Well, friends…

A lot has happened since I wrote to you 32 days ago! As I was writing my June goals post to you, the Southern Weddings announcement day was coming a few days later. I was admittedly nervous—I cried just about every day for two weeks (sometimes a few tears and sometimes a legit ugly cry!), partly in sadness but mostly in gratitude for the last decade. I was nervous, but also excited to share the news with you and be able to move forward past the unknown of, “How is this announcement going to go??”

The Southern Weddings transition occupied much of my heart and my prayers over the last year. While letting go of good things—especially things that have been a part of my life for so long—was bittersweet, we are all grateful to have stepped into a new chapter. I can share with you now, with even greater confidence than ever before, that pruning is good. At some points in our lives, we have to let go in order to grow.

But, pruning our lives can be hard, right? 

Even letting go of these peach buds on our tree felt like cutting off good fruit. But, we do it to make the other fruit sweeter. The tree can rest a little and not be spread so thin. It’s the same with our lives, right? When we let go of trying to do it all, we make room for the right things to grow well.

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

June Monthly Goals:

— The Lifegiving Parent Book Club with Ari. — We are four chapters in, and this book has blown me away! It has changed the way I look at parenting and our home. I have dogeared so many pages. A favorite quote of many: “You cannot teach your children what you don’t already know. Moses made that clear in the Shema: ‘These commandments that I give to you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children’ (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; emphasis added). You cannot impress on your children’s hearts what is not already on your own. …. You both are feeding them from the life of God that is in your own spirits…” A simple but profound truth. It’s not about checking things off a list as a parent; it’s about Whose I am first. It starts with me.

My three little loves “fishing” in the pond nearby—in their PJ’s no less! 🙂 

— Slow down. Trust in the Lord and seek Him. — Read more about this and all of my June goals here. There was so much progress made here, especially with the kids. I took them to a farm for a few days while Ari was out of town for work. We fished, picked berries, and ate tomatoes fresh off the vine.

My little buddy’s mind was blown during our stay at Vollmer Farm. This all-organic farm is a gem, especially for kids. We can’t wait to go back!

But, it’s not just this little magical trip that slowed me down— it has been the little moments that added up all month. It has been moments at the pond in the morning, taking the kids to the magical garden on our walks, noticing butterflies and bees on our zinnias, and finally doing something I’ve been wanting to do!

Trying something new lately—bringing my prayer journal on our morning walks to pray out loud with the kiddos.

It has been putting my head in the Word instead of in the world and praying out loud throughout the day when I’m tempted to complain out loud instead. It has been many little things that have added up to the big things. This is cultivating. Little by little, with many missteps along the way (and there have been many missteps!), life can grow in a new direction. I feel a new peace as we enter July.

— Celebrate Grace’s gift of music. After seeing her take to the piano so quickly, I spent some time in June intentionally exposing her heart to music—and something is growing inside her! We’ve listened to Debussy during morning time for the last few weeks, sung her VBS songs a million times over in the car (I love listening to her sing with joy!), and I’ve started to teach all the kids how to listen for different instruments in various types of music. It’s pretty simple. When music is playing, I ask, “What instruments do you hear?” I help them differentiate between them and we pretend to play them in the air. We’ve listened to everything from jazz to old musicals to bluegrass and Aaron Copland this week for the 4th of July. (I am especially grateful for our Echo—Alexa is our musical tour guide! :))

— Summer homeschool – We’re keeping things loose and just doing morning time together and some afternoons. I’m getting excited for the fall too. We’ve done a lot of learning “as we go” this summer—on the farm, in the garden, at the grocery store… I teach them everywhere!
— Mid-Year Goals Prep Week – What an energizing week this was. I loved doing live goal-coaching with you!
— The Cultivate Summer Book Club – Yes! I have loved going through each chapter alongside you.

June Weekly Goals:

Write the Word Wednesdays. — Still going strong here! I am loving this new weekly rhythm. I let the kids color in my Write the Word journal, too!

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!) – So, we’re in Kings and it’s not my favorite reading. It’s bloody and there were so many bad kings. Having said that, though, I am learning so much about God’s heart and these chapters are convicting of my own sin!
— Exercise it out! – Does bouncing on the bouncy pillow count? : )

Also in June, I loved chatting about how I started my business and challenges along the way with Chrystal Evans Hurst!

On to July! We’re officially at the halfway point of the year! The quarterly Goal Refresh in the PowerSheets was, once again, right on time. Checking in on each area of my life gave me a clear picture of where I am, what has grown, and what I want to cultivate in the months ahead. My PowerSheets consistently help me simplify my focus!

July Monthly Goals:

— PEACE—bring the life of God to my family—it starts with me! “Peace” has been jumping out at me at every turn lately. In my Bible reading, in songs, in my prayers—everywhere. So, I’m listening and I started to study it a little. I found this definition that struck me: “Peace, or shalom, comes from aligning with His purposes and it comes from His presence.” This is my top priority this month—to trust Him and experience His peace as I let go.
Book Club with God. I’m working this month to spend time by myself with God.
— Team Summit with Your joy. Our team summit is coming next week! Eeeee!!! I can’t wait for us to all be together!
— Product shoot with Your joy. Our big fall product shoot is immediately after our summit!
— Fully step into the Visionary role. In our company, we follow the Traction model. I’ve been making progress over the last quarter to fully step into the Visionary role, and this month I am working extra hard to solidify this.
— Scatter joy in the Cultivate Book Club. Want to join us? It’s not too late! Get your book and sign up here.

Lots of happenings in July!

July Weekly Goals:

— Give the kids opportunities to experience Your Spirit, Lord. I love teaching our kids—and giving them opportunities to experience and discover Him on their own. This is very simple in practice. For instance, if I bring them to a garden, I don’t need to tell them what to do—they innately know how to explore and play! I can explore alongside them and be their guide to notice God’s faithfulness, but I’ve been trying to let go more here and see what they notice, too. This month, I’m focusing on bringing them to places and experiences where their hearts can discover Him—a garden, a sunrise, a creek, a bowl of berries we picked together, a stack of books. It’s a simple idea that I already see growing their hearts.
Build team members up in the Lord. Part of my Visionary role that I’d like to grow this month is to build up each individual team member and help her to thrive. I love the women I work alongside and have been shifting my role to be a mentor who trains up young leaders, instead of doing all the leading myself.
— Write the Word Wednesdays. I’ve been doing my own Write the Word journal each Wednesday morning while the kids do theirs (and sometimes color in mine like you saw above!). We break out the stickers and have fun all doing it together. Since Josh and Sarah are too little to write, they each do some scribbling, but there’s a good lesson even in sitting at the table to do a shared activity and talk about the Bible verse that Grace is writing. I have been working on helping Josh memorize the letters in his name and I help him trace them in his journal each week. There are lots of ways to get creative and keep it simple with little ones!

My July goals in my PowerSheets above. If you can’t tell, I love our stickers!!

July 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.
— Strength + Joy + Peace – This is my goal to strength train, and I phrased it this way because it motivates me to look at the big picture. I want to feel strength and joy in the journey. In making progress, I will feel peace knowing I am moving forward on taking care of the body God gave me so I can love my family well! (Tip: word your goals however they most motivate you!)
— Have FUN—joy in the Lord! Freedom in Christ brings joy and I want to use that freedom for good things this month!

I love this of Grace and Sarah out on the bouncy pillow thing on the farm at 6 am!

Verses I’m loving for July:

‘You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you’ (Isaiah 26:3).

‘You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety’ (Psalm 4:7-8).

‘… redirect your heart and spread out your hands to Him in prayer’ (Job 11:13).

‘… to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace’ (Romans 8:6).

Perry’s Mill Pond—Hi, Grace!

Your turn! Do you have goals for July? 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 June’s winner, MacKenzie!

P.S. My first book, Make it Happen, and three other favorites are up to 25% off this week!

22 Show Comments
  1. Taylor

    This month I’m working on creating a budget for our family to help our financial situation improve. I’m also focused on bringing Christ into our home everyday as I pray with my new baby and my husband.

  2. Clementine

    Last month, I started treatment for an eating disorder and a lot of anxiety and childhood trauma that still really negatively affects me. I go to rehab every single day during the week. I hope to cultivate patience and love for myself in this process as I work so hard to heal and prune negative and harmful behaviors from my life. 💕

    • Lara

      May the Lord bless you in this process, my friend! I had a long battle with an eating disorder in college and I thought it would never leave me. By His grace, it did completely end and I hope that encourages you. I thought it was impossible to heal, and God taught me otherwise! So much love to you as you face the giants and find new peace and joy!

  3. Brooke

    To name a few…Cultivating our little backyard garden. Cultivating our family’s rhythms — the eb and flow of our days. (Seems as if this is always changing) Creating and cultivating a…our legacy. 💕

  4. Kori

    I was slow to get my July powersheets done- I won’t lie- I kept tellin myselff grace not ptofection. June seemed to be a little rough on my health but it gave me good time to really pray about my July goals.
    One of my monthly goals is to do a fun mommy and daughter giving back day.
    One of my weekly goals is to use my write the word gratitude 6/7 days ( this has been a life savior and so helpful for me)
    Daily goal
    : belly laugh with my two and half year old
    Drink 64 oz or more of water a day.
    I loved the mid summer goal setting. It was so encouraging and kept me on the right track to try to keep a low to no spending except necessities. Our God is so God . Your products and teams have changed me and made me so much better and such a sunshine of Jesus love!

    • Lara

      I love how you embraced progress, not perfection, Kori! We are so grateful for you!!

  5. Bailey Jean

    Always so grateful for you and your heart! The verses and words about peace are singing to me so deeply, and they’re something I’m keeping in front of me this month, too. (Leaning on John 14:27 in The Passion Translation something fierce these days.) I just filled out my goal refresh and settled on the major areas I want to cultivate in the remaining 6 months of the year:

    – Heart (relationship with Jesus)
    – Work
    – Community (friends/family)
    – Physical Health
    – Financial Peace
    – Joy

    To start the month, I also took the plunge and did something I’ve been wanting to do but putting off for around three years: scheduled an appointment with a Christian counselor to address my anxiety. I’m nervous but expectant and eager to meet God in this place. Praying that this July is the start of a fresh season (and of year 27!) of peace in Jesus’ name!

    • Lara

      I love your areas of focus, my friend! So good and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  6. Laura P

    Lara, I always love your encouragement. Thank you for being a blessing. Daily goals are walk 10,000 steps (Fitbit is so helpful), daily bible reading (doubling up some days to catch up on a few missed weeks), and write the word. Weekly goals are save $20, weigh in, and go to therapy. Monthly goals are setting the church nursery schedule, date night, and planning my grandpa’s 95th birthday party. Hello July!

    • Lara

      I LOVE how you have broken your goals down into smaller steps. So encouraging to read, Laura!

  7. Ashley Ziegler

    That picture of Gracie and Sarah is my favorite!! I love their smiles 🙂

  8. Heather

    Thanks so much for this encouragement, Lara! One thing I’m cultivating this month is getting up early to spend mornings with my husband-to enjoy coffee, time in the Word and prayer time together. He works a lot and we have two small children, so making this sacrifice of early mornings will be hard, but oh so worth it!

    • Lara

      Yes! We do early family mornings at our house as nights are trickier with everyone’s schedules and sleep. I’m cheering you on!

  9. Emily McHenry

    Thanks so much for sharing, I’ve really enjoyed following your goal progress and changes through the year! My summer goal refresher helped shift my focus to “choosing less”: monthly goals are to schedule play, declutter the main rooms of the house, plan a time of solitude with the Lord, and a date night with my hubby! Weekly goals are to continue to trail run twice a week, make a play date with a friend, and write the word with you on Wednesdays. Daily goals are to be still in the morning, dock the phone midday, and choose music over TV – here we go! 🙌🏻

  10. Jennifer

    We have 2 young kiddos so one of my goals is to make sure we can have some couples time. For July, I would like to plan our next weekend couples trip (we had one in May so it’s time!). His schedule is super busy but I’m hoping we can find something that will work.

  11. Karlie Van soelen

    To name a couple, I hope to cultivate a Grateful heart unto the Lord even amidst the newborn fog & chasing a toddler too. I have so much to be grateful for!! I’m also hoping to cultivate our neighborhood relationships with our block party we initiated and through being outdoors.

  12. Denise Jarman

    I love reading your words, Lara, and everyone’s comments. You all inspire me but I wonder if there is any hope for me. I am more of a spontaneous person and find it very difficult to set goals. I am 70 and retired now so my days just flow from one to another. Do you think I could become a highly organised user of Powersheets, stickers, goals etc or is it just too late for this Aussie? 🙂

    • Lara

      I can relate to so much of what you’ve shared, Denise! I too love being spontaneous, and what our teachings and products do is help me to be spontaneous and free in the right things. So, yes! I’m so glad you’re here!

  13. Glenda De Hoyos

    One of my goals for July it to enjoy the SUN-mmer! I want to enjoy the weather that I was so looking forward during the long winter…go out more: walk, hike, ride the bike, go to the park, do a picnic, sit outside to read a book…
    Be present enjoying this season and its blessing!