Imagine it.

December 31st rolls around. You’re sitting down to dinner with family or friends, and you talk together about the story of the last 6 months.

What story will you tell?

The stories of our lives are made up of little decisions we make each day.

Do we say yes or no?
Do we start something new or grow what we already have?
Do we move forward or stay right where we are?

We can’t predict the future—our lives are in God’s hands. But, do you know what else is true? He gives us choices. We get to decide the next best step right where we are, depending on our particular season and circumstances.

If you’re like me though, thinking about my choices adding up to a new life and direction can feel exciting and also challenging. Why? Imagining a changed life takes faith. It takes believing in what I can’t yet see. It takes putting my trust in God’s plans over my own and stepping out on faith with Him.

I have to choose faith over fear! This life is the only one we get here on this earth. Today is the only June 1, 2018, we get. The things I do today have a ripple effect—changing my story, our children’s, and potentially countless others.

My little loves talking together and eating sweet peas in the Magical Garden.

To cultivate what matters, we think big picture and take small intentional steps forward.

A whole lot can happen in 6 months of small decisions adding up!

Come December 31, what story do you want to be telling?

The story I want to tell is, We stepped out on faith. We loved God with all of our hearts and souls and strength. And in the many times we were weak and messed up, His power was made perfect in our weakness. Look at what God did! Six months from now, I want to look back and see a family rooted in the Word. In community. A family in love with the Lord and deeply connected to each other.

What about you?

4 things you can do right now to prepare well for the month ahead and the rest of this year:

1. Write out the story you want to tell on December 31st. We can’t predict the future, but we can make intentional decisions in one direction or another. Write a few sentences about what story you want to tell. There’s power in writing things down—our brains and hearts begin to make decisions about them!

2. Make a “Move Forward Summer” list. I did this last week and it was so helpful—so much so that 90% of what I wrote down has already changed! In the writing, I started making decisions on how to change those things. Write out your list starting with, “I want to move forward from…” An excerpt from my own Move Forward Summer List:

I want to move forward from always being in my head. Hearing what I think people’s motives are even if it’s a story and not a fact. The more I think about a perception that isn’t yet a proven fact, the more it becomes my reality.

I want to move forward from often feeling broken, imperfect, emotional, too much.

Honesty breeds clarity, and wow did I get some clarity writing my list!

3. Join the free Cultivate Book Club. From now till August 7th, we’re reading my book, Cultivate, together—with a virtual book club party at the end! Join the easiest book club ever.

4. Get ready for Mid-Year Goals Prep Week! Starting Monday, we’re spending 5 days intentionally preparing to make the most of the next six months. And you get to choose your adventure! What do you need most?

Need a kick in the pants? Join us for daily live coaching.
Need help getting started with your PowerSheets? We’ll be digging in with you!
Need some goal-getter friends to cheer you on? Cultivate Community Groups launch Monday.
Need some real-life examples from others? Be sure to follow us on social for inspiring stories and daily pep talks.
Need some motivation to take that action step you’ve been putting off? This is where we’re gonna get a little crazy. We’re going to take those action steps LIVE together (I have some amazing prizes that will motivate you)!

All the details are headed to inboxes first thing on Monday morning! If you’re not on the newsletter list, sign up now!

The small decisions we make today matter. And they add up.

What story do you want to tell? What decisions do you need to make today to move boldly in that direction?

I’m writing a new story in this second half of the year, and you can too.

There’s nothing magical about January 1st—June 1st has a nice ring to it though!

Pulling out the pansies and violas from the fall with my mom!

Here’s a recap of my goal progress from May and my June goals are below too!

May Monthly Goals:

— Be a Woman of the Word instead of the world – Yes, I made progress here. It was a battle some days, but I tried my best to choose the Bible over distractions.
— Set our summer homeschool plan – Yes! More below in my June goals.
— Finish and implement Emotionally Healthy Spirituality – I made progress, but haven’t finished yet. Continuing to read this in June! Have you read it? I’d love to hear!
— Q2 rocks prayer time (we call our quarterly work goals “rocks”) – Yes, and I have made big progress on all of my rocks, praise Him! 
— Prayer journal date – This is a date with God to pour my heart out and get still. I usually do this on a night Ari is working late. I light a candle and simply fill out all the prayer prompts. I pray daily throughout the month, but having one dedicated longer time alone with God has been a helpful rhythm for me this year, especially at the start of a new month.
— Start Write the Word Wednesdays – Yes! See here.

After I write the Word, I write notes to Grace in the margins of her Bible.

May Weekly Goals:

— Praise! with the kiddos. – We had some challenges in May (hashtag 2 two-year-olds), but intentional praise kept us moving in the right direction. This came in the form of talking about things we’re grateful for, praise dance parties, praising God in prayer, and expressing thanks out in the garden. More on that below!
— Worship + church in the garden – Yes, we have noticed new sprouts and marveled at the bees that God made. I also had a really special visit with my mom. We gardened late into the night one evening and it was a memory I’ll never forget. I praised Him as it was happening for our meaningful conversation as we were digging in the dirt together.
— Celebrate others! – Yes. We’re had birthdays and milestones and it’s a joy to support such wonderful and talented friends—like my dear friend Hannah launched her new book this week and my friend Sally who you will read about in my June goals!

May Daily Goals:

— Bible – Yes, even though I missed a day and got really mad about it! Hear that story here.
— Pray over the kids. Even though they get super squirmy when I pray over them and somehow the mention of, “Dear God…” makes them all want to be silly, every night and at times throughout the day, I hold them and pray over them.
— Exercise hard – I am claiming little by little progress here! I’ve done my best to do small running spurts on our morning walks. The kids love going fast in the stroller, so that’s some motivation!

Also in May, I taught a live webinar that you can see for free: Top 5 Ways to Finally Move Forward on Your Goals. This was one of my favorite live classes ever! I hope you enjoy it too!

I took Grace to get a plant she’s been asking me for forever: a red hibiscus. I blame emojis! 🌺

On to June! 

One of my new co-workers (who you will mee in a couple weeks!) shared this with me and I fell in love:

“Far up in the deep blue sky, great white clouds are floating by; all the world is dressed in green; many happy birds are seen, roses bright and sunshine clear show that lovely June is here.” – F. G. Saunders

Hello, June!

My June PowerSheets above!

June Monthly Goals:

The Lifegiving Parent Book Club with Ari. This goal makes me so happy! I had a conversation with my friend Sally Clarkson recently that inspired me in the true sense of the word (to give breath or motivate to life-giving action). I want to be like Sally when I grow up. 🙂 She sent me a copy of her new book and Ari and I started reading it together last weekend. I told my friend Emily we were doing this and she said, “It’s like your own book club!” I love that idea, so that’s what we’re doing! The ingredients? Me, Ari, and this incredibly amazing book. It’s like spending an evening with Sally and Clay by the fire with some warm tea. I love you, Sally! So very much!
Slow down. Trust in the Lord and seek Him. I’ve been in a long period of transition with a growing company and growing kiddos and homeschool—seeking new balances as the kids continue to grow. In this season, it’s necessary for me to force myself to slow my thoughts down, giving my soul space to unravel and find rest as the rest of life around me grows and changes quickly. This is my most important work because it affects everything else. Practically speaking, this means talking to God constantly and asking Him to help me bend and not break. It means nourishing my soul. It means savoring His blessings. It means slowing down more than I think is necessary. More to come here!
— Celebrate Grace’s gift of music. I prayed for months about getting a piano. Ari’s dad is a composer, I have a degree in music theatre, and Ari is pretty musically-inclined himself. I kept imagining the presence of a piano allowing our home to be filled with music—creating opportunities for the kids to worship in song and have fun. What I didn’t expect was Grace taking a fast and passionate liking to the old piano we got on Craigslist. We offered her a trial piano lesson, thinking surely it was too early and she would get frustrated. The opposite happened. She loved it and her teacher said she was surprised as well. Grace has the gift of music. She faithfully practices every day without any prompting from me. She just does it because she loves it. Her first little piano recital is tonight and I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate what God has revealed in her!
— Summer homeschool – This summer, we’re focusing on doing field trips and outings (Museum of Natural History, Patterson’s Mill Country Store, and the Museum of Life and Science are all on our list!) with a little traditional school work mixed in. We also made a theme for each day to give us a loose structure: Make it Monday (crafts), Teaching Tuesday (Grace has dreamed up what she calls “Funbabies Homeschool” for the little ones!), Take a Trip Wednesday (library, park, etc.), Thoughtful Thursday (make cards for friends, help with a house project), and Friday is a wildcard. No official schedules here, just ideas and options each day to give us the freedom to make things work depending on how everyone is feeling.
— Mid-Year Goals Prep Week is almost here! This week is all about YOU and I can’t wait to coach many of you live! I’m going to be walking through all of the PowerSheets prep step by step and refreshing my goals too. I am so excited about this week. Get a peek at what’s coming here.
— The Cultivate Summer Book Club is already bursting with fun! I’m meeting so many new friends in Book Club Facebook group. Want to join us? Get your book and sign up here! 

June Weekly Goals:

Write the Word Wednesdays as seen here. I am loving this new weekly rhythm!

June Daily Goals:

— Chronological Bible. I’m continuing my number one goal with this daily Bible reading using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan on Youversion. (It’s a year-long plan but you can start today!)
— Exercise it out!

I noticed the crepe myrtles blooming for the first time on our walk this morning!

And now for a new section I’m adding to these monthly goal posts: verses I’m loving for June! I have most of these on repeat on my to-do list. They pop up every week to remind me of His truth!

‘The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way…’
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭37:23‬).

‘This is the Lord ‘s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us, we pray, O Lord! O Lord, we pray, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us’ (Psalms 118:23-26).

‘Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!’ (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭95:2‬)

‘From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!’
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭113:3‬).‬‬

‘Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you’
‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭116:7)‬ ‬‬

Ooooh those words are good! I sometimes repeat that last one to myself as I got to sleep.

Your turn! Do you have goals for June? What are you cultivating in this new month? 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, Aimee!

13 Show Comments
  1. Laura P

    My new goal for June is to write the word with my kids each day. They were so excited to open their new notebooks this morning and use fun pens and stickers!

  2. Cindy

    Lara…your words always inspire me at just the right time ❤️. This month I am cultivating summer! I have not had a real summer in 10 years because I normally take on additional work, but this year with our cross country move and all of the change…I wanted to focus on the joy of the season and time with my 3 littles. I’m cultivating faith together, joy and laughter. I told you once I want my children to remember my smiles and not my stress…so there is my focus for June!

  3. Sally Clarkson

    I love you too, sweet Lara. I am so glad the book is encouraging to you. Your words encouraged me so much today. Please come soon and let’s have a cup of tea and talk. Much love, Sally

  4. Marla

    Lara, thank you so much for sharing these thoughts! My word for the year is “simplify” so I am taking time this summer to simplify different aspects of our home, work (I’m a teacher) and to take time to play, be silly and snuggle with my son. We also started a garden this year…thanks for the inspiration!! Lots of things to look forward to!!

  5. Jennifer

    My new goal in June is to clear the mind clutter daily. I want to get the jumble of thoughts out of my head so I can focus on my loved ones in front of me instead of always being distracted. I really loved your comment about all the small decisions adding up. I’ve been trying to focus on all the small moments because I am convinced that those will add up to a lifetime of memories.

  6. Irina

    So thankful to God for “bringing” you into my life (even if it’s only through social media). I constantly share about you with my friends and many started following you and being encouraged by you.
    My goal for June is to seek God and make a decision about whether to homeschool my kindergartener or send her to Christian school. So scared I’m not equipped for it. If you could do a live on your homeschooling experience, I would soooo APPRECIATE it 😘

  7. Caroline

    I love this post! Our 17 month old foster son, who we’ve had since birth, is going to start transitioning home to his mom in July. So our family goal for June is to LOVE him well and spend a lot of family time together- remembering what Father Love has done, giving thanks, embracing the hard, and clinging hard to Who doesn’t change….step by step!

  8. Kripa

    I ordered the Write the Word for Joy so that I can start cultivating joy and contentment through Scripture! I often forget the blessings I have and I get discouraged during the present season. Thank you, Lara, for teaching and inspiring me through your books, blog posts, and webinars! <3

  9. Ana Robinson

    I started writing summer goals and have been so encouraged to start marking my progress. I can’t wait to dive into my Powet Sheets with your help!
    Two of my goals so far are:
    Practice forgiveness quicker without expecting an apology first
    And, letting go of control (of the little things, especially during the weekend when my husband is at home-he gets to have his own style at how to do things at home and with our children).

  10. Allison Passon

    I am finally giving in to my need to focus on me and start the healing process. For years I felt selfish to make my goals all about me, but I need to mend my relationship with myself. I’m in the beginning thought stages of this, but I’m thinking this will look like planned non-negotiable meetings with my Bible and my work neighborhood sidewalks, journaling, reading, cleaning up my physical spaces, and chatting more with my husband.

  11. Hollie

    Hi Lara, how do you teach your toddlers what grateful means? I’ve been trying to explain thankful to my 2.5 yo and I’m not sure he gets it.

  12. Emily Rose

    June’s tending list for me is a bit emptier, May was a super busy month for me so i’m leaving a bit of space in June.
    Having said that I’m also looking for a new house and job but those are slow, wait till I find the right one, kind of things so I don’t want to fix them into a monthly goal.

    I guess I’m trying to cultivate patience in my circumstances by leaving things off my Tending list, otherwise I would rush to get them completed by the end of the month!

  13. Amy

    My monthly goals are:
    Read through the Proverbs (part of my reading plan), Memorize Psalm 25 (my first memory goal ever), Contentment in my heart – this world is not my home, eternity perspective, Finish the book Life Lived Backwards (reflections from Ecclesiastes), Start listening to Desiring God by John Piper, Prune pictures on computer by 1500, finish 2 more months of my family Shutterfly album, continue off social media (2nd month), explore next year’s homeschool materials.

    Weekly:
    Recreation as a family, DR exercises, menu plan, go through one bin a week in our storage room.

    Daily:
    Chronological Bible reading plan, Psalm 25, step goals

    Enjoy your summer! God is so kind to us. I love the verses you shared. This is my first time doing the Chronological reading plan and I’m loving it compared to what plan I used last year. His Word is such a treasure!