to get messy and dream and pray get outside of my comfort zone. They are the place I uncover goals that motivate me, how I prioritize, and how I take action.

Lara Casey June PowerSheets mid year goal settingMy goals and progress for June so far.

And that fear of failing? It doesn’t magically go away. Even better: your good goals become more important than your fear.

Lara Casey PowerSheets goals midyearAfter I did my mid-year goal refresh in my PowerSheets, I put my refreshed quarterly goals up on my bulletin board so I always see my priorities.

This might be crazy, but in an attempt to help a whole lot of people finally do the things they have always wanted to do–whether in motherhood, business, marriage, a career, or in cultivating what you have right where you are–I have a surprise for you:

The six-month undated PowerSheets are on SALE for $25! (regularly $40)

As of me typing this, we are already sold out of Teal, but we have a few Pink and White left. Once these are gone, this is it until the 2018 release! I shared my goal progress from the last six months on Facebook live today and answered some great questions. Listen in…

It’s time.
Time to do the things that have been burning on your heart.
Time to dig in, right where you are with what you have
July 1 could be your January 1, my friend.

Get yours now.

PowerSheets Goal Planner 6 month sets

I’m excited for you!

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Hi, friends! I had grand plans to write an inspiring intro for you today about how it’s time for mid-year goals and how the mid-point of the year is such a great opportunity for reflection and redirection. But, it’s time for me to close up shop and get the kids in bed soon, so here are some fun and helpful links for your week ahead. I hope you enjoy them! : )

IMG_0815.JPGA little peek at our office on this quiet Friday afternoon. : ) 

1. Get the first 43 pages of my upcoming book, Cultivate, for free! Thank you all so much for the flood of encouragement about this sneak peek. I can’t wait to share the entire book with the world on June 27th! Download the first 43 pages for free here. Enjoy!

2. Find hope in waiting seasons. I had my first guest post on the blog last week, and it was a powerful one! 

3. It’s okay to grow slow. Read my 3 reasons why slow growth is more powerful than fast–and get the new It’s Okay to Grow Slow e-book!

4. Listen in, kiddos (and parents). Grace and Ari have been listening to a fun podcast for kids called, Wow in the World. Highly recommend! Another one to listen to? I did one of my favorite podcast interviews ever last month.

5. Don’t just sit there. I have gotten so many great questions this week about my standing desk and stepper, so I made a page for you with all the details. I have LOVED the messages I’ve been getting from friends with pics of them on their pink steppers!

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5. Cultivate your prayer life. So many of you have asked about my prayer journal. I love it so much! It’s from ValMariePaper.com.

7. Get growing! It’s not too late to start a garden–no green thumb required. Start here. I have my first-ever garden tour coming to the blog next Wednesday!

8. Climb to the summit. (Ha! I couldn’t come up with a better lead-in to this one!) We had our fourth-annual team summit a couple months ago, and it was awesome! See the photographs and get a peek into what we did on SouthernWeddings.com.

9. Embrace the mess. I chatted with Natalie Brenner last week about motherhood and how I face challenges. Read our interview here.

10. If it matters to you, cultivate it. Did you know that I have three free e-books on the homepage of LaraCasey.com? Get your Marriage, Faith and Goals e-books for free here!

Happy weekend, friends! I’m so grateful for you!

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Woooeee, May was a big month! We pulled things out of the garden and planted new ones, set my homeschool schedule with Grace for the fall (I’m teaching her two days a week and she’ll be going to a “homeschool school” the other two days for the Kindergarten year), had an amazing Team Summit, added two new team members (who we will introduce you to soon), and I became a mama to a kindergartener!

Lara Casey Blog June PowerSheets Goals3Grace named our bike and trailer, “Electric Blue Lightning.” She is not technically electric, but she sure has some cute passengers!

It was also a month of praying big prayers and receiving unexpected answers. We had several FaceTime conversations with Sarah’s birth mom, and hope to have her visit us soon. This is such a wonderful and unexpected turn of events after a year of no contact. We also started meeting with our new church family group, which has been refreshing. Instead of meeting at night when our little ones are sleeping (which meant one of us could go, but one of us had to stay home), our new group meets on Saturday mornings at our house. We are SO grateful!

Lara Casey Blog June PowerSheets Goals2My little buddy exploring the Fearrington gardens.

Here’s a recap of May goal progress and my PowerSheets goals for June are below too.

My May PowerSheets progress:

– Plant the garden. Yes, little-by-little we are pulling out the pansies and replacing them. It’s looking great, and we are having fun getting out in the dirt!
Cultivate book launch prep. Yes! It’s time! Pre-order Cultivate here. (Pre-ordering is so helpful to ensure retailers have enough books in stock on launch day. I am so grateful for the many friends who have already reserved their copies!)
– Create the budget with Ari. We have made very little progress here because I haven’t made the time to dig in, but this is a focus for May. In fact, I put it on my calendar just now to have a finance date with Every Dollar next Friday afternoon.
– Lead a refreshing team summit. This. Was. Awesome. A full recap is coming soon!
– Prayerfully launch summer products. Yes! Our new collection has been such a huge help to me personally, and I have loved seeing many of you get your first set of PowerSheets and the new Fruitful Friendships workbook!
– Implement new team meeting structure. Yes! We have completely re-vamped our meeting structures and schedules. Instead of one weekly team meeting and two Cultivate What Matters marketing meetings, we now have a weekly Tactical meeting for the entire company (that is scheduled to the minute and so helpful!), as well as a monthly Cultivate What Matters meeting and a monthly SW meeting for more long-form conversations and decisions. We have also implemented daily standing check-ins, which has been awesome! We stand (no sitting as it’s supposed to be a 4-minute meeting to kick off momentum) and quickly share our top priorities for the day. We also see who needs help with tasks, and that’s it. Four minutes a day, first thing in the morning before we open our laptops, has been so valuable!
– Create a new date night plan. Huge thanks to my friend, Joslyn, for offering to help us make this happen. We love her and the kids love her too!
Hire a new caregiver. This is still in process and I would be so grateful for your prayers as we find the right fit for our family.
– Pray impossible prayers and be open to new possibilities. Yes! As referenced at the start of this post, I’m so grateful for the fruit that grew here.

Lara Casey Blog June PowerSheets Goals5We pulled lots of pansies and violas out of the garden to make room for new flowers. Grace was not at all excited. ; ) 

June is already shaping up to be a big month, too. The PowerSheets include a goal refresh every three months, and I was especially grateful for the summer goal refresh this month. Here is a video of me doing my PowerSheets for June and a peek at the new color coding process I’m testing (and LOVE!).

June PowerSheets Prep with Lara Casey from lara casey on Vimeo.

If you don’t have a set of PowerSheets yet, now is the perfect time to get one because they are 6-month undated sets. June is an ideal start time!

And here are my monthly PowerSheets goals for June:

Lara Casey PowerSheets goals

– Prayerfully and praisefully release Cultivate. It took two years to write this book (with a complete start-over and two babies in between) but in 26 days these pages will be out in the world. And I have something special just for you–the first 43 pages for free! I am admittedly nervous to share this. When you write a book in the middle of one of the messiest seasons of your life, it can give you butterflies to think of people reading the words you wrote in the thick of it. But, so much good grew out of that season and I hope these pages help you in your season too–right where you are.
– Pray impossible prayers and be open.
– Steward our budget well and passionately.
– Hire our new caregiver.
– Write a homeschool “starting” plan. 
– Grow closer to our family group.
– Solidify new team roles and rhythms.

nrp-olivia-SWfruitfulsummer-1045Join Jess and me every Wednesday this summer to talk about how to make friends as an adult–it’s possible! And the best part? No perfection required. Mark your planners: noon EST each Wednesday through June and July LIVE at Facebook.com/laracasey. See you then! Photo by Olivia from Nancy Ray Photography.

June weekly goals:
– Bible journaling with Grace. We have loved using the She Reads Truth Bible and supplies from Illustrated Faith!
– Writing in the margins of the Bible to Grace. (More about this in Chapter 10 of Cultivate. : ) )
– Love others as I have been loved–lavishly!
– Stretch my perceived limits to grow strength and endurance in my fitness

June daily goals:
– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal!
– #RunLiftPraise
– Eat more raw foods.
– Stay active in my work days —see how I do it here!
– Share why I have the hope I have
– Praise Him!

Lara Casey Cultivate Book

Oh, June, you make me nervous and excited all at once. It’s time to send these pages out into the world! Pre-order Cultivate here. (Pre-ordering helps to ensure retailers have enough books in stock on launch day. I am so grateful for the many friends who have already reserved their copies!)

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for June? I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! Congrats to May’s winner, Sara Ward!

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