Friends, this is a big month! The 2019 PowerSheets collection launches in 20 days (yahoo!!), we have two new websites coming, my podcast launches, etc., etc. Those things reflect months of prayer and hard work, but they are not the reason this is a big month.

This month is big because I’m seeing small things that have added up to the big things.

A lot of life feels like it happens to us, doesn’t it? There is little we can do about many of our circumstances in various seasons of life. But. But! Sometimes the small decisions that we can make are the ones that count the most. Are you ready for this? Did you know we make an average of 35,000 decisions a day? Those decisions, big and small, all have arrows attached to them, pointing us in one direction or another.

Photo by the amazing and wonderful Gina Z!

This month, I’m choosing to throw off everything that hinders me, and I’m aiming my decision arrows at doing life the way He wants me to. It has been the small things—little daily decisions made over time—that are adding up to the big things. With small but intentional decisions in our family routines, fueling the bodies and souls in this home, where I’m spending my time (and where I’m not, like social media for the most part), and the way I do everyday life with the Lord, I’m seeing fruit.

These changes and decisions haven’t come overnight, though; fruitful things often start long before the month we’re in—perhaps even years ago.

Take Big Rita, for instance. We let Big Rita, our giant pumpkin, loose from her vine a few days ago. Do you know how many years we tried to grow a giant pumpkin—or any pumpkin at all for that matter? Seven. Seven years, people! Year one: squirrels. Year two: yep, Nutty the Squirrel does it again. Year three: our baby pumpkin was run over by a car. Year four: too much rain. Year five: too much heat. Year six: I just don’t even know. Year seven: We switched seed varieties, and I got some advice from a wise farmer friend. Over these seven years of waiting and patience and waiting some more, the Lord was teaching us a beautiful lesson: all things (and life change) come in His perfect timing. We didn’t grow a giant pumpkin overnight—it grew us over the last seven years. She came right on time. (I even took her to MTH!)

Here’s a look back at September and what’s ahead this month…

Harvesting our purple potatoes was like a treasure hunt!

Between unexpectedly traveling home to Gulf Breeze, going under contract on our new space (totally unexpected—totally God—and too long of a story for this little blog post!), and officially starting the new homeschool year, September was full and good. There was a lot of praying and seeking Him.

My September Monthly Goals Progress:

— Seek Him. / Yes. As mentioned above. Having the Bible open all the time has helped me do this more than ever.
— Begin our cultivated homeschool year. / Yes! I also released my free downloadable Cultivated Homeschool Planner.
— Record the podcast. / Progress here! The intro has been recorded, podcast cover art has been designed, a name has been chosen, episode topics outlined, an editor has been hired, and now all I have to do is record content starting this week.
Prepare well for the 2019 PowerSheets launch. / In progress! We released the new covers yesterday!
— Love Josh + Sarah and my parents well on our trip to Florida. / We canceled this trip last-minute with hurricane Florence headed our way, then re-booked it last-minute again to escape the storm with the kids. It was a needed and refreshing trip!

Watching the sunrise on the beach with my buddies. : ) 

— Celebrate Rosh Hashana. / Yes! Apples and honey all around!
— Have a surrendered quarterly sabbath. / Yes! Out of all the action steps I took from the Cultivated Calendar teachings, this is the one I’m most grateful for. Last fall, I looked ahead at my 2018 calendar and went ahead and blocked off 3 days once a quarter to take off. Instead of letting my calendar dictate my life, I made the intentional decision to block off these days ahead of time. This has been helpful!
— Savor September. / Yes, and I am so grateful for my PowerSheets for reminding me of this goal. I had several moments with the kids that are etched in my brain now from stopping to savor them and give thanks to the God who make them happen.

— Prayerfully lead the 54th Making Things Happen Conference/ This was the highlight of my year. I have yet to post about it because it’s hard to put a life-changing experience into adequate words. It was incredible. All praise to Him! I love these ladies above! Photo by the delightful Rachel Coffey.

September Weekly Goals:

— Praise! / Yes! My weekly goal was simply to praise Him. In song, dancing around with the kiddos, on hikes, in conversation, in art, in words, in prayer—in as many ways as I could muster!

September Daily Goals:

— Chronological Bible. / I finished the Old Testament!!! My heart did cartwheels finishing Malachi and I actually felt sad about it. Then, I remembered I can read it again next year! I’m continuing my number one goal with this daily Bible reading using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan on Youversion.
— Strength + Joy / Progress was made here despite a neck injury that has been a little tricky. This is my goal to strength train. I do abs and some free weights here at home with the kiddos!

Now to October! 

October Monthly Goals:

— Throw off everything that hinders me and aim my arrows at doing life the way He wants me to. I’ll report back next month on what exactly this looked like for me! I want to walk the walk before I talk about it.
— Enter into the most wonderful season of service and joy with our team and the good work He has blessed us with!
— Share why I have the hope I have.
— Bring the life of God to our children, which starts with us flourishing in faith.
— Get into a rhythm with homeschool. The Cultivated Homeschool Planner has been a game changer for me. We have our plans, now it’s time to get into a consistent rhythm, try them out, and adjust as needed. So far, so great!

My quarterly PowerSheets goal refresh was right on time this week!

October Weekly Goals:

— Take care of our temples of the Holy Spirit. Ari expressed wanting to grow in balance and wellness, and I want to teach our kiddos healthy habits too—all with the aim of honoring the Lord and loving others well. We’ve already started cooking lessons with the kiddos, including knife skills for Grace so she can prepare fruits and vegetables in the kitchen. Here’s a great video we watched to learn the basics!
— Pray for a *few* friends. As I was praying and asking God what He wanted me to work on this month, He kept nudging me to be in deeper prayer for just a few close friends instead of praying lightly for a lot of friends. I will pray for whomever He tells me to, but I also love this challenge to pour my heart out for friends in need more than usual this month.
— All of them. I encourage you to word goals however they make the most sense to you—don’t worry about making them clear to everyone else. Case in point: this goal! “All of them” for me means a deeper commitment to cultivating the hearts in this home more than ever—and to celebrate the fruit we are already seeing.
— Believing a miracle happened in our lives and acting like it! Let me just go ahead and get this goal in motion right here and now. Friends, Ari and I are not the same people we were several years ago. The heart and life change we’ve experienced is significant, but this fact is easy to forget in day-to-day life. I do not want to forget this. A miracle happened in our lives and remembering this spurs me forward to share the hope we have. His grace is a real thing and it changes everything!

October Daily Goals:

— Bathe in the Word. I’m continuing my number one goal with this daily Bible reading using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological reading plan on YouVersion.
— Seek Him in all things instead of doing them my way or without asking Him first.
— Praise + joy! Working out with praise on my lips and joy in my soul!
— Speak restorative words. The idea of speaking restorative words came from a marriage class that Ari and I have been going through with our church. I want to practice this with everyone I meet! The words we share have the potential to change lives. 🙂

I love October!

Verses I’m loving for October:

Hebrews 12:1-3 has my heart right now, specifically the words “throw off everything that hinders.”

And this one… ‘Agree with God and be at peace; thereby good will come to you. Receive instruction from His mouth, and lay up His words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored: If you remove wickedness far from your tent and assign your nuggets to the dust, your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the ravines, then the Almighty will be your gold, the choicest silver for you. Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways’ (Job 22:21-29).

My little buddy learning rock, paper, scissors from one of our good friends at a wedding we had the joy of attending last week! These little moments in life are the best!

Your turn! What are your goals for October? 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 September’s winner, Meghann! Bonus giveaway: Take a guess at how much Big Rita weighs and whoever gets the closest will win some of our new shop products that launch on October 24th!

59 Show Comments
  1. Alexandra Howard

    I am new to goal making and have just finished ‘Making things happen’. I don’t have Powersheets but I didn’t want to wait until January and so I am trying out some goals for October. I am doing a contentment challenge and looking at how I spend my money and time, I am doing daily evening prayer with my boyfriend and listing 3 things I am grateful for each day. Little by little!

    My guess for Rita is 70lbs.

  2. Abbie

    This month I am really focusing on mindfulness as a daily goal. I am being mindful in my work by focusing on it and not being distracted by my home/social media. I am also embracing mindfulness in each daily activity to try to treasure each little moment : the crunching of gravel on our new driveway, the giggle of my little girl, the smell of my husband cooking for our family each night at dinner time. I don’t want to miss anything! Also I think Rita weighs 63 lbs.

  3. Katie

    I’m not finished with my tending list yet, but one goal I’m sure of is taking time to read every day.

    I’m guessing that Big Rita weighs 72 pounds!

  4. Emma

    My goals for October are to just relax and enjoy being with my family and friends. My parents’ 50th Anniversary next weekend, and I’m in charge of all the decor. I’m nervous about all the details not falling into place. Perfectionist here! 🙋🏻‍♀️ We have a vacation coming the week after that, and I need to give myself wholly to my family. Again, I fret over details instead of just enjoying those I love most. I’m trying to catch myself early and go into this with thankful eyes and heart for my family and friends.
    Also, I think Rita weighs 93 pounds!

    • Lara

      Happy 50th to your parents – amazing! How wonderful! I’m cheering you on!

  5. Rachel Milo

    I think Rita weighs 82 pounds!

  6. Natasha

    My goal for October is to start working out again, I had a baby in July and haven’t worked out since before pregnancy 😫
    My guess for Big Rita is 77 pounds!

  7. Wendy

    This year has led me on such a freeing journey. I am learning to love myself, to see myself as God sees me, and to find JOY in my everyday. For too long I have been trying to mold myself into something that I thought I should be…a certain number on the scale, or size. I didn’t wear certain clothes (like horizontal stripes) or certain colors because of the way I thought they made me look. I was so worried about how others viewed me, and fitting some mold. I feel like the freedom, only the Lord can give, has washed over me. I’m buying, and wearing whatever I LIKE… what I’m drawn to. I’m making healthy choices because I want to, and not vilifying myself when I want a brownie or piece of chocolate. I see each new day as full of possibility. I didn’t want to get to the end of my days on Earth and realize that I spent so many dwelling on something I couldn’t fully control…that I missed the living. October looks exciting, but so does every other month ahead. New adventures, new moments, and a new focus and outlook can do that for you.

    My guess for Rita is 75lbs.

  8. Rachelle

    My guess for Rita is 82 lbs.

  9. Lydia

    One of my goals this month is to be intentional in meeting the needs of my city, as I move back to Wilmington, where many of those around me have lost so much- if not everything. While doing so, I want to strive to be a light amidst the darkness, as a vessel of Christ for His glory.

    I think Big Rita is 83 lbs!!

  10. Kirstie

    This October one of my goals is cultivating rest and working from rest as we prepare to move overseas!
    My guess for big Rita is 62.5lbs!

  11. Britzie

    One of my goals in October is to start mini decluttering projects around my house on a daily basis. I realized that big projects overwhelm me to a point where I end up doing nothing! Here’s to embracing little by little progress!

    I think Big Rita weighs 80 lbs🤗

  12. Roxanne Williams

    This month I am focusing on taking my time and being still. I feel like I rush around so much and I want to stop and really pay attention to my kids and husband.

    I think Rita weighs 126 pounds!

  13. Ana

    For October I’m focusing on resting more and developing some sort of routine to cultivate a balanced, peaceful life. My goal is to get back into running and getting into the Word a lot more.

    My guess for Rita is 55lbs.

  14. Nina

    My Guess for Rita is 65lbs

  15. Carly

    One of my goals for October is to keep my Bible open all month and really dig into it daily! I am also so excited for the new Power Sheets to launch. I only started making/tending to my goals since this past August and I have been making my own version of the Power Sheets in a journal based on these posts. It has changed everything for me. I can’t wait to get one of those joyfully colorful goal planners! In two months your method of goal setting, God has used it to encourage me to go back to school, joyfully start a new job, live purposefully, and get vulnerable by reaching out to a new group of friends!
    I think Big Rita is 72 lbs.

  16. Ashleigh

    This month I am focusing on my family and spending more time with them after lots of work commitments over the past month. My goal is to make them feel the most loved. 💗

    My guess is Big Rita is 113 lbs.

  17. Cierra

    This month, I’m focusing on an intentional routine. I’ve always assumed having a set routine was bad (making myself busy all the time), but through Cultivate What Matters resources and encouragement, I’ve learned that setting a routine can include setting aside time to rest and restore. I’ve seen organizing my schedule actually give me more free time than I would have gotten otherwise. I’m looking forward to thinking like this this month and for months to come!

    My guess for Rita is 67lbs!

  18. Lindsay

    I am cultivating patience and peace. My guess for Rita is 74 pounds.

  19. Lindsey

    For October, one of my goals is to make smarter/healthier decisions (as in food choices and more movement).

    My guess for Rita is 68 lbs.

  20. Kristen

    I think Big Rita is 82 pounds!! 🙂

  21. Britzie

    I don’t think my reply posted. One of Goals for October is mini decluttering projects since big projects overwhelm me! Embracing little by little progress.

    I think Big Rita is 80 lbs🤗

  22. Sarah Jean

    This month I am planning to cultivate my brand new marriage! Starting with some fresh goals and planning out some time with my Husband figuring out how to spend this new season well!

    My guess for Rita : 123 lbs!

  23. Kaylee

    Rita looks like 83 lbs!

  24. Georgeanne

    This month is all about intention with my time. I know the word intention gets thrown around a lot but it’s the best way to describe how I’m looking at everything … how do I want to be spending my time versus how am I spending my time currently? How can the two things become more alike?

    I think Rita is ….. 72 pounds!

  25. Mary

    My goal for October is to give up drinking soda and drink more water. My guess for Rita is 67.4 pounds.

  26. Kayla Jones

    For October I am cultivating and praying for a better paying job and financial stability. I have been working multiple jobs to make ends meet and it is extremely overwhelming and has been causing my physical health to decline. It is time to stop ignoring myself and refocus on my well being.

    My guess for big Rita would be 62 pounds.

  27. Brooke Bullard

    I could not be more excited about your podcast! I absolutely love hearing your speak. Can’t wait to listen to all the good things I know you have to share! Also SO excited to get my first set of Power Sheets this year!!

  28. Robin

    Hi! My goals this month is to pick up my very first powersheets and to let go and let God! I like to control the situations and often get disappointed in the outcomes or upset when they don’t turn out the way I expected it to. Pray more before things happen not after and always be more loving! I am so excited for the podcast and so happy for your family and pumpkin! My guess for Big Rita is 71lbs! 😍🙏🤗🎉

  29. Anna

    My primary job is mom but I have just put my littlest in preschool 4 days a week so I am going to start cultivating my “side hustle” into a job I can be proud of!

    I am guessing Big Rita weighs 99 lbs.

  30. Lecy | A Simpler Grace

    One of my goals is to pour into the people, causes, and projects I love. I’m trying to recenter my focus on what really matters and let the rest fall away. 🙂

  31. Lindsay

    I’m in the middle of pursuing my coaching certification in Christian leadership. I’m praying for ways that God would have me use this gift and tool to help others.

    I’m guessing that Big Rita is 48 pounds!

  32. Amanda

    My guess for Big Rita is 84 pounds.

  33. Amy Tilley

    I LOVE my Powersheets! As a business consultant and wellness coach, AND the publisher of a monthly digita and print magazine – Connections at the Cross – it helps me keep my goals in focus and me on track.
    But I REALLY love to use my Write the Word journal for my quiet prayer and journal time each day. 😊❤️
    Ps… I think Big Rita is 88 lbs.

  34. Katie

    I am striving to be better at concentrating on my own path in life instead of being envious of what others have. As well as ignoring others negativity and their mean spirits.
    My guess for the beautiful Big Rita is 58 pounds.

  35. Susan Ritter

    91 pounds! I’m excited for Fall & memories to be made. ❤️🍁🦃🎄❤️

  36. Becca

    My goal for October is to be on my phone less and be more intentional with my 2 year old son.
    My guess for Rita is 150 lbs!

  37. Katie @ A Place to Dwell

    My guess for Rita is 75 pounds!

  38. Katie @ A Place to Dwell

    Hi, Lara! I posted a long comment about my October goals, but it was marked as spam, so I’ll just do a very short list and see if it will publish. 🙂 Sorry if it ends up being posted twice!

    I haven’t been doing my Powersheets much this year, but I want to finish the year strong, so a few goals I have for this fall:
    -Studying the word through Bible Study Fellowship (digging deep and seeking Him in new ways).
    -Worship
    -Believing that He is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do; And being surrendered enough/trusting enough to see Him do it
    -Finding a window of time for cardio each week, even if it’s just a short walk
    -Simplify – cleaning out closets and donating clothes (I also want to pray over the items I am donating)

    P.S. Congrats on your new work space!! 🙂

  39. Laura Jasmine

    I decided to take a break from PowerSheets for the month of October. I have a lot of busy going on and felt like it was one more thing I was worrying about, whether than one more thing that was helping me. I have been a PowerSheets user for several years now and love that the PowerSheets give me permission to say no…even if that means saying no to the PowerSheets every now and then! I am hoping to cultivate some simplicity this month by cutting out things that are bringing me stress. Hopefully I will be ready to pick back up my PowerSheets come November. 🙂

    I’m guessing Rita is 117 lbs!

  40. Nicole Lasley

    Big Rita weighs 88 lbs!

  41. Nicole Lasley

    Goals for October:
    Celebrate my last baby as he turns 1!
    Slow down with my family.
    Ruthless Cleanout (even though I’m not as ruthless as Emily Ley would have me be 😊)
    Morning time with God
    Pray over my loves

  42. Sarah Gusky Kemer

    So exciting about the office move!! Can’t wait to see and hear more about it 😀

    My October powersheets are focused on supporting and sustaining my husband, redevoting myself to faith habits I had as a new convert, and cultivating strength in my children. We really are feeling a need to huddle in as we deal with some large life changes coming our way, and I’m fully leaning in to that!!

    I would guess Rita is about 83 pounds!

  43. Cindy

    I’m cultivating cultivating, lol! I put my power sheets and your books aside to “finish later” last winter, and I felt called to pull them out a few days ago and actually get around to cultivating a better life! I’m mostly through with Making Things Happen, at which point I’ll be sitting down and answering the hard questions and making my goals!

    I think Rita is 57 lbs.

  44. Rachel Knutson

    Hi Lara, I hope I am not too late for entering my guess at Rita’s weight. But if I am that is ok! I am going to guess that she is 85 lbs.

    Congratulations on your new office space! What an exciting season for you and your employees and your family.

    I hope you all have weathered Michael ok.

    I picked up a planner from my local Home Goods store because of the cover: Making Things Happen. It reminded me of your saying and now it sits on my desk and in my purse everywhere I go. I fill it out almost daily, more weekly it seems but none the less it is there reminding me of what I need to do.

    My October goals are to continue reading my bible plans in YouVersion (I just signed up for the one you are one, the Blue Letter Bible Chronological plan and just starting with Genesis. The rest of my goals is to continue to work on my marriage, as that has always been up and down, growing closer to each other, and finding rest in my “busy time”. I only have the 3 because that is enough for me to devote my time to this month.

    I can’t remember when I started following you or your blog, I would say about 5 or 6 years ago, but wanted to send my gratitude and appreciation for the work you do and inspire others to do. Continue to let your light shine because it is bright in this world. Thank you so much for the encouragement that you write about in your books and blog. I can’t wait to see where God’s plan for you takes you.

    Thank you.

  45. Traci McDuffie

    My guess is 70.7 lbs. I’m just in awe of how you lean in to God’s will. I need to examine my life and do more of that!

  46. Amy

    Treadmill 3 times a week is one of my goals. Pumpkin 73 pounds

  47. Kirstin Kaye

    My goal for the remainder of this year is to have focused family time. We are prepping for my husband’s deployment next year and sometimes fall in the trap of “we need to get this done before”…instead of focusing on the time and relationships that we should be focusing on. With 3 young kids, (1, 2, and 4) I really want to make sure that we focus on them and our time together, especially as the holidays come up. If we don’t get certain projects done before he leaves, we’ll be fine, the projects will still be there for me to do or for when he returns the next year. Reading an extra book, picking apples and carving pumpkins, or baking christmas cookies with the kids is far more important. I love the monthly check-ins to help me refocus each month – it has helped bring me back several times from being task focused to being family focused.

    Big Rita – 235 lbs (She’s beautiful!)

  48. Maggie

    Some of my October goals are:
    -(Prayer for and Growth in) His Inspiration and Transformation!
    -Two specific magazine articles written
    -Plant a patch of wheat with my dad (the wheat’s already sprouting – so exciting!) and plant tulips (have the bulbs ordered!)
    -Our bathroom renovation (almost done!)
    -Writing several friends

    Thank you so much for your encouragement all throughout this year (my first PowerSheets year!). God has taught me so much and I am so thankful for what He’s doing in 2018!

    Congratulations! My guess for your lovely, exciting Big Rita? 43 pounds.

    Thanks again!

  49. Grace

    Late to the game for posting but here are a few of my October goals.

    – Presence and patience with my active 19mo who is pushing boundaries with behavior and sleep.
    – Little by Little – remind myself that all journeys take time. The little steps can be big wins.
    – Commit to my body – acknowledging in that what I put in my body impacts me in more ways than I realize
    – Leap – I’ve taken a break from my PhD program for a few months and need to get back into it or I will never finish. I know my “breaks” are because life happens and also because I’m afraid I’m not smart enough to do it! .

    I’m guessing that Big Rita is 92lbs. Thank you for being you! I can’t wait for the podcast!

  50. Teish

    I’m guessing 83.6 pounds. 🙂

  51. Caley

    YAY FOR LAUNCH DAY!!!!
    My guess is Big Rita is 108lbs x

  52. Martha Joy

    Congratulations on Big Rita!! I’m going to take a guess at her weight – what about 48.5lbs? 😉

  53. Amy

    October is a rest and reset month for me… mostly just quieting the distractions of social media and loving the littles in our home. I’m switching up our homeschool schedule a bit to do the independent work second and focusing on teaching one of our kids that his handwriting doesn’t have to be perfect and to press on and not stop when he is overwhelmed. Everything else gets the back seat for a bit. It’s time to just be present and engaged. Listening to Him for vision leading into the Christmas holidays.

    I think 115 pounds

  54. amy

    I want to be more grounded and present in my day, so planning better is my new goal. I really am a horrible planner ,always behind and scrambling. I have to make these changes now ,so I set great examples for those around me and honor Gods plan for my time. Rita looks like 150lbs.