Author: Lara

I have been half-joking lately that my next book will be called, No. Alternate titles: The Year of No, All the Things God Has Told Me to Say No To, and my personal favorite, No, No, No. 😉

This has been a year of saying yes to the things that matter in the big picture and, inherent in choosing those things, is saying no to all the rest. No to doing it all. No to distractions and negative self-talk. No to worry. No to opportunities that would take me away from my family. No to doing the same things I’ve always done and getting the same results I’ve always gotten. Yes to cultivating the hearts in this home. Yes to doing the things I was put on this earth to do.

We loved apple picking in Morganton, NC, last month!

An excerpt from Cultivate that I keep coming back to and living out:

‘It’s simple gardening math: plants need space for roots to grow, and they need adequate nutrients. If you want them to flourish, then give them these things. Untangling our lives can feel more complicated, though. Relationships, expectations of others, deadlines, and dates press on us and feel impossible to unravel and unrush. So how do you do it? How do you know what to say no to when it all feels urgent? How do you simplify? A powerful fertilizer to nourish the things that truly matter in life is the word no. We often think of no as a scary and disconnecting word, but it has the power to be one of the most loving and connecting words you use. It’s okay to let go, not keep up, and not do it all. It’s okay to disappoint people in favor of growing what God has given you to grow. It’s okay to say no. We have only so much space, energy, and nutrients in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I do not thrive in an overcrowded life. Whether it’s too many dreams planted at once or too many social commitments, work projects, family activities, or unresolved conflicts, all those things take up space. When I try to do it all, nothing grows well.’

I had a life-shifting realization a couple weeks ago: perhaps I’m not just in a “season” of say no to make room for the things God has given me to cultivate. Perhaps, this is a lifelong commitment. Letting this thought take root has given me so much freedom to say no with joy and without regret. This commitment to “no” is where the good stuff is.

Happiness at the top of Grandfather Mountain!

So, you may be wondering…how can you say no when it’s so hard?

When your yes is crystal clear, it’s actually quite easy. Get clear on the yes, and you can’t help but choose it over all the rest.

Want a free printable to help you get there? Download the Intentional Life List and name your yes’s and no’s.

August was a month of getting clear on my yeses. A trip to the mountains—looking over the green valleys and expanse of God’s creation—put a lot in perspective for me, making my narrow worries seem so small. I came back ready for change, ready to make firm decisions to say yes to the things God has given me to grow.

In the Grandfather Mountain wildflowers with my favorite buddies!

August Monthly Goals Progress:

— Trust in the Lord. Over my own efforts and abilities and plans, my top priority is to trust the Lord with it all. / Yes, this was at the forefront of my thoughts as I waded through many unknowns and challenges in August. Trusting in His power over my own is a whole lot easier than feeling like I have to be in control all the time!
— 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. / What a fun adventure this was. We had a great time (loved eating at Vin Rouge as per Emily’s recommendation) and yet, after being away for less than 24 hours, we couldn’t wait to see the kids again!
— Cultivate my calendar. Rather than wait until 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. / Yes! This was simple and so helpful! I did this in 15 minutes from my phone. I went day by day through my iCal and wrote down action steps to prepare well for events and needs ahead—and some things I did right then and there! For example, I texted a babysitter for one event and made a gift list for another. I shifted some things around that didn’t work and made sure all of our ducks were in a row. 15 minutes of cultivating my calendar saved me so much time for the future! More below…
— 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! / I highly recommend watching this replay—so many tips and aha moments from everyone who has taken this workshop! 
— Prepare well for the homeschool year! Wooooo! 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! / I may have a VERY EXCITING free download coming soon in regards to this one. I am feeling great about our 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! / We have a name! (Thank you for all of your suggestions!) And I start recording in a few days! Ahhhh!!!! Can’t wait to share more soon. If you have suggestions on episode topics, I’d love to hear!

Teaching my buddy how to feed chickens at Spence’s Farm for his birthday!

— Celebrate Josh’s 3rd year + 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! / So much praise! It was simple and sweet to celebrate his birthday with friends at the farm and then in the mountains on his actual birthday to remember God’s goodness!
— 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! / This trip. It was my favorite vacation ever—and not because it was smooth and easy. We had our meltdowns (all of us!) and challenges, but what was so sweet about this trip was having the time and space to love each other through the challenges in new ways. Time was the biggest blessing. Time to talk. Time to feel all the emotions. Time to take deep breaths of mountain air. It was so good for us all.

August Weekly Goals:

— Pray on my knees. I’m feeling a need for some extra surrender this month. / Yes, there was a lot of surrender and prayer time.
— 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! / Yes! Progress here too.
— 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. / We did our Write the Word journals but I didn’t do much Bible journaling.

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. / Yes! We are in Ezekiel.
— Strength + Joy – This is my goal to strength train. I do abs and some free weights here at home with the kiddos! / Hooray yes! I did strength training a few times and lots of mountain hikes and carrying kiddos!

On to September! 

September Monthly Goals:

— Seek Him. This is my top priority for September (and always!)—to seek the Lord in my days, moments, thoughts, actions, decisions, homeschooling, parenting, marriage, and in loving others well. Practically speaking, this means stopping to pray, to ask Him what He wants me to do, and reading His word every chance I get. I have an open Bible on my desk, an open Bible on my dining room table, and the front page of my phone has the YouVersion Bible app right where it’s easiest to click with my thumb. The easier you make it to read the Word, the less likely you’ll be to choose something else! 🙂
— Begin our cultivated homeschool year. More to come here soon!
— Record the podcast. 
— Prepare well for the 2019 PowerSheets launch
— Love Josh + Sarah and my parents well on our trip to Florida. I’m taking the two little ones to see my parents for a few days while Ari takes Grace to visit her cousins in Omaha—I’m praying for smooth travels all around and opportunities to love others well.
— Celebrate Rosh Hashana. Our kiddos love this new year celebration with apples and honey—and Ari blowing his shofar.
— Have a surrendered quarterly sabbath. Out of all the action steps I took from the Cultivated Calendar teachings, this is the one I’m most grateful for. Last fall, I looked ahead at my 2018 calendar and went ahead and blocked off 3 days once a quarter to take off. Instead of letting my calendar dictate my life, I made the intentional decision to block off these days ahead of time. This has been helpful!
— Prayerfully lead the 54th Making Things Happen ConferenceThe fall conference is sold out, and spring tickets will be on sale later this month. I can’t wait to see everyone soon!
— Savor September. Forever ago, I started a hashtag—#SavorSeptember—to help my mind and heart enjoy the change of season. I’m picking it back up again this month to slow my thoughts and praise Him at every turn!

September Weekly Goals:

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

Out on a prayer walk with my favorite sisters. Many of us have known each other for almost a decade. We’ve prayed together, studied the Word, enjoyed many a barbecue, and shared a lot of laughs over these years. It hit me as we were out walking together last weekend that these are my people. When I was in college, I would envision who my adult friends might be—the people who would be there consistently for years and years through ups and downs. I realized during this walk, that I’m in it. These (and more not pictured) are those people. I am grateful.

September 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 September:

‘Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland’ (Isaiah 43:18-19).

‘But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit’ (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

A view from my first solo hike through Grandfather Mountain. It was hard and glorious, and so fun to see the kids and Ari cheering me on when I reached the end! (I have found a new passion in hiking! Any hikers out there?)

Your turn! What are your goals for September? 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 August’s winner, Cassie!

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Do you know what it feels like to rely on your own strength?

Yep. It’s fleeting.
Frustrating.
Exhausting even.

I stood on this beach last week and my thoughts felt tangled as I tried to fix everything on my own. Worries. Fears. A mess of various thoughts.

Then Ari asked the kids, “Do you know who made this ocean?”

It was simple and it was powerful.

If God made this vast beautiful teeming-with-life body of water, surely my small challenges were easy. Light. A delight for Him to help me with, just as I delight in helping these three.

Something I’ve been chewing on lately: how these three fully rely on Ari and me. For direction, for food, for comfort, for safety, for love. And how often I fail to rely on my Father who gives me 1000x as much.

Taking care of my tangled thoughts and fears and worries was already done before I even asked.

Before my kids ask, I know they need food. Before they rub their eyes, I know they need rest. And before I put my feet in this sand, He knew I would need the simple reminder that God is big and I can LET GO.

These three had fun together on vacation last week!

Lord, in this new month of April, help me to rely on Your voice over the world. Your strength over mine. Your power over my total inability to calm my inner storms on my own. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you for loving us right where we are. And thank you for never giving up on us, even when we are a teeny weeny bit stubborn!

A look back at my March goal progress (read March’s goal post here!):

Monthy Goals:
— Pray + Praise! These two things keep me on track for the rest of life! I marked this as my top priority for March with one of my favorite Goal Setting Sticker Book stickers. — Yes! There was a lot of both that happened.
— Gardening 101 series + garden prep. I am waiting till the recommended time (after April 15th here in Chapel Hill) to plant the garden, but there’s a lot to prep in March—clearing out old plants, cleaning pots, and it’s time to replace the garden beds themselves. I discovered several critter colonies and most of them are falling apart now after the winter. I resisted replacing them before (as you know if you’ve read Cultivate), but they are not functional in places now. So, new cedar beds are in our future. — Yes! The garden has been cleared out, the Gardening 101 series has been a huge success (the giveaway ends Monday!), and new cedar garden beds from Gardener’s are waiting for me on my front steps. I can’t wait to dig in!
— Prayer journal date. — Yes!

Photo above by Gina!

— Celebrate 12 years of marriage! Our anniversary always falls on the weekend that the Making Things Happen Conference kicks off, so we’ll be celebrating with lots of friends at dinner that night.  — Well, the best friends in the world surprised us big time! Cards, balloons, a gorgeous bouquet from Rhi (!), and best of all, prayers for our next twelve years together. I love you all so much! What a blessing this was!

If you need encouragement in your marriage, download my free marriage guide that includes links to read our story. We’re two imperfect people who know for sure that grace is a real thing and that the impossible is possible.

— Lead our best-ever MTH conference. — We’re nine years into making Making Things Happen happen and it just keeps getting better! It was our best conference yet, and we have so many ideas for the fall conference to make it even more impactful. So grateful for this time and all the women who joined us!

Photo from MTH above of me and my friend Shunta by Rachel Coffey.

— Have a meaningful Purim and Passover. — Purim was great and Passover was not what I planned, but it was good in the end! We had come home from an exhausting travel marathon the night before and the kids were tired. Really tired. We showed up to a beautiful Passover meal that Ari was leading and I couldn’t keep the two little one’s quiet or still, so I took them home and put them in a bubble bath. It was needed quiet time for all three of us! Ari and Grace got a ride home and everyone was happy. : )
— 2019 project finalization. — Here’s where my April priority comes in. We got a lot of new products off to print in March, and now it’s time to cut some projects ahead. More in April…
— Onboard new team members. — Yes, we have welcomed two new team members and they got thrown right into the good stuff: MTH, a team summit, a big shoot, and more! Why do we wait 90 days to announce them? We want to fully equip each new team member and give them time to settle in before they do forward-facing tasks. This has been so helpful and much-appreciated on their end so they feel confident in their roles when they are announced. We can’t wait to introduce them in a few weeks!
— Spring Team Summit prep. — Yes! The Cultivate Team Summit this week was all about digging into our vision, our heartbeat, and cultivating what matters in our own lives so we can give the same to you.
— April Cultivated Calendar prep. — I missed a lot of this but I don’t feel bad about it. I did what mattered most!

Weekly goals:
— Strength training 2x/week — I did this twice and definitely got my strength workout in other ways the last two weeks (carrying kiddos while traveling, paddling a boat, biking a LOT!).
— Write + study He + Waw (Psalm 119) — Now that the weather is getting warmer, I’ve been outside after church instead of inside trying to stay warm. So, I’m scrapping this for this season to make room for garden time.
— Undistracted + cultivated homeschool — We missed a lot of school this month with travelling and spring break, but when we did school, it was great.
— Re-creation — Yes. Biking a lot in Watercolor was really helpful time to sort though my thoughts.
— Pray the Word — Yes, I prayed the Word several times.
— Finish implementing Traction — praising the Lord for this book and all we’ve learned over the last year! — Almost there! So close!
— 2 days “on” + vacation — I ended up having to work on my days “on” but we did complete our vacation.

Daily Goals:
— Chronological Bible reading — Yes!
— Soul care at night — A little. There were a lot of busy nights this month with MTH, our Summit, and shoot!
— Kiss Ari — Yes.
— Pray over the kids — Yes.
— Family worship — We realized that we would love for this to be the focus of future family trips. We’d love to take a trip with another believing family and make it more of a retreat to be with God together! It really doesn’t matter where we go as long as that’s the focus.

On to April! 

This week has been a turning point for me. A new season of letting go. Letting go of control to make room for life! What generally precedes a turning point for me isn’t hard work on my part or big events or great achievements or perfect timing or circumstances; it’s surrender. Weakness. Being broken down so God can build me back up again—new and different.

It was a perfect month for a goal refresh! Every three months in the PowerSheets, we refresh our goals, and I LOVE what I uncovered. Here’s a peek:

And here are my refreshed goals for the next three months. A certain little kindergartener helped me add the stickers!

These goals make me so excited and grateful! Next, I filled out my April Tending List to start bringing these goals to life…

April Monthly Goals:

— Choose less. A radical move to less so there’s room for life. As I wrote about last week, there are inevitable times of overload that will creep up in our lives. These times are not cause for guilt or worry; they are opportunities. I’ve found myself in one of those little-margin seasons and my top priority in April is pruning. Choosing less to make room for life!
— On that note, I’m reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality this month.
— Plant the garden.
— Decide on office space.
— Lead a prayerful summit and shoot. — I can already update you on this and tell you it was the best week! Lots of prayer, digging into our vision, and helping each other cultivate what matters so we can give the same to you.
— Lead a prayerful summer launch (coming April 24th!).

We loved our time together at the Carolina Inn this week!

April Weekly Goals—keeping it simple here!:

— Praise + rejoice!
— Prayer journal dates

April Daily Goals:

— Bible
— Pray over the kids
— Exercise hard

I already love this month of making room!

Seeing these kiddos using one of our new products at the shoot yesterday with Gina made me cry. You see, I don’t see these as just products, they are seeds. We are seed planters, sowing hope and joy and what lasts longer than us. So very grateful for this work we do and for this week of cultivated change.

Mark your planners: the new products release April 24th at 10 am ET!

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, Tara Verrico!

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Spring is here, but maybe you’re not feeling so springy. Spring brings new growth and forward motion, but maybe you just want to put the brakes on and start fresh. (I’ve been feeling it, too!)

Maybe you’ve been feeling overloaded and stuck.

Stuck in the expectations of others.

Stuck under a mountain of to-dos.

Stuck knowing there has to be something more.

Photo by Gina Zeidler

I know this feeling well. And here’s where we cultivators get to flip the script! There’s no need for shame or guilt about being stuck or overwhelmed. It doesn’t mean you are flawed; it means you have an opportunity.

There are inevitable times of overload in our lives that are bound to creep up—times of change or transition or times where there’s simply too much to do and not enough time to do it (are you feeling that?). These are opportunities to shift. Opportunities to say yes to what matters, no to what doesn’t, and to let God do the heavy lifting.

The most powerful way that I get unstuck in these times is to do the complete opposite of what the rest of the world tells us to do (and the opposite of my natural instinct!):

Instead of working harder, I surrender.

Instead of trying to do it all, I do what matters and let go of the rest. 

Instead of relying on my own strength, I rely on His.

Sound impossible? I know how you feel!

Practically speaking, this means I do two things:

1. I pray. I simply ask God, “Will you help me to Your path for me? Help me get unstuck, Lord.” No fancy words or elaborate prayers needed. Just tell God how you are doing and where you need help.

2. I get right into the Word. Now, I know the Bible can feel overwhelming and you might be wanting to check out right now, but getting into the Word is a lot easier than we make it seem.

I prayed one morning for God to give me a simple way to connect with him, right in the thick of it, and He led me to write out the Word. It was hard for me to focus on even a few sentences of the Bible in times of overload, and I needed a way to put the train brakes on and slow down when the last thing I felt like I could do was slow down.

The Write the Word Journal was born out of my own personal need for perspective in the inevitable storms of life–to see them as refreshing showers instead of the downpours they felt like!

You can use your own paper to write the Word if you like too–no journal required. Just grab whatever paper is near you and give this a try!

There’s something that happens in our brains that travels right to our hearts when we write out the living Word of God. Again, use whatever paper you have for this if you want to give it a try.

(You’ll get a great list of scriptures to try in the comments at the end of this post!)

Each day in the Write the Word journal, there’s a selection of key verses to write out (the “write the Word” part!), along with space to write your thoughts, prayers, or anything else God places on your heart.

I’m sharing about the journals today because they have been a powerful tool in the lives of many of my friends and because they are finally all back in stock (SO many people have been waiting for this day!), and because we decided to put them on sale this week to help you get started writing the Word. (Read on for a discount code.)

I have loved seeing how you write the Word–and especially how you use the On My Heart pages. We have seen you use those pages to write out prayers, to journal daily thoughts, to get creative and illustrate your faith or dig deeper into the scripture you wrote out, to write notes to or about your children, and to give all of the distractions in your heart a place to become untangled.

Mostly, like me, you love soaking in the powerful truth of every bit of the Word you write out.

This allows me to slow down (it doesn’t take a vacation or a whole hour away–just a few minutes adds up!) and get unstuck. Every word of the Bible is powerful. Even writing one verse, something shifts in me. It’s like planting a seed. I think about the big picture instead of the day-to-day to-dos. I am reminded that I am not in control; He is. 

To my long-time Write the Word friends, have you ever flipped back through to see what prayers you were praying that have been answered? What things were laid on your heart then that have since come to fruition? I’d love to hear!

The Write the Word journals, and EVERYTHING in the shop, are 25% off from now until April 2nd–no code needed for the 25% off. If you spend $100 or more, use code HAPPYSPRING at checkout for free domestic shipping.

Here’s a peek at each journal and what’s inside:

Write the Word// Cultivate Faith contains a selection of scripture that is fundamental to faith, making this volume a perfect gift for someone who is new to their faith or looking to cultivate a fresh or renewed faith. If you are doing the journals in order, start here! This is by far our most popular journal and sells out quickly.

Write the Word// Cultivate Joy is filled with scriptures specifically selected to help you delight in the goodness of God. Perhaps you’re in a season of craving fresh joy. This volume is full of scriptures to help you celebrate the joy that’s yours in your faith.

Write the Word// Cultivate Gratitude is filled with scriptures specifically selected to help you grow in contentment through God’s promises and assurances to us. Full of scripture on thankfulness, this volume will help you get after grateful.

Write the Word// Cultivate Hope is filled with scriptures specifically selected to help you find God’s peace and assurance in seasons of waiting, challenge, or unknown.

Write the Word// Cultivate Renewal is filled with scriptures specifically selected for those who need a reminder of God’s promise to make all things new. Get still and reflect on His life-giving truth with this volume.

We designed these to be used as a full collection to take you through each season. Order your ALL SEASONS COLLECTION and get 25% off an already discounted full collection (no code needed)!

SHOP THE ENTIRE WRITE THE WORD COLLECTION HERE

The Write the Word journals (and everything else in the shop!) are 25% off from now until April 2nd. Plus, use code HAPPYSPRING at checkout for free domestic shipping on orders over $100.

Write the Word is for everyone. It’s for the busy mom, wife, young professional, business owner, and student. It’s for the seasoned Bible-reader and for those opening their Bibles for the very first time.

Here are some thoughts from long-time Write the Word friends!

Suddenly my mornings involve scripture, reflection, and prayer…without any difficulty! I can fit this into any morning and the longer I keep the streak going of writing the Word, the more excited I get to dive even deeper and work through each different journal in my different seasons of life. – Kay

My family gathers around the table after dinner and we each get out our own Write the Word journal. When we are done we share our verses and talk with our kids about what these verses mean. – Meredith

The Write The Word journals have been such a blessing in my daily life. I can not imagine my day without them! – Rachel

Here’s to letting God turn our challenges into opportunities and to getting unstuck!

Your turn: I’d love to hear! What is your favorite verse in the Bible? Bonus points if you share why. These verses you share might be a great starting point to try writing out yourself!

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This is called a no-fluff intro. I don’t have an inspiring anecdote for you–I have something better: an honesty challenge. Ready? Fill in the blanks:

If I could hit the fast-forward button on something, it would be _____.

I wish I was better at _____ already.

I wish I was done with _____ already.

Maybe you’re feeling restless in an area of your life that’s not growing as fast as you’d like. Maybe you’re craving change–and you want it yesterday. Or maybe you want to know all the details of the path ahead before you take action on something that you’ve always wanted to do.

We don’t like imperfect starts or slow progress, do we?
We want perfect and finished right out of the gate.

Ready for some life-altering truth? All plants grow through the dirt, and so do we. The best things grow little-by-little over time.

lara casey garden it's okay to grow slowThe first zinnia of the season bloomed in the garden this week. This little plant is about the size of a popsicle stick right now, but it will be four-feet tall by July.

For example, if plant a zinnia seed and dump a bucket of water on it, can I expect a full-grown plant and flowers the next day? We create those kinds of unrealistic and unhealthy expectations in our own lives, don’t we? We chase after fast results, only to feel inadequate when they don’t happen.

Have you felt that?

We often think of slow growth as flawed growth, but the truth is that all good things grow slow–babies, fruit, relationships, and big dreams.

Here’s some encouragement for you from my upcoming book, Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

cultivate-book-text-lara-casey
How will nurturing growth and embracing small bits of progress get you anywhere fast?

Maybe fast isn’t the goal.

Maybe cultivating an intentional life means aiming for what happens over time—like the richness of relationships—rather than getting to the finish line. When something matters to you, you don’t focus on how slow the journey is to get there; you keep moving forward because the path forward is worth it. The world says do more, grow fast, be big, use these tricks, analyze, do it like those people, get ahead. But that’s not how good things take root.

It's Okay to Grow Slow 2

New homeowners like trees labeled “fast growing” to fill in a space quickly. But fast-growing trees don’t have deep enough roots to last through storms and drought. Good things grow and take root, little by little.

Maybe, despite everything everyone tells you, slow is richer than fast.

Maybe a slower pace will help your roots stretch deep and wide.

It’s okay to grow slow.

cultivate-book-text-lara-casey

Here are Three Reasons Why Slow Growth is More Powerful Than Fast (and three tips on how to harness the power of slow starting today!):

Who-Slow-Growth-is-Better-Than-Fast

What happens over time is better than “instant” results because:

1. When we only focus on the finish line–or on perfect outcomes–we miss all the life that happens along the way. We miss the good things growing right in front of us on the journey. And you know what else? We miss potentially better outcomes.

Grow slow tip: think back to some of the dreams and plans you had as a kid. What if you made a list of dreams and had to stick to that list, no matter what? What if you weren’t allowed to change your mind, change course, or consider new paths as you grew and explored the world–and your talents? If that was the case, I’d be a very unhappy geologist right now. And I likely wouldn’t have met Ari because I wouldn’t have become a personal trainer and worked at the gym where he first asked me for workout advice. I am so grateful my path didn’t follow a linear plan–it was more of a zig zag : ) Slow growth allows us to see better outcomes–and take action on them!

2. Slow growth allows us time to prepare, learn, and… grow! Little by little progress adds up and, in the wait, we are ripened and readied. Trust that what you want to cultivate matters enough to allow it to grow over time as you take small steps forward—and some big leaps along the way too. Your cultivated life matters enough to tend it like a garden and trust that the effort invested over time will add up.

Grow slow tip: When something feels hard because I feel like I don’t “know” enough or I feel like I’m not equipped for the task, I think of Moses. He didn’t feel capable of doing what God asked him to do, and you know what? He didn’t have to be! God helped him and He grew Moses’ character over time. He readied him along the way, not all at once. When you feel unprepared or like you’re not ready, celebrate. Maybe what’s ahead of you is a time of major growth. I often think to myself that the more incapable I feel, the more opportunities I have to grow my faith and put my trust in God’s strength–not my own.

3. Fast growth doesn’t last. Little by little, we learn to care for what we’ve been given. According to multiple studies, a majority of lottery winners end up going broke and filing for bankruptcy. They aren’t equipped to handle financial gain that fast.

Grow slow tip: Most of the time, what holds many of us back isn’t fear of failure, but rather, fear of success. But, here’s the thing: most success does not happen overnight. And you have permission to change your mind or change course along the way if that’s what God says to do. It’s unlikely that you’ll win the lottery–literally or figuratively–and that is a great thing! Instead, you get to go the path of real progress–the path of slow growth. Fast fixes didn’t heal my marriage, grow our company, cultivate my faith, or strengthen my bond with friends. Little-by-little progress added up, and it continues to!

Want more? You got it! Get my new (FREE!) It’s Okay to Grow Slow e-book by entering your email below. This 26-page e-book is full of practical encouragement from people who are cultivating intentional lives and embracing slow, right where they are. I can’t wait to hear your favorite tip!

Lara Casey It's Okay to Grow Slow

IT'S OKAY TO GROW SLOW

26 Pages of Advice and Encouragement on How to Embrace Little-by-Little Progress Versus Overnight Results

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Your turn! What have you been anxious about lately, and which tip above (or in the e-book) resonated with you the most? I love hearing your thoughts. I’ll send one of you to send a Cultivate Shop goodie box.

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What a year this has been. We adopted Sarah in February, experienced a lot of challenges, and I almost quit my business. It was a season of pruning, but good things grew from our hard season.

Our company and products have changed right along with us this year. And today is a big day! We officially switched our company name from Lara Casey Shop to Cultivate What Matters (here’s the story), and launched the 2017 PowerSheets.

Because of all we’ve been through together as a team, and in the walls of this home, these are the most simple, truth-filled, joyful products we’ve ever created.

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There are two options for you to choose from:

One-Year Dated Workbook – White cover with colored leaves that represent the four seasons. The One-Year has additional seasonal worksheets, is dated by month, and has two full pages of stickers.

Six-Month Undated Workbook – Three cover options: white, pink, or teal. We made these for the many people who find out about PowerSheets after the new year, or are finishing out a previous set.

Check out our frequently asked questions and visit our NEW SHOP for more.

If you are new to PowerSheets, they are like having a trusted guide. Imagine a coach who gives you a combination of grace and motivation. That’s this year’s PowerSheets. They will help you uncover purpose-filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen.

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Flowers from my garden above and the pen that Ari gave me for five-year anniversary.

The 2017 PowerSheets are for anyone—moms, students, creatives, entrepreneurs—who needs a grace-filled system that works! This is my sixth year using them myself, and our fourth year having them in the shop. Wow, they’ve changed so much since we started, and so have we! Join the tens of thousands of women who have changed their lives with PowerSheets and made what matters happen in their own lives.

2017-powersheets-cultivate-what-matters-4Those are my favorite jelly beans that the ladies I work with gave me for Boss’s Day this year : ) 

I hope you give these new 2017 PowerSheets a try, and that they help you grow what matters—what lasts. If you are a long-time PowerSheets user, you’ll open these pages to a whole lot of NEW.

A few of the many things that are new:

– Almost every page has been changed to reflect the changed heart of our company – more joy, more simple, more intentional, more fun!
– The tending list is perforated (Yay!)
– The One-Year workbook is smaller, more durable, and a full pound lighter
– New worksheets, new stickers, so much more!

ORDER HERE.

To celebrate our 2017 PowerSheets preorders, we’re launching the biggest giveaway we’ve ever hosted this year with our 2017 PowerSheets preorders! If you preorder your PowerSheets before November 15th, you’ll be entered to win one of our 10 prizes listed below! There are no extra steps; just purchase your PowerSheets before November 15th, and you’re automatically entered to win one of the following prizes:

  1. A free ticket to the Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC
  2. A goal-coaching call with me!
  3. A gift card from the Nancy Ray Shop
  4. Housecleaning and a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited.
  5. FitBit
  6. $100 Amazon gift card
  7. A fresh bouquet from FarmGirl Flowers
  8. Meal delivery from Hello Fresh
  9. A one-hour massage
  10. Seed packets from Floret Flowers

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We chose these prizes to help you cultivate what matters in the coming year, and to thank you for being part of the Cultivate What Matters family with us!

Here’s our live reveal video for more details…

and our THANK YOU video with more about how our launch went and what we’re most grateful for!

Ahhhh!!! I’m so excited to cultivate what matters alongside you, friends!

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