Author: Lara

Friends, I have so much to update you on—life, book, and everything in between. I’ll be doing my 2017 PowerSheets next week during “PowerSheets Prep Week” (get excited – we have lots of fun planned to get us all ready for a great new year!), and I will update you then. For now, here’s something I am over-the-moon to share with you!

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In this last year of wrestling with the tension between motherhood and business, so much life change, and writing my book, these three women above greatly encouraged me. So, I asked each of them if they would share their wisdom with you too! To help us all get inspired for a meaningful new year ahead, I’m interviewing each of these women LIVE, starting with the incredible Sally Clarkson tomorrow at 11am EST.

These are free live webinars, and even if you can’t join live, register so you get the recordings. Get practical advice and inspiration, as well as the opportunity to ask these ladies your questions during our Q & A time.

Thursday, December 8th at 11am EST with Sally Clarkson. Sally is the best-selling author of The Life-Giving Home, a book about creating a place of belonging and becoming in your home. Register here.

Thursday, December 15th at 11am EST with Renee Swope. Renee is the best-selling author of A Confident Heart, a book that gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Register here.

Wednesday, December 21 at noon EST with Erin Benzakein. Erin is a farmer-florist at Floret Farms, author Cut Flower Garden that releases in March 2017, and floral workshop teacher. Register here.

If you aren’t able to join at the time of these live broadcasts, register and you’ll get the replays to watch at your convenience. So be sure to sign up for all three! See you tomorrow at 11am EST with Sally!

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We sat in a team meeting, trying to come up with an answer to this question: How do we help people more often than just once a year with our annual print magazine?

Social media is great. Blogs are great. But, holding something in your hands is a different experience. It has the potential to become part of your everyday life.

That was a powerful realization for us. If we could get good words, and meaningful tools into people’s hands, maybe they would sink more deeply into their hearts. A domino effect of change could happen. Big change. World change, even. We are a tiny team, but we believe that what we have is good, and something the world needs: hope.

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Our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings was a landmark issue for us. My marriage had recently come back to life, and our theme for the issue followed-suit: love never fails. Long before there were thousands of shops offering prints (and this was just four years ago), we took what felt like a big risk and made a gold foil print of those words to match our issue: Love Never Fails. Our hope was that couples would hang it in their new homes together and remember what matters most. We quickly sold out, and people began to understand and live out those words.

A few months later, in the Lara Casey Shop, we released this print, and this desk card, with the same hope: inspire people to cultivate what matters. Help people shift their thinking from distractions, comparison, and lies we tell ourselves too often, to truth. Life-giving truth. We sold out again. Having meaningful words in people’s homes, tucked in lunch boxes, on desks, and written on family room walls, was doing something.

Over the years, we have done notepads, prints, water bottles, original artwork, T-shirts, desk cards, sketch books, and lots of prints with my handwriting. We were up for creating whatever was going to help people get truthful inspiration in their hands. And then, we took a big risk and released the first PowerSheets, hoping that these goal-uncovering worksheets, filled with thoughtful questions and prompts, would help people uncover good goals–and take action. Four years later, thousands of people from literally all over the world are continuing to cultivate what matters with them. From one woman losing 90lbs and taking back her health, to students finding direction in their paths, marriages being strengthened (praise Him!), businesses being launched, moms finding fresh contentment right where they are, people being able to better navigate seasons of transition, and the simple things in daily life being savored more intentionally, the impact was–and is–happening.

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But, two years ago, I started to feel restless. Like the feeling you get when your clothes don’t fit well. I had just gone through a miscarriage and we were beginning to pray about adoption. God was opening our hearts to things we never imagined. Lots of change was in motion in our family, and in our company, and some things didn’t match that heart change.

My website felt too flashy.

We were selling too many different products, which was a lot to manage.

And shop name felt too, well, about me.

We kept running into walls when we wanted to share more good words with the world. Using our Instagram name @LaraCaseyShop felt like we were selling things, even when we weren’t trying to at all. For instance, earlier this year, after I posted this about wanting to quit my business, and we started telling more of our new story, having the word “shop” in our Instagram name didn’t feel like the right home for what we were sharing. Now, don’t hear me say that having “shop” in your name is a bad thing. It’s not at all! This is just what we personally felt in these four walls with our specific story. For us, our name began to make us feel confined, like we had to talk about shop things since that’s what our name was. But, this shop wasn’t created to just sell stuff; it was created to help people. My friend Lindsay and I share a heartbeat. She recently did something similar with her company name and I love what she shared:

“I love making art. I love making it for me, for you, and for the Lord. I believe that He’s given me this gift to bless Him, others, and to steward well. So the solution cannot be quitting. The solution, it seems, is a mind-shift. The solution has to be found in perspective.”

She shifted her perspective from selling art to blessing others with art. And her shift has made a greater impact.

Is selling bad? No way Jose. I believe that God has given us tools and words to help change lives, and the money we make is a tool to help change lives too. We are given all these things to steward well. And for us, to steward what we’ve been given well, we came to the conclusion that we needed a new home to do it from. We wanted to break free of the title trap, and have a home that fit. We wanted to tell other people’s stories, too–YOUR stories. We wanted to simplify, live well, give big, and help you do the same. We wanted a home that was bigger than just a shop. Because we didn’t start this to run a shop; we started this to run this race of life well and help you do the same.

But, renaming a shop is a big deal. There was so much we’d have to change, and what would the new name be anyway???

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Here’s how this conversation went for all of us:

Well, “Cultivate” is our ideal choice. This word has defined the last few years for us. We’ve tilled up the soil, gotten our hands dirty, planted meaningful things, tended to them little by little, and in the last couple months we’ve started to see the fruit. We are cultivating what matters, and the intentional decisions—and little by little imperfect progress–has been worth it.

BUT! Someone else has that domain name, and someone else has the Instagram handle.

So, that’s out. If it’s not perfect, we shouldn’t do it.

Brick wall.

I prayed. We mulled. We discussed all kinds of other names. We slept on it (for about five months). But, Cultivate just wouldn’t let us go.

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And now I’m in tears typing this. I wasn’t at all expecting them, but I believe this is confirmation from the Lord, once again, that He is in this. This isn’t about a company name; it’s about our lives. Little by little, change has happened. Little by little, God has been teaching me to grow what matters, in whatever season I’m in, with what I have, and that I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.

‘So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow’ (1 Corinthians 3:7).

God’s three answers to prayer: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind. His answer to my prayers about our company name was a combo of not yet and I have something better in mind : ) When I let go of chasing “perfect,” I finally found freedom and truth. The name became abundantly clear.

In a meeting, I said it out loud:

Cultivate What Matters.

We all got still.

CultivateWhatMatters.com and CultivateWhatMatters on Instagram just happened to be open. Would it be easier to tell people Cultivate.com? Sure. But, that wasn’t God’s plan. And God’s plans are always better than ours.

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Because, you see, it’s not about just growing any old thing. It’s not about doing more or being more. It’s not about striving for perfect, or having it all together. It’s about growing the right things. It’s about growing what you’ve been given right where you are. It’s about growing what lasts longer than you. That’s what matters. And we want to help you get there.

My friend, Andrea, sent me this note a few months ago as I was in the beginning stages of writing my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases next May):

This past Sunday our pastor said something that made me think of you. His sermon was about work and how we serve the Lord through our work. One of his points was that we were designed for work. Work was part of God’s plan even before the curse of the fall. In discussing this he referenced Genesis 2:15 “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Then he pointed out that the Hebrew word used here as “cultivate” is `abad and that it is the same word used for “serve” in Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  This just really struck me and made me pause and think. I love the idea that the hard work we are doing in cultivating our faith, our lives, our businesses, our children is serving the Lord. I immediately thought of you and your work on Cultivate.

Yes.

That’s it.

Cultivating what matters means serving, blessing, giving, and finding deep contentment knowing you are right where you re supposed to be, mess and all. Flaws and all. Flowers grow through the dirt, and so do we, friends. And they don’t grow for themselves; they grow to bless others.

So, there you have it. Our new shop and company name is Cultivate What Matters, and we’re so grateful! In sharing this with you, we feel like we’re all coming home.

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What’s ahead and when this change will officially happen: In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching the 2017 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker books (these are arriving as I type these words—wait till you see them!), and most importantly, CultivateWhatMatters.com (right now it redirects to the PowerSheets site). The new site will be home to a new inspiration blog, goal accountability groups, live coaching, downloads, and much more. Along with the Cultivate What Matters site launch, we’ll be changing over our Instagram name and social info to match.

And more change to share today—the relaunch of this here website! : ) These past two years have been a season of transition and change, and the glitter and flashiness of the old homepage just wasn’t me anymore. We’ve simplified it and included new photographs thanks to my friend Amy (now that I’m embracing my curls and have a few more kiddos around the house!). On the new home page you’ll find three free guides on Goals, Faith, and Marriage, to equip and encourage you to live out the words of our soon-to-be new company name.

The blog has been revamped, too. I’ve been blogging every week for the last six months, and I wanted to be able to connect with you more easily. A mobile-friendly version of the blog has been needed for a while; no more zooming in to read things. We’ve also made it easier for you to interact in the comments by using your Facebook profile if you choose.

There’s more and a few surprises, but I’ll let you poke around to find them : ) And we know a bunch of stuff isn’t done and there are glitches we need to still fix, but we’re launching anyway!

More about our new company name and our changes on Facebook Live.

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There’s more to say and share, but in the name of done being better than perfect, I’ll end with this little prayer that’s on my heart right now:

Thank you, Lord. Oh, Lord, you are GOOD. I just took a big deep content breath. I feel You with us. May these changes, our work, and our imperfect words bring you joy. I’m so grateful for this change, what you are growing in all of our lives, and most of all, for Your transforming grace. AMEN

By His grace my marriage was redeemed.

By His grace we have helped women uncover clarity and direction—and found it ourselves too.

By His grace I am Grace, Josh, and Sarah‘s mom.

And now, by His grace, we share this story, and invite you to join us to Cultivate What Matters.

Thank you, friends, for all of your love and encouragement as we’ve travelled this journey!

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To celebrate, I’m giving away a set of our new Flair pens (for you to use to write meaningful words in lunchbox notes, post-its, in your PowerSheets, or wherever!), and five of our new sticker books that are full of colorful, and genuinely meaningful stickers for your planner, PowerSheets, or wherever you want to use them (for example: put down your phone, drink water, take a day off, rest, and many more). Tell me below: what do you want to cultivate in your life?

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We’re entering what we’ve historically called our “busy” season. On the calendar: my site re-launch in a few days, a conference in a week, another site launch that same week, all of our 2017 products launching the week after that, and a magazine coming out the week after that. (And my book manuscript is due in the middle of all of this.) But let me tell you something. Last December, in the thick of Busy Season 2015, we sat together as a team with our PowerSheets and dreamed about what it would be like to do this season differently. To do it well, from full wells. All year, we’ve fought to live out our Year of Well. Living intentionally can be a fight, can’t it? Because it sometimes means you choose to say no, and you choose to grow slow, and you decide that you’re going to do things differently than the rest of the world.

We’ve already faced some things that weren’t in our plans (like PowerSheets being printed incorrectly—not our fault—and having to get everything reprinted), and we’ve set some ambitious goals in launching a new site and completely new shop name and brand. We don’t have it all together, done, and ready to go yet.

But, I sit here and notice that I feel worlds different than I did this time last year. I learned through doing my PowerSheets last year that my worries are always fruitless. Worry was the number one thing I wasted time on. And here I am, writing to you a year later. Something has shifted. I keep landing on this fact: God does not call us to be a mess of stress; He calls us to peace and trust. And not for no reason. When you see someone at peace—truly at peace—in challenges, doesn’t that make you wonder where their peace is coming from?

img_5515Photo in my attic office with the “IsaacSonAndDaughters” by Olivia Wolf.

Yes, there’s a lot of work ahead. If you saw my Instagram story a couple days ago, you know my list is long. Yes, our plates are full. But, those plates are also far more balanced than they’ve literally ever been. We planted our Year of Well seeds a year ago, and they are beginning to sprout. The little by little progress, hard conversations, daily decisions, times we’ve fallen flat on our faces and gotten back up, and the many times we’ve decided to do things differently have started to be fruitful.

So, I’m re-titling this season, and not because it’s not a full season. This year, we’re stepping into Harvest Season 2016. Before you cringe, let me take this a level deeper. I do not love the word “harvest” many times. Outside of the farming metaphor, it can have a connotation of sitting at an abundant table and enjoying the fruits of your labor. That’s a small part of it, but to gardeners and farmers the harvest is hard work. My sweet potatoes don’t land on our plates after growing them; we get your hands dirty and dig them out of the ground. We sweat. We muscle into it.

Too many years in a row, I grew grew grew, and got so tired growing things that I didn’t have any time or energy left to get to the finish line. To the gathering at the table where we get to savor and share. I’ve had years where I planted too much, and my tomatoes shriveled up on the vine before I could get the them. Harvest Season 2016 is a season of working with full wells, gathering up what’s been grown by the grace of God, and sharing it with the world—with you. And when we get fall into the busy trap, and lose sight of the big picture, we’re gonna grab hands and get right back to the good work of the harvest together.

If you need someone to come alongside you too, or have no idea were to start in hushing the hustle, we’re going to finish this year well together friends. No perfection required. Remember: it’s in the imperfect mess of the dirt where good things grow, little by little.

img_5494 I’m making little by little progress on my pressed flower project from garden treasures in every season. I shared more about it here.

Here are this week’s 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters (In no particular order!)

1.  Tell someone they matter. Each week in our team meetings, we give what we call “Golden Eggs.” Our office mascot is Henrietta after all. Golden Eggs are words of encouragement given to the team member who did something you thought was remarkable that week. This has been transformative for our team—and for my life. I got several eggs in my basket last week, and it gave me courage to keep going, keep leading, and keep working hard for what matters. Words have power. Just take a look at what happened when these teachers told students how much they appreciated them.

2.  Overcome the hustle. My friend Jessica Turner from The Mom Creative is about to launch a new online course that I’m excited about! Stretched Too Thin: A 10-Day Course on Overcoming Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom will help you unpack your struggles and find practical advice to live with more fulfillment and intention. I was grateful to be asked to write a special bonus for the course about Fruitful Friendship. Get a peek and sign up here.

3. Own your accent. What does the way you speak say about where you’re from? This NY Times quiz was shockingly accurate for me. It put me on the map in Mobile, Alabama, which is 30 minutes away from where my parents live and where I grew up. Where did you land on the map? I can’t wait to hear your results!

4. Get after it. It’s not death that most people are afraid of, it’s not really living. Watch this. Oh so good. If you “kinda” want something, you’re going to “kinda” get results.

5. Goal get ‘em! On the last Friday of each month, we’re doing our PowerSheets live on Instagram stories for you. You can watch Jess, Amber, Laura, and me do ours here—tons of helpful tips in each video. And here are my October goals. The new 2017 PowerSheets will be open for pre-order in a couple weeks, on November 1st!

6. Stand alone, even when you think no one is watching. He stood alone, prayed, and… God sure did answer. I love what his mom said about imperfect motherhood.

7. Go on a date. Kirsten from Exit Event came to our office a couple weeks ago to interview me about our company culture. Required date nights? Yep.

8. Use your money for something really good. Rhiannon finished her time with us over the summer and started her Young Life ministry. As someone who spent more time with her than anyone over the last two years, I know for sure that God has equipped her to help high school students know God. I wish I would have met a Rhiannon when I was in high school : ) Please consider a monthly donation to her ministry. Your donations will help her continue to do what she’s been called to do.

9. Get unstuck and motivated. Every Wednesday, I’ll be live on Facebook doing Grace-Filled Goal Coaching. This last Wednesday was so much fun with many of you! Catch the replay and join in here. If you “like” the page, you can get notifications when I go live so you don’t miss it each week. We’ll pick up next Wednesday with more!

10. Tell me who you are. I get fired up knowing what makes other people fired up. That’s why I studied music theatre in college: I loved telling people’s stories. And it’s why I became a personal trainer after college: I wanted to help people live their stories well. I’d love to know who you are, or if we’ve met before what’s new in your life, or how you connected with me. Tell me here or in the comments below. I can’t wait to get to know who you are!

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P.S. Notice anything new here? : ) Um…. we finally have a mobile version (yes, I’m a little behind the times on updating my site)! Lots more updates happening behind the scenes, a new home page coming, and lots of surprises when my site officially re-launches next Thursday. I’m not planning a huge launch, but I will be telling you our new shop name and plans next Thursday too. I’m excited. It feels like finally coming home.

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The air is getting cooler, and I’m feeling it: I’m going to have to let go soon. The cold will take these blooms in a few short weeks, and I’ll begin dreaming again of next year’s garden. It has been a beautifully imperfect year in the garden. Nothing manicured. Lots of surprises. Like the time we planted rutabagas and up came horseradish. And the time when we found termites and had to remove all the wood chip. Lots of experiments, and things that never grew, and awkward little spaces. And yet this has been my favorite year. So much life in Gracie’s Garden — goldfinches, butterflies in seven colors, hummingbirds, bees, the neighbor’s sweet cat, Gracie eating tomatoes and throwing flower petals in the air, and a few green lizard spottings. It has been real good. And I always feel a little sad when the air cools. Nothing on this earth lasts forever, and yet what we grow here matters. I’m asking myself these questions:

What good could I do with this life I’ve been given, right where I am?

What can I cultivate that will grow long after I’m gone?

img_4850Picking flowers last night, after everyone went to bed.

106 days left in the year to use well, and grow good things. Lots to think on this weekend. In-progress thoughts from my garden. : )

Here are 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters This Week (In no particular order!)

1. Make Dinnertime Matter. If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you choose? I’d love to hear your answers! Wait till you see what happens when these kids begin answering this question.  

2. Tell your story. I cried so much writing my story in Make It HappenI wrestled with God a lot about my past. I cried to Ari. I grieved. But here’s the miraculous thing about pain, tears, and grieving… in it, I healed. Although it didn’t feel so fun at the time, writing my story was one of the best gifts I’ve been given. Even if you have no interest in publishing a book, consider writing your story. Use a journal, your laptop, a voice recorder, scrap paper—anything. Writing your memories could change you, and allow you to sort through things that may be holding you back from moving forward. And if you do want to publish a book, I recommend Compel Training. Here’s a free ebook I contributed to that may help encourage you too: 7 Secrets You Need to Know as New Writer.

3. Let It Be. I haven’t submitted my writing for something before without being prompted to by someone else, and I was all sorts of nervous to do this for the first time. Last year’s Advent Devotional from Naptime Diaries (now Amen Paper Company) was life-changing for me. Many of the words still linger with me, specifically Becky Kiefe’s piece (part of which can be found here – “When Jesus Interrupts Your Cleaning“). I’m grateful to be included in the 2016 Advent Devotional this year. Preorders launched yesterday.

fullsizerender-8Last night with all the monkeys before bed. : ) 

4. Lose “Always” and “Never.” I shared a few sneak peeks from my upcoming e-book about marriage in Wednesday’s Facebook Live. A favorite tip that has helped us: eliminate always and never from your relationship vocabulary. Ari and I began practicing this after listening to a Tim Keller sermon years ago (that I can’t find the link to now), and it helped us communicate more lovingly and truthfully. As I was searching the inter-webs for that Tim Keller sermon, I happened on this great article from the Beating Fifty Percent site.

5. Choose Grace, Not Perfection. My friend Emily’s book, Grace Not Perfection, releases in one month. We used to own a consulting and branding company together, and one day, in the middle of a ver busy season for us, Emily said to me on the phone, “I want to hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection.” It was a lightbulb for both of us. We are going to create a Thunderclap to spread this message far and wide on release day. Join us.

6. Laugh. To everything there is a season. Coming out of a really hard season, I’ve noticed that I’ve been relishing the gift of laughter lately. You’ve probably noticed this, as I tend to include at least one funny video in each week’s post. Here’s your giggle for this week: This guy is a high school principal and oh my stars. Just watch. : )

7. Mark your planners. November 1 is PowerSheets launch day. Nicole and I had a flood of emails after last year (and still get them) from people who were really sad they didn’t get a PS Workbook. So, mark your planners, and we’ll be doing a livestream that day for you to follow along with our launch, and see the new products in action. This year’s PowerSheets are a new size (smaller!), new material, and every page of content has been made even more fun, meaningful, and powerful. Oh, they are so good! And yes, there are new stickers. I wish I could hand-deliver them to each of you specifically, dear friends. I’ve loved getting to know many of you here since I started this new blog series. Your comments and our conversations make my week.

img_4875Gracie found a ripe watermelon in the garden this morning! 

And these last three are words to tuck into your heart pocket, or write each of these on post-it notes for your desk so you start next week well!

8. Done is better than perfect. Get a free iPhone or desktop wallpaper of this, and many more here.

9. Busy is the enemy of peace. Busy takes us away from our purpose. Busy is not truly productive in the big picture. Busy means life’s joys and surprises can’t find a way into our lives because we’re moving too fast to see and experience them. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to move so fast that I miss my life. More here.

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10. And I’ll keep reminding you, and myself:  It’s okay to grow slow. 

What are you most wanting to grow in your life right now? I believe in the power of words. Getting them out of our heads helps us take action and move forward. To encourage you to get your words out, I’ll choose a few of you to win a set of colorful inspiring desk cards. : ) I’ll share my thoughts in the comments too!

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P.S. I didn’t forget about the news I had planned to share with you, as promised in my last post. I thought we would be ready to share, but good things sometimes take extra time to grow : ) More to come.

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I often wonder if what I do everyday is helping others. Not in an “I don’t think I have purpose” way, but I genuinely don’t have the ability to know most times. After webinars (like this one and this one) or speaking, or even in writing my first book, people ask me, “How did it go?” My answer is always the same:

I don’t know. I hope it helped?

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You see, it’s not about me or what I think. I may never know if I’ve made an impact till I reach Heaven. That’s where faith comes in—believing in what we can’t yet see. Dreaming of the fruit that may grow long after we’re gone. Trusting and planting seeds anyway, no immediate tangible reward in sight. I’m an imperfect boss, wife, mom, friend, sister, and writer, and I can only hope that what I share will plant a good seed in your life–all by God’s grace because of my aforementioned imperfection. But, I want you to know that your comments on my last post encouraged me greatly to keep going, keep growing, and to cultivate what matters—what lasts, little by little. I may have written a post about taking the next step forward to encourage you, but you ended up encouraging me, friends!

Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

I’ll be sharing about some of my own steps forward in the next post. Big changes are coming : ) And I don’t love statements like that unless they are potentially true for the reader as well. I pray these changes will, in fact, be big for you too!

img_4626Speaking of big… This girl is growing so fast! Out on our morning walk : ) 

Till then, here are 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters This Week (In no particular order!)

1. Make it happen. Today is the final day to enter to win the Make It Happen Giveaway. We’re giving away 19 inspiring tools and books, including the first set of 2017 PowerSheets and our brand new sticker book. I’ve loved reading and replying to many of your comments on the post!

2. Bust a move. They were on vacation, ordered water, and just came out to dance. Right around 1:20 is when I couldn’t help but giggle out loud.

3. Encourage a student. We donated all the remaining 2016 PowerSheets from the shop (about 300 sets) to local UNC students. We’re hopeful they will encourage students to cultivate what matters in this season! Take a moment and encourage a student this week. It could make a huge impact. Just think about the encouragement you needed when you were in college.

fullsizerender-6My PowerSheets goals for September above. I talked about each goal in my weekly Facebook Live on Wednesday. I had a cute little assistant with me too : ) 

4. Write the Word. Write the Word orders now come with my NEW Cultivating Faith Mini Book. Grace kissed them all to add extra love to your packages. : ) Use the code FRESHFAITH to get 20% off your order, too.

5. Prioritize. How do I do it all? I don’t. Read my interview with Terra from Earn Spend Live about how I prioritize, and what our mornings are like here.

6. Become an Ambassador. When I was ten, my mom’s best friend was married to the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. Crazy, right? I spent time with them there when I was little, and his passion for his work made a life-long impression on me. Being an Ambassador was a multi-faceted role that allowed him to teach, lead, serve, and create community—all of which he did with grace and joy. Our shop Ambassador/Affiliate program is tiny in comparison, but I believe it can have a powerful impact on lives. I know many of you are passionate about sharing our mission to cultivate an intentional life with others. Our Affiliate Program equips you to do that, and you’ll get the first look at all the new products in our private Affiliate Facebook group soon. Join our team here.

7. Find your money! You guys. There are millions of dollars of unclaimed money (also known as “unclaimed property”) out there. We recently got a letter in the mail that looked rather spammy, stating that they found $756 that belonged to Ari, and they wanted to help us claim it. I almost tossed the letter, but I got curious. I did some research and, low and behold, there really was $756 that Ari was owed from a student loan thing forever ago! I bypassed the company who wanted a cut, and went straight to the California Treasurer’s office to claim the funds. The check came last week. It was real! My mom did it too and got her check. Bypass the middle men, and go straight to your state’s website to see if you have unclaimed funds. Start here and search by state (try every state you’ve ever lived in too—you never know). Let me know if you find something.

8. Start fresh. Last week, we talked about taking the next best step. We’re really good at this in January, right? Then, come February 1 … you know where this is going. I’ve been right there too, making progress on some goals then weeks later, getting bogged down by inner shame: I failed. I can’t do this. I am not enough. I messed up — all hope is lost! If you need encouragement for your next step, or the one after that, or need start over completely, I wrote this for you.

fullsizerenderAfter a year of not being able to go many places because of nap schedules and feedings, we finally have 1.5 hour windows every day. It may not seem like much, but it’s huge for us. We used our 1.5 on Sunday afternoon to take a walk in the woods near our house! It was wonderful! Little by little, we are getting out more :) 

9. Forgive. This is a weighty one, but I’m including it because it’s one of the biggest keys to making progress on what matters: grace. Grace—being forgiven of all my junk (and there was a lot of it) compelled me to forgive Ari for all the hurt in our marriage. And grace compelled him to do the same for me. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing our story of forgiveness as a part of Love God Greatly’s Forgiveness study. Since I’m not on social media on the weekends, I’m giving you the link now in case you want to click over and read it. : ) Join in here.

10. Don’t count the days, make the days count. Remember our code word from last week’s? Today’s code “word”is 113! 113 days left in this year to finish well, to let go, to dive in, to do less, to say no, to say yes, to embrace imperfect progress, to take the next best step—to choose what matters. A tip: define what matters to you by getting it out of your head. Leave a comment here with one thing that matters to you today, big or small. To encourage you to get your thoughts out and do something about then, I’ll give a couple of you our new Cultivate What Matters sticker books (releasing November 1). Tell me one thing that matters to you, big or small! I’ll leave my thoughts below too.

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P.S. It’s time to fly.

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