Author: Lara

Feel like you’ve been working hard but you’re not seeing the results that… let’s just say it… that she has?

Imagine what would have happened if the flowers in my garden took a look at themselves and thought, “Hmm. I’m not growing as straight or tall as that flower next to me. She sprouted faster. My leaves aren’t perfect. I GIVE UP! Maybe I’ll just go back in the dirt!” OR if I gave up on tending to them altogether. We would miss out on the blooms to come—blooms that were set to unfurl in their own unique and perfect timing.

It’s okay to grow slow. Keep taking steps toward what you can’t yet see. Your breakthrough might just be one more step away. And if it ends up being twenty steps away, it will be worth it, too!

—Here are 18 pep talks on how to embrace little by little progress.
—It’s never too late to start! This video series will help you make progress on your goals whether or not you’re a PowerSheets user.
—How to Get Unstuck with Your Goals.
—If you haven’t already, complete your Spring PowerSheets Goal Refresh (page 96). We walked through these pages LIVE in the PowerSheets Facebook community.
—Join April’s Little by Little Challenge!

My March PowerSheets progress

And now… a recap of my progress on my March PowerSheets® goals and what I learned! The 56th Making Things Happen Conference was the BEST YET! In place of doing another MTH in the fall like we typically do, we have a surprise event up our sleeves set for early December. Ahhhhhh just wait!

Photo by Rachel Coffey

Be sure you’re on this newsletter list so you can be the first to know details and when early-bird tickets go on sale!


That was fun! In this video I share how I made progress on my goals with my PowerSheets Goal Planner. Links I mentioned in the video:
—My husband went viral in this video
— I love the color coding system in the Goal Setting Sticker Book.
— Many friends have great books coming out: The Middle Matters, Letters from a Big Sister, A Love Letter Life, The Next Right Thing, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday, and Empowered.
—We celebrated 13 years—here’s our story.
My interview with Jamie Ivey on The Happy Hour.
—The Carolina Inn is magical.
—I’m hiring for a very special position

We enjoyed an unforgettable meal at Crossroads at the Carolina Inn with friends (Ashlea and Chavez just got married and Ashlea shares her story in the latest podcast episode!).

March’s podcast episodes you don’t want miss!
Why I Stopped Straightening My Hair
Moving From Planning To Planting
How To Plan Your Year
Garden Planning and Dreaming

I was so grateful to be featured in Chapel Hill magazine this month. This has been a neat opportunity to have neighbors stop and tell me they saw the feature—it has opened many doors for meaningful conversation and telling them about our mission at Cultivate.

On to APRIL!

My April PowerSheets goals

All the details on my April goals are in the video! I’m excited for this month.

April Monthly Goals:
— Pray over everything—ask God
— Do my MTH action items
— Make our home come alive
— Teach the Gardening 101 live class!
— Plant our garden
— Train leaders

April Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath.
— Read Letters to the Church with Ari
— Sing for joy to the Lord
— Read lovely words to the kids
— Sabbath: renew our hearts and minds
— Pray for the Lord to use us to meet needs

April Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading (Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan? :))
— Write the Word at night before bed
— Sleep
— Analog evenings
— Work it out!

The Spring Goal Refresh in the PowerSheets gave me such clarity and motivation for the next 3 months!

Your turn! Do you have goals for April? 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 March’s winner, Kinsey!

P.S. Join us for 30 days of progress during the Little by Little Challenge! The Cultivate team will kick off each day in April with a prompt or resource in the PowerSheets Facebook community and Instagram to guide you to take the next step toward your goal. Start with today’s post!

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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We’re currently hiring for several roles in our company, and this one is the most special to me personally!

We’ve been so blessed by the last two years with Mackenzie in our family. She has become one of my very best friends and the person I trust the most besides Ari! What a gift these years have been to me and the three sweet kiddos! Our faith has grown together over many naptime conversations and adventures we’ve taken together. It has been a gift to pour into her and she has certainly done the same for me in spades.

Mackenzie brought their favorite fruit and treats for Valentine’s Day!

I’m so happy for what’s ahead of Mackenzie in a new season of taking the next steps in her career in education (what a blessing she will be to more kiddos!) and I’m especially grateful she’s not moving to another city just yet. : ) Mackenzie has blessed our children, us, the ladies in this office, our neighbors, our friends—I could go on. What happens in this house is pretty unique, and Mackenzie has been a ray of light for all of us!

Summertime fun!

As you can see in these photographs, she’s pretty amazing. She works hard and loves God passionately. We trust that God will bring us another great fit for our family!

We are looking for someone special, and perhaps that person is you! We are seeking a full-time caregiver and House/Office Manager, starting July 15th. Please apply if you meet ALL of the following requirements.

We’ve had so many fun adventures together!

Who you’ll care for:

3.5-year-old boy (Joshua)
3-year-old girl (Sarah)
Soon-to-be-second-grader girl (Grace)
A handful of fishies and a bevy of houseplants : )

One of our kiddos has special needs. A patient and resilient spirit is a blessing to this sweet soul who needs a little extra love and care. 

We’re looking for:

Joyful Caregiver
Hard Worker and Self Starter
Health-Oriented (non-smoker, etc.) because this job takes a ton of energy! One of our kiddos has special needs. A patient and resilient spirit is a blessing to this sweet soul who needs a little extra love and care.

At the Southern Weddings launch party together.

We need someone who can commit to two years with us. Must be able to start training July 15th. If you are applying from out-of-state (the majority of our previous caregivers did this and moved here from out-of-state for the role), you must be able to relocate to the Chapel Hill, NC, area by July 15th. The ladies in my office and I will gladly help you settle in and we have housing available as well. We love this area!

Picking local blueberries!

Must be extremely organized, energetic (three kids will keep you on your toes!), joyful (we love to be silly), and experienced in childcare. A background in early childhood education is a plus. College graduates preferred, but we are open. Must have own transportation (although you’ll use our minivan to cart the kiddos around!), and a clean driving record. In addition to caring for our three children while I work, you will also be responsible for managing this unique building we call my home and office. There are not only three kiddos who look forward to meeting you, but lots of ladies too!

Another reason I love Mackenzie: she loves being silly with Grace! Cow Appreciation Day goodness above.

I run my business from home for the most part so I am here most days as well. I also homeschool Grace a couple of days a week. We will spend a lot of time together, loving on these children alongside each other during the day.

And now I’m getting teary-eyed. We love you, Mackenzie!

Our faith is a cornerstone in our home. We are seeking a caregiver who can teach and reinforce Christian principles and lead by example. We are looking for someone who has a strong faith, is calm under pressure, confident in their faith, and is willing to develop a passion for shaping our children’s hearts alongside us. More than that though, Ari and I hope to pour into the heart of whomever steps into this role.

Please pray about this position and only reply if you meet ALL of these requirements. We’ve had many wonderful caregivers over the last 7+ years, and know the qualifications fit our family well. We will be doing several interviews with potential candidates.

Please APPLY HERE by April 24th. This is a full-time salaried position – Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm and some nights and weekends (a small handful) throughout the year. We will begin video interviews ASAP. Please read through this post and the application thoroughly. Your attention to detail is part of the interview. : ) We are praying for you as you apply!

P.S. If you know someone else who this would be a great fit for, please pass this post along. Thank you!

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There’s a lot that tries to get your attention in life.

Your to-do list.
The people surrounding you.
The online world.
Advertisements that beg you to look here, buy this!

So many things promising to solve a problem for you—or wanting you to solve a problem for them.

But, what’s essential, and what’s a distraction?

In this new month, let’s name those things that have been holding us back from growing what matters and clear out our growing ground for what lasts. March is the month to make room and say COMPLETELY YES to what’s essential (more about that in my video below)—and no to all the rest!

Clear the life clutter with these top posts and resources:

And now… a recap of my progress on my February PowerSheets® goals and what I learned!

That was fun! In the video I share how I made progress on my goals and lots of practical tips, including how to color-code your goals to help you follow-through. This has been a game-changer for me! Links I mentioned in the video:

Goal Setting Sticker book with our color coding system
How to Number Your Days PODCAST episode
Write the Word
— My workout playlist
— I forgot to mention this in the video, but one thing we did in February was open an Acorns account, which I love! Get $5 to invest when you use my link here.

On to March!
March Monthly Goals:
— Train leaders + pass on leadership. This post from my friend Jennie struck a chord – or rather, a whole symphony – in me!
— Celebrate our anniversary at the Carolina Inn.
— Listen to the Lord. We’ve been studying what it means to be “entrusted” this year—entrusted with faith, with the relationships we’ve been given, etc. I want to listen to Him more above everything else so I can steward well what I’ve been entrusted with.
— Plan a low-maintenance garden.  My neck injury is necessitating this, but I think it will be great all around—for the kiddos, too. This month I’m working slowly on a plan that won’t have me literally bending over backward all summer maintaining the garden.
— Bring Making Things Happen to life! I’m excited to experience this 56th conference alongside my team and the women who are joining us!
— Live numbered days (Psalm 90:12). Listen to the special episode of the podcast all about this here.
— Continue the Contentment Challenge.

March Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath
— Sabbath study—studying what the Word says about Sabbath and starting this book.
— Read Letters to the Church with Ari
— Make margin happen
— Train for the Tar Heel 10K with Ari

March Daily Goals:
— Eat more raw vegetables
— 10K steps daily
— Old Testament Bible Reading (Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan? :))
Write the Word at night before bed
— Scripture over Scroll. As I learn about the Lord’s heart, this is where I want mine—focused on Him over the world. Soaking Him in instead of catching up with other people’s lives—even friends!

Your turn! Do you have goals for March? 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 February’s winner, Carleen Roberts!

P.S. Just getting started on your PowerSheets® and want me to coach you through how to get started? You got it! WATCH HERE.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

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Is it okay to set goals as a Christian? What does the Bible say about goals? How do you know if a goal is from God or from yourself?

Whew! How’s a girl supposed to figure these things out? We’ve got you! I sat down with my friends Jess Connolly and Chrystal Evans Hurst—and an open Bible—to get answers for you. (And they might surprise you!). Ready to hear some truth? LISTEN NOW.

In this episode:

— You’ll meet my friend Jess Connolly (who most recently launched Go and Tell Gals!). We talk about how God wants to give us insight into “where to go” in our lives—and about worshipping on the way.
— Jess shares why she loves the first 20 pages of PowerSheets, and three check points to know if you’re choosing the “right” goals (truth: quit believing that the aim of your life is to be right!).
— We talk about the importance of walking with God through our goals instead of making a “set it and forget it” list — that the “how” can shift as long as the “why” is strong.
— We talk about two keys to knowing if something is a God-led goal (spoiler alert: it doesn’t always have to include a mission trip).
— Jess tells us about a time she failed on a goal, and about four things she does in the aftermath of “failing” to learn from the experience and move forward. You will love this part!
— Then, you’ll meet my friend Chrystal, a speaker, writer, and fellow homeschool mama! She starts by connecting goal setting to our royal lineage and reminds us to keep God in goal setting by “keeping the main thing the main thing” but also listening to the desires of our heart.
— Chrystal reminds us God gets joy out of seeing us exercise our creativity and dominion, and that the Holy Spirit is waiting to help us discern the goals God has for us (ask: where is their unrest and unease in my life?).
— We talk about creating moments we love in the lives we’re living, moments that remind us of the people we were made to be – one of my favorite parts of the interview!
— We get a powerful reminder to live as if there’s hope (because we know there is!): “where you are right now is not where you will be forever.”
— Finally, we talk about what to do when you “lose your song.”

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

— You can connect with Jess Connolly on her website as well as on Instagram, and with Chrystal at ChrystlHurst.com and on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I love following both of these ladies!
— Looking for more on how to set goals as a Christian? Download our YouVersion reading plan, God + Goals. This 5-day reading plan is the perfect next step after listening to this episode.
— Love what you heard here? Ready for a “life reset button”? Join Chrystal and me at the 56th Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC this March!
— Jess was so kind to talk about how she uses her PowerSheets. We’re sold out of 2019 One-Year planners but have six-month sets in stock now!
— Chrystal emphasized breaking your goals down into bite-size pieces, exactly what we talked about in Break It Down Week. Start with this post on the Cultivate blog for more!
— Looking to plant the seeds of faith in the hearts of your little ones? Write the Word for Kids is the perfect activity for them to enjoy alongside you in your own study and quiet time!
— We mention a few pieces of scripture throughout the episode: Jeremiah 29:11, Genesis 1, Ephesians 2:10, and Matthew 7.
— Chrystal talked about how writing notes to people fires her up – if that’s you, you’ll love our Joyful Greeting Card set!

LOVE IT? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! Feel free to snag one of these graphics to share.

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode goes live!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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We don’t like imperfect starts, do we?
We want perfect right out of the gate.
But all plants grow through the dirt, and so do we.
Making a mess doesn’t mean you become one. – Cultivate

Feeling guilty about not making progress on your goals or not starting them at all?

February 1 can be your January 1! (And if so, you’ll love this podcast episode!)

80% of people give up on their goals by mid-February. Are you feeling that creep up? Learn how to break your goals down and choose the right goals for your season in these top posts from January:

How to Make Your Goals Happen
How to Choose the Right Goals for 2019
The Key to Progress: Mini Goals
How to Fail on Your Goals
How to Take the First Step on Your Goals

To help us all buck that giving-up-by-mid-February statistic, get ready for the 3rd-Annual Cultivate What Matters Day (Feb 13th)! Download a reminder for your calendar —> Cultivate_What_Matters_Day. Mark your planners for a day of taking ONE next best step on your goals—maybe the one you’ve been afraid to take. We’re going to take that one step together—no perfection required!

You can make imperfect progress on a goal and still achieve your goal.

You can have weeds and still grow flowers in your garden.

You can do less and make it mean more.

January was a month of digging into those truths and taking first steps into new habits to kick off the year. And it was a month of intentionally starting SLOWLY so I don’t burn myself out. More in the podcast episode “There’s Nothing Magical About January 1st.

Here’s a recap of my January goals and what I learned:

That was so fun! In the video I share how I made progress on my goals and lots of practical tips, including how to color-code your goals to help you follow-through. This is a game-changer for me! Links I mention in the video:

Goal Setting Sticker book with color coding system
Math-U-See
Free Prints
— Write the Word
How to Plan Your Year
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

On to February!

February Monthly Goals:
— Continue the Contentment Challenge
— Train leaders – help grow our leadership team at work
— Do a seed exchange!!! Eeee!!! More to come on this. Given my No Spend Year goal, I’m particularly excited about this!
— On that note, start some of our seeds indoors (the kids love this!)
— Work with Ari on what we’re calling our “Finish Line Plan” (not a retirement finish line, but, the impact we make with how we use the resources God has entrusted to us that lasts far beyond us). We’ll be digging through the first steps in February from God + Money about giving and the big picture.
— Send the 2020 PowerSheets to print
— Prayerfully record the podcast

February Weekly goals:
— Study what the Word says about God’s heart (and mine!)
— Continue reading God + Money with Ari
— Disciple and be discipled
— Weekly family Sabbath

February Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading. (P.S. Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan?)
— Through the Fresh Faith Challenge, I discovered a new habit of writing the Word at night before bed (instead of looking at my phone) and it has been so fruitful! I’m keeping it going in February.
— Sing
— Work. It. Out. I am seeing how much pushing myself to work out harder helps my stress levels each day. This is so tricky in the winter to get this done with all three kids with me (normally we go outside to walk together), but I’m determined! Listen to my new workout playlist here.
— Neck exercises – my neck injury has progressively gotten worse, so I’m focusing more on my at-home physical therapy exercises. I have an alarm set to do them 6 – 8 times a day. I’m doubling this as prayer time, too!

Your turn! Do you have goals for February? 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!

P.S. Just getting started on your PowerSheets and want me to coach you through how to fill in your Tending List? You got it!

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