Author: Lara

Have you seen this meme going around?

Image from Kaylyn Van Driesum via Letterfolk

Life can feel this way, right? But! What if there was a way to slow down the crazy train and be present right here—and prepared for what’s ahead?

There is!

Get my best tips and tools for cultivating your schedule and celebrating people well along the way in this free workshop: How to Cultivate Your Calendar. Watch now below!

A little forethought goes a long way! I’d love to hear your favorite takeaway from the workshop! What stood out to you the most?

To help you get back to what matters and use your time well in the season ahead, visit the shop!

Get back to organized.
Get back to fun.
Get back to balance.
Get back to encouragement.
Get back to community.
Get back to motivated.
Get back to planting seeds of faith.

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What a month July was! It was filled with many significant work events (our quarterly team Summit and our 2019 product shoot) and… the Great Peach Harvest of 2018! We’ve had our Elberta peach tree for 7 years, and we’ve never had more than 1 – 2 peaches. Well, I’ve heard it said before ( 😉 ) that good things grow over time, little by little, and our peach tree wowed us this year with 100 peaches (yes, we were blown away!). We have eaten the best peaches we’ve ever had at nearly every meal for the last two weeks, and we’re using the last dozen to make peach ice cream tonight. July 2018 will be forever marked in our minds by this sweet display of God’s faithfulness! Between the peaches, blueberry picking and so much garden goodness (our giant pumpkin is… well, giant!), it was a great month filled with great people.

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

July Monthly Goals Progress:

— 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. // Yes, God gave me so much peace through challenges in July. I am so grateful!
Book Club with God. I’m working this month to spend time by myself with God. // I did this once, and I count that as a win! 
— Team Summit with Your joy. Our team summit is coming next week! Eeeee!!! I can’t wait for us to all be together! // Oh my soul, this time together was powerful! We spent two days strategizing and thinking big picture. Most of all though, we spent time calling each other higher and helping each other own our unique gifts.
— Product shoot with Your joy. Our big fall product shoot is immediately after our summit! // Yes! We all worked so hard and it was worth it. Getting to spend three days with Gina and our amazing team and real-life PowerSheets users was… magic! Wait till you see the joy in these photos!
— 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. // This is something I am working tirelessly on and we are making progress! I won’t be fully in this role for another 6 months or so I don’t think, but great strides have been made. Progress, not perfection!
— Scatter joy in the Cultivate Book Club. Want to join us? It’s not too late! Get your book and sign up here. // I am looking forward to the live book club party next week!

Our shoot crew after three amazing days of creating images for you—the 2019 collection launches October 24th!

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. // Yes! Progress here! So many of these little adventures and opportunities to notice His faithfulness happened in the garden. I’m seeing more and more how valuable that space is to 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. // I had opportunities to pray with and for the team on many occasions and I am very grateful.
— 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! // We missed this a couple times in July with the shoot and events, but it was so good the times we did it!

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. // Yes! On track! I am still loving the audio version most days.
— 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!) // I FINALLY MADE PROGRESS HERE! Something connected for me in the way I worded this. Goals don’t have to make sense to the rest of the world, as long as they 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! // A friend said the following words to me that just stuck: “Free people free people.” I have carried that with me since and it has reminded me to let go and give thanks!

Also in July, we celebrated Cultivators Appreciation Day— a holiday we created to celebrate our amazing Cultivate family! I got to surprise call customers, meet new friends (see below!) and talk to many of you live. What a joy to express our thanks!

On to August! 

August Monthly Goals:

— Trust in the Lord. Over my own efforts and abilities and plans, my top priority this month is to trust the Lord with it all.
— Praise-ful night away with Ari. We are going “away” for one night—right down the road to a log cabin bed and breakfast. I am hopeful this is a time Ari and I can spend remembering God’s faithfulness and praising Him through our conversations.
— Cultivate my calendar. Rather than wait till right before the holidays to make meaningful plans, and to look ahead to 2019, I’m going to take a look now and cultivate my calendar. Read on to join me for an hour-long workshop on how to cultivate your calendar too!


— Teach the Cultivate Your Calendar live workshop. This was one of the most popular webinars I did last year, and I’m excited to dive in again so we can all prepare well for the months ahead! Save the date for next Thursday at noon ET. (Save your seat here!)
— Prepare well for the homeschool year! Wooooo! It’s coming! We’ve been doing a little homeschool here and there this summer, and it’s about to ramp up. Any other mom’s feeling the back-to-school crunch too? I had a great conversation over dinner last night with some wiser-than-me mamas and it was so refreshing. Their advice: You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be an expert. Little by little progress adds up. (Sound familiar?! 🙂 ) It was refreshing to be reminded of these truths as I prepare for the year ahead!
— Record the Podcast. Yes! It’s happening! I’m a little scared typing this. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m doing it! Any votes for the name of said podcast or for episodes you’d like to see included? I’d love to hear!
— Celebrate Josh’s 3rd year + life! I am so that mom, and already pulled out his baby album to tell him his birth story! His birthday is the 13th and we are having a little farm party with 3 of his friends and our family, but this goal is more about praising the Lord throughout the month for the gift of these years and for his life. Josh is our rainbow baby (we had a miscarriage before we started our adoption process and simultaneously found out I was pregnant). His existence is a miracle and I want to intentionally take time to remember and praise God for this!
— Family praise-cation. I know, I know—I have a thing for making up new words with “praise” or “pray” in them to keep me focused on what matters! (Case in point: Pray-oritize. Verb. To prioritize through praying about what He wants on your to-do list!) We are taking a week-long trip to Boone and Asheville. We’re going to Tweetsie (Josh can’t wait to ride the train) and Grandfather Mountain (I have been wanting to go for two years!) and the Biltmore. I can’t wait!

Shoot prep at my house. This photo makes me giggle—such an accurate depiction of life around here!

August Weekly Goals:

— Pray on my knees. I’m feeling a need for some extra surrender this month.
— Praise with the kids. I’ve already started this—intentionally voicing praise for God’s blessings or answered prayers, instead of just thinking them to myself!
— Write the Word Wednesday + Bible journaling. Every Wednesday, the kids and I do our Write the Word journals together. I’m adding Bible journaling to this so I spend time praying over Grace and writing notes to her in her Bible in prep for this new school year.

August 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 – This is my goal to strength train. I do abs and some free weights here at home with the kiddos!

Verses I’m loving for August:

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures…’ (Psalm 23:1-2).

‘In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.’ (Psalm 25:1).

‘Does a farmer plow and never sow? Is he forever cultivating the soil and never planting? Does he not finally plant his seeds…’ (Isaiah 28:24-25).

Your turn! Do you have goals for August? 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 July’s winner, Bonnie!

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In 2009, I posted a blog entry answering a question I’d recently been emailed: “How do you make things happen?”

That blog post (“How to Make Things Happen“) started making waves. Those waves grew quickly into a movement of women who wanted to finally do the things they’d always wanted to do.

A friend suggested I take the ideas I had shared in that post on the road and teach them. Before I knew it, Emily LeyGina Zeidler and I were traveling all across the country doing the Making Things Happen Workshop!

MTH Spring 2017! Photo by Amy Nicole.

But, here’s where the story takes a turn.

I did all the things I wanted to do, too (at the time). I had a growing business. I was traveling and speaking and doing creative work. But, it came at a cost. I didn’t know how to balance it all, and lived firsthand that doing too much of (even) a good thing is too much. My marriage was falling apart. I was working 24/7 at the expense of everything else. My work became my worth. You can read the whole story in my book Make It Happen.

I couldn’t succeed on mere passion and gusto. I had to learn to make the right things happen. I began learning these truths:

Making things happen means knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS–on growing what lasts longer than you.

MTH2017_AmyNicolePhotography-391

Making things happen means learning to say NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique assignment–not someone else’s assignment.

Making things happen means making decisions that will get you to where you want to be when you’re 80 years old.

Making things happen means taking risks, taking action, and embracing tension.

Making things happen—the right things—changes everything.

As I began learning these truths and living them, the Making Things Happen movement did a 180-degree turn, too. We got off the road and turned the intensive into a two-day conference here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But, the biggest change of all was teaching attendees that last truth above — how to make the right things happen.

While everyone else keeps saying what they’ve always said—“Do more! Be more!”—here we are, nine years later (9 years!), teaching something entirely different: do less. Do what matters.

Need some of that in your life?

I want you to join me this September!

Meet the Fall 2018 Encouragement Crew! 

Who is MTH for? Here’s another way MTH is different from other conferences. You won’t be listening to a panel of speakers tell you how to do things; you’ll be led through a powerful process where YOU uncover good goals and make an action plan that fits your specific life and dreams. MTH is for everyone: love-at-home moms, corporate CEOs, students, retirees, creatives, non-creatives, and everyone in between. Whether you know what you want to make happen and need an action plan, or you need help uncovering good goals, MTH is for you. And all ages join us, from college freshmen to women in their 60’s who are ready for a new chapter in life! The unifying factor among our attendees is a desire to live intentionally and make the most of their time and gifts.

MTH is unlike any other conference. It’s like doing PowerSheets in person and meeting a group of women who think like you and will cheer you on in every step forward. Together, we uncover what matters to you and do something about it. Every time I lead this conference, I do the work right along with the attendees. And every time I’m changed. There’s no magic to it, but we have learned a lot over these nine years that helps women simplify and take action.

You might be a mother or wife who is struggling to balance family responsibilities. You might be a working professional trying to run with a big idea. Or you might be a small business owner burning the candle at both ends. (Or all of the above!) If you’re ready to use your potential on purpose, MTH is for you.

I love getting to know you at MTH! Photo by Carrie Joy Osborne

I want you to join me in Chapel Hill on September 24 and 25th for our 53rd experience! This is the only conference I’ll be speaking at in 2018. Many of you have told me you’d love to come. Take the leap. I’ve been doing this conference for nine years and I believe in the work we are doing. Your gifts have a purpose and they were meant to be used!

The early-bird rate ($1000 off) ends July 31—or until we sell out—and we’ve sold out every conference. Want to take a peek inside the conference? Take a look here. I can’t wait to see you there!

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? Now is your time to do the right things.

Don’t miss this: GET YOUR SEAT NOW!

How it feels when you finish day 2 of MTH (Meeta came all the way from India!)…

Photos by Rachel Coffey 

See you there!

P.S. We’re giving away one scholarship seat in memory of my long-time friend, Yvette Price, who embodied all that we teach at MTH. She was courageous in her battle with cancer and made what matters happen despite great challenges. In her honor, we’re grateful to give away one seat to either an alum or new attendee. This scholarship is for the full ticket price not including travel or accommodations. Enter below to win the Yvette Price Scholarship by July 31st! Note: If you are our lucky winner and have already purchased your ticket, we will issue you a full refund. Don’t miss your chance to purchase a ticket before we sell out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I’d love to hear from you: what do you want to make happen?

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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!

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You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. – Jim Rohn

Wow! Does that hit you like it does me? Every time we talk about this concept at the Making Things Happen Conference, it changes us.

Those five people could be family members, friends, or even people on social media you’ve never met. The people and things we allow into our lives the most have a profound effect on our thoughts—and our future outcomes. This is one of the many reasons I’m grateful to have you, the Cultivate What Matters family, as a collective one of my “five!”

I am passionate about encouraging you, but you encourage me to live out what matters a hundredfold. (Your support last week was a gift!)

You fight alongside me each day to pay attention to what matters—what lasts. You are living this out! I read every comment and message, and I love following your journeys. You inspire me to say no to distractions and keep my eyes focused on truth.

You are encouragers—helping to build women up right where they are. Case in point: how you welcomed our two new team members, Ashlea + Jordan, to the Cultivate family last week!

Get to know each of us—and what we do—here.

You are strong and capable and ready for the second half of the year, even when you feel like you have no idea what you are doing.

And you don’t mess around when it comes to taking action on goals that matter to you!

This month, you have taken first steps on mid-year goals and WOW! What a month this has been! I have loved doing live goal coaching with you, seeing so many lightbulbs go off as you continue to take those first steps.

Our Goal-Getters board and walls (!) are filled with YOUR names. And we’re still going—take a step forward on a goal that matters to you and we will put your name on the board! We want to cheer you on because little-by-little progress is worth celebrating. When one woman steps forward on something that matters to her, do you know what happens? It creates a ripple effect. You are world changers, friends!

I took my own steps forward this month too—specifically on two of my yearly goals that are related:

  1. Love the things above, not the things of the world: cultivating contentment in our children, clearing out the stuff and information overload, and generous and wise stewardship of what we’ve been entrusted with.
  2. Cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in motherhood: growing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control in their hearts by our family seeking after God Himself above everything else.

To move forward on these goals, I wanted to start “morning time” in our family: gathering the kids together at the table each morning to grow our faith and family bond.

I’ve been wanting to do this all year, but couldn’t figure out how to do it. There were a few logistical roadblocks. First, we didn’t have a table where everyone could sit together, spread out, and make a mess. We had the dining room table, but the chairs were not exactly kid-and-craft-friendly (ha!). When Ari and I moved into our house seven years ago, before we had kids, we bought white upholstered dining chairs. Not ideal for kiddos! We also didn’t have a time that seemed to work. And how could I keep all three kids’ attention for more than a few seconds together?

For months, I did nothing. I thought about it, but I couldn’t figure out how to move forward and make it work long-term. I wanted to make morning time a regular rhythm in our house, but these small logistical things seemed to stand in my way (which feels silly now looking back!). I did nothing—until I saw all of YOU making leaps forward on your goals this month, breaking through obstacles big and small.

You lit a fire under me!

I decided that, since we used our dining room table maybe once a month at most, this would be the place. Kids crafts and books would make a welcome centerpiece! : )

My first action step: I went to find a few boxes that I could use to fill with morning time supplies. I made a box for each kiddo and filled each with Write the Word for Kids journals, craft supplies, and a few books.

I made myself a box, too. Inside: my Write the Word journal, Bible, pens, and some homeschool books.

And… I bought these wipable indestructible chairs to replace the not-so-kid-friendly upholstered ones from IKEA that were falling apart anyway. Bonus: they came fully assembled.

Up next: It was time to give this morning time thing a try for the first time.

Starting new things for the first time can be tricky, right? Whether it’s starting a new routine in your family or starting a magazine, fear can try to stop us at the starting line.

What if it doesn’t work?

What if this fails?

How do you move forward on goals that matter to you when you feel fear?

First things first (and this is the key that most people miss!): break your goal down into itsy-bitsy tiny steps—the smaller, the more likely you are to DO them. Once you break your goal down, you may find that you can’t help but take action—fear has less of a hold on you because smaller steps aren’t as daunting. (For more on breaking goals down into mini goals, read here.)

In the big and small things, you get to choose: fear or faith.

Breaking it down helps you move from fear to I’m doing this!

I gathered all the kiddos at the table with some snacks (a tip I learned from my friend, Sally Clarkson—snacks make new things more appealing!), I prayed for us, and I read them a book while they colored.

That was it.

It lasted for 15 minutes and it. was. awesome.

This may seem so simple, but that’s exactly the point. Our first morning time at the table together, with the sun peeking in, was simple and beautiful and life-giving for all of us. One day led to two, two led to a week, and now we’re three weeks in. This daily rhythm has changed our family!

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do?

Big or small, you should go DO them.

Starting morning time was important to me because I see how it will have a ripple effect in our family—and hopefully their own families—for years to come. Learning has happened at the table. Conversation has happened here. Togetherness has happened here. And it didn’t take any grand planning. Just a few intentional steps forward.

Cultivating what matters means doing small things that add up to the big things.

Thinking big picture, and taking small intentional steps forward.

I don’t have an agenda each time I sit down with them; I do what is best for that day and each of thier nurturing needs at that moment. Some mornings we read, some mornings we paint, some mornings we color, and on homeschool days, the other kiddos do whatever they like at the table while Grace and I work through reading, handwriting, and other activities. Sometimes the younger two end up playing legos on the floor, and sometimes we have music. We just go with it!

There are often interruptions and tantrums and challenges, too, but the “imperfections” are part of the blessing of this time. Part of the learning is working through big emotions and “I wanted the yellow crayon!” moments together. : )

This time (usually from 7:30-8-ish before I start work) lasts anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. How long we do it doesn’t matter as much as doing it with the right heart: to seek Him and delight in the creative gifts God has given each of us.

And it all began with one small step forward: I went to find boxes.

Sometimes, the hardest part of starting something is proverbially “putting on your shoes,” right? Once you take the first step, the momentum grows.

Our first day above—I was still waiting on the chairs to arrive, but we dove in anyway! 

Your turn! What one step forward have you taken—or plan to take—on a goal that matters to you? Leave a comment here with your one step and I’ll add your name to our office Goal Getters Board!

I hope my story encourages you to dig in and take the first step. You never know how that one step forward might change everything!

Up next, I’ll be sharing more practical ways I’ve taken action on these goals: 8 Ways to Infuse Scripture into Your Home. Look for that on July 5th!

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