Six years ago, feeling totally overwhelmed by the large list of things I wasn’t taking good care of (but really wanted to!), I decided to do something different. I was tired of living in regret: forgetting my priorities, neglecting things and people that needed nurturing, and feeling like my time was totally out of my control.

So, I made a list.

I wrote out all the areas of my life, projects, and people that needed my care. I wrote out the things I wanted to tend to. If I could just remember to care for them little by little over time, I believed that tending would add up. Much like when you tend to a plant, watering it over time, it grows and flourishes.

I called this list of priorities my “Tending List.”

Tending:
– to give one’s attention to
– to lead or be directed in a particular direction

Yes. I needed to do those things.

I was living by accident instead of on purpose. I wasn’t giving my attention to the things that mattered most to me, but rather just trying to keep up. Have you felt that before?

I took the principles and prompts from my goal-setting series and the Making Things Happen Conference, and turned them into interactive worksheets that included the Tending List. I created these powerful (as opposed to lacking purpose and energy–which is what I didn’t want to feel anymore) worksheets to help me and my team set meaningful goals.

I named them exactly what they were: PowerSheets.

And then I started thinking crazy thoughts: What if I shared these with other people? Would they like them? Would this process work for them? And how in the world do I make my own product?? (Zero people were doing this at the time except for larger companies and retailers and my friend Emily, who was a huge help to us as we got started).

We found a local printer, printed the first sets of PowerSheets that we hand-collated ourselves, and started the Lara Casey Shop in 2013. I was so nervous! I wrote a hand-written note to our first customer, telling her how grateful I was and hoping she loved everything.

And you guys.

The stuff we experienced as we tried to figure out how to run an online shop back then (things are so much more turn-key for new shop owners now!):

Days of our lives (literally) spent trying to figure out the Dymo printer to make shipping labels.

Countless phone calls with USPS to figure out box sizes and shipping rates and weights.

Lots of trial and error (a lot of error) learning how to do customer service (which we now call customer delight!).

Lots of laughs as Gracie stickered several dozen orders with farm animal stickers one year.

Many trips to the post office to hand-deliver orders.

The happiest day ever when we realized we could have USPS pick up boxes at my house!

And shipping orders from our little home office here in North Carolina. We were grateful!

The first PowerSheets above, and our first shop manager and dear friend, Emily.

People indeed loved the PowerSheets. Moms, business owners, students, women in corporate roles, teachers, and women in varied seasons of life loved them, and there was a unifying factor that holds true today: a desire to live intentionally. To not forget our priorities. To uncover good goals and do something about them.

That makes me especially grateful.

I have close friends at church who are several decades older than me who tell me about their PowerSheets journeys, as well as high school students that write me letters to tell me of their adventures too. I am grateful to walk this journey alongside so many different women in so many walks of life and seasons!

Our 2014 PowerSheets above with lots of vintage products above. I still have a “Let’s Do This” card on my desk.

The 2015 PowerSheets were changed dramatically in process and I released my first book that year.

And then I got a little messy with paint ; ) And we took a big leap of faith and made a spiral-bound one-year workbook in 2016.

We did all the shipping ourselves. Are you ready for these next photos??

Here’s how it went: a semi would pull up into our quiet residential neighborhood. Nope, no one was moving in, friends. But, LOTS OF BOXES were!

Most businesses have loading docks with several trained loading/unloading professionals (who have forklifts!); we had strength and determination!

We pushed several tons of product into my garage and hoped the neighbors didn’t think we were nuts.

Move over, Charlie’s Angels — meet the Pallet Posse! Ha!

And then, the shipping parties began and we called all of our friends to help (we love you so much, friends!).

One of those friends on the far left below had no idea she would one day work for us. We love you, Jess!

It has been an unexpected and wonderful journey of change:

We did this shipping-out-of-my-house madness until one Thanksgiving when my family sat on shipping boxes for dinner because our dining room was full of PowerSheets orders. That was it.

We moved all the boxes out of my house and garage (we can park a car in there now which is rather miraculous!) and we found a local fulfillment warehouse close to us here in Chapel Hill.

Gracie helping to load our sweet mail carrier, Walter’s, truck.

We changed our name last year from the Lara Casey Shop to our heartbeat: Cultivate What Matters. Read that story here,

But what has changed the most over the years is the PowerSheets process. The PowerSheets have changed and grown aesthetically (from loose binder sheets to bound workbooks, the addition of stickers and color, new features, etc.)…

… but most of all the process has been deeply refined every time we release a new edition.

My September 2017 Goals above.

As women all over the world use them, including us, we listen. And we change and innovate. Our office mottos are:

If you’re not excited about it, no one will be. Which means we make products we love and use ourselves.

and

Make it better. Which means we are always taking things to the next level to help people cultivate what matters.

SAVE THE DATE: The 2018 PowerSheets release on October 25th! If you are on my email list, you’ll get to see our new collection before we release them to the public. I have the first sneak peek email going out on Monday, so be sure to add your name to the list.

I hope you enjoyed this look back at how PowerSheets and our shop have changed over the years. THANK YOU SO MUCH to so many who have supported us and cheered us on over the years. I’d love to know: when did you first begin using PowerSheets for your goals? We are so thankful for our long-time family and new friends too!

P.S. There is one more date to save. Join Emily Ley and me next week to learn How to Create a Cultivated Calendar. Register here for free.

Cultivated Calendar Webinar Lara Casey Emily Ley

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A new season begins for us next Tuesday! I’m starting homeschool with Grace and I am so excited and grateful. This is a whole new adventure for us that we have prayed over and researched and readied ourselves for at length. But the fun and freeing part is going into this new season — which could be more of a lifetime than a season — with readied hearts and open hands. As much as we prepare well for things, all of life is in His hands. I’m excited to see what He has in store for us! More on this next week when we begin.

September is a month of NEW.

New rhythms.

New learning.

New direction.

(Prepping for NEW PowerSheets coming October 25th!)

and new faith as we rely on His leading and step into all of this… new!

Here is a recap of August and the little-by-little progress I made on PowerSheets goals.

My August Goals Progress:

– Set homeschool in motion. – Yes! We had a great getting our feet wet day, and it was so fun and gratifying.
– Make Ebenezer’s with the Lord. This goal was inspired by 1st Samuel and a message at church about making memories with the Lord. When we make memories with friends, it bonds us closer together. We end up telling “remember when” stories, and we feel connected. I wrote about intentionally remembering all the Lord has done in our lives in Cultivate, and I am excited to do more of this in August. – Yes, this happened but it was not by our doing and not how I expected it would happen. We had a really hard staycation week and it ended up being a time of needed refinement… and therefore deeper refreshment than any vacation could have given us. Letting go of control is real rest.
– Refresh our family goals with the Parent’s Goal Guide . – YES! I am so grateful for the progress we made here and for my chat with Korie Robertson about setting goals as a parent. Ari and I set a few practical goals for our family in the coming months:

Goals for the Isaacsons and Daughters 🙂

1. Help Grace use the potty at night. Yes, she’s almost 6, but we haven’t pushed this till she was ready. She’s gone two nights in a row of getting up to use the potty and she’s so proud of herself. We are too!
2. Potty train Joshua (he’s already rocking this!)
3. Pray for Sarah more, and with the other kids present too so they learn how to pray for her. I have not mentioned this on the blog till now for many reasons, but I believe it’s okay to share a little of where we are now. Sarah has emotional and sensory challenges that have been challenging since the day she was born. The weight of what I’m typing here feels like it needs a blog post by itself, but I don’t have more to share than this: the Lord placed her in our love and care for so many reasons and we are grateful for all the challenges. They are opportunities to love her more, show Grace and Josh a deeper love, and connect deeply with the Lord as we love her as we have been loved!
4. Use Josh and Sarah’s nap time after church as a “daddy daughter date” time to grow Grace and Ari’s closeness
5. Get away. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but we saw during our recent “staycation” the need to be refreshed by stepping out of our environment to get new perspective.
6. Grow deeper roots with our church family group. We are getting together on Saturday morning for Bible study, and on Monday for a BBQ!

Back to my goal progress from August:
– Read + DO What’s Best Next.  – I didn’t make as much progress in reading this as I had hoped, but progress matters, not perfection. I did practice what I learned so far and LOVE this book.
– Lead our Fall Team Summit with joy. Each quarter, our team has a summit to learn together and prepare well for the season ahead. – YES! This time was needed and all praise to Him for how well it went, what we learned, and what’s ahead.

Having KPI (Key Performance Indicator) story time. Ha!

– Give a transparent and light-filled Core Business Presentation. I’m in a small group of Christian business CEO’s and it’s my turn this month to share everything about our business to get their guidance and feedback. I’m excited! – YES!!! This was one of the highlights of my year. I got surprising and God-led feedback from the group. From that meeting, I have made some larger business decisions that I would never have considered before.
– Pray over + through the 2018 PowerSheets shoot. – YES! The shoot was awesome!!! I can’t wait to share it with you.

SO grateful for the 2018 PowerSheets shoot with these ladies.

– Joyfully re-release Write the Word – YES! Again, all praise to Him!
– Suprise —- [I can’t tell you yet!:)] – Yes! I surprise spoke at a conference and it was so fun!

With Kristin, Kat, and Kaylee at the Creative at Heart Conference.

August weekly goals:
– $100/week on groceries. Let me preface this by saying that the Isaacson’s eat a lot. We go through two dozen bananas and 2-3 dozen eggs a week. Josh is also allergic to dairy and soy, so we are limited with some choices. All this to say, groceries is one of the largest categories in our budget. I read an article recently about a family of five that spends $100 on food per week and it inspired me. It feels doable with some creativity and determination. We are giving this a try and have already made progress. I’m excited to teach Grace through this and get creative.  – We made great progress here! We stayed at $100/week for two weeks and purposely relaxed a bit when my parents and Ari’s mom came to visit. The last couple weeks of this month we stayed at about $150 – 200/week. This was HUGE for us! Most of all, we have learned to be more resourceful, better about making food from the pantry instead of always eating fresh, and to save every tiny bit of food (if you have little kids you probably know what I’m talking about – the little food scraps add up!).

Sarah was not into Aldi, but we liked the prices! 😉

– WORK IT. I want to have more fun working out this month. – I am super grateful for a shift that happened here. I simply turned up the praise music and danced in the kitchen which made it so much more fun and satisfying to move my body.
– Love Sarah + Mackenzie with prayer. Mackenzie is our new caregiver (Sarah is having a baby this fall!). My goal is to love them both through lots of love and prayer in this transition. – Yes! We are so grateful for Sarah, and Mackenzie has already blessed our family so much!
– Encourage and pray for my buddy, Amber. In our office, we have a new buddy each month to encourage, and I’m so glad mine is Amber for August! – Yes, we had some great buddy chats, got to see each other in person for the 2018 PowerSheets shoot (she works from Nashville) and I am just super grateful for her.
– Grow our faith in our date nights. – Yes. We missed a couple date nights with my parents in town and our team dinner, but it made our date night this week extra special.
– Enjoy the garden. – Yes! I used lots of flowers from the garden for shoots, picked lots of flowers for the house and our office, and Grace and I planted a few mums for fall!

I love her.

August daily goals: – Yes to all of these!
– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal!
– #RunLiftPraise
– Delight our children
– Stay active in my work days —see how I do it here!

Here are my PowerSheets goals for September:

Each quarter, the PowerSheets give you a Goal Refresh section, which is so helpful. As we grow and change, our goals often do too! Here are my refreshed goals.

The color bars are me testing a color coding system: giving each big picture goal a color and then labeling my monthly, daily, and weekly goals to match those big picture goals. This helps me instantly remember the big picture and WHY I’m doing these things.

My September PowerSheets goals!

Monthly Goals:

– Start homeschool with JOY! Here we go!
– Give and teach the Cultivate book. I am grateful for the last few months in listening to the Lord’s leading on this one. Right after the book launched, I clearly felt Him telling me to be quiet. So, I did. And now I feel Him urging me to open the book and teach and give it all away! I am grateful for the last couple months of rest from books after five years of writing and rewriting and launching them. I’m grateful for this space and time to step away — a time most people would be promoting a new book — and listen in a new way instead of teaching.
– Read + DO What’s Best Next
– Love on Josh in his preschool transition. He’s so excited for school!
– Wisely and diligently prepare for our 2018 PowerSheets launch. So much goodness in store!
– Model our new Incentive-Based Bonus System. This is an internal program for our company and a bit of a beast. We have a traditional end-of-the-year bonus system currently, but this new program is a lot more fun and has great potential to grow our culture in new ways. I’m excited to love on my team and implement this, Lord willing, in October.

At our Cultivate Team Summit this week at Fearrington Village.

– Decide on and plan Ari’s 40th birthday celebration for December. I have no idea what to do! Any ideas that fit with my life parameters (i.e. three kiddos to take care of so flying off to an island isn’t in the cards unless y’all want to come babysit for a weekend 😉 )? I really want to make him feel special and remind him of the gifts and talents the Lord has given him.
– Write and prep the “Cultivated Calendar” webinar with Emily Ley. Emily and I have been friends for over a decade now, once owned a business together, and are from the same small town (Pensacola, FL). We also have a passion for what matters and making those things happen. Save the date for September 28th at 3pm for a live webinar about preparing well, time management, and organization.
– Pray for and determine our 2018 vision plan. We have some opportunities for change in 2018 as a company, and we are actively working to uncover good goals and a clear vision.
– Write the Gracie’s Garden book! If this happens, I will be so grateful. Little by little, I hope to make progress here this month.

Weekly Goals:

– Continue to practice leaning out our grocery budget
– Love on my buddy for the month, Nicole!
– Laugh and pray in our date nights

We loved having my best friend Gina here to shoot our 2018 PowerSheets. Gracie loves Aunt G!!!

Daily Goals:

– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal!
– #RunLiftPraise
– Delight our children
– Eat more green
– SLEEP + REST (i.e. Read a good book before bed instead of looking at my phone which keeps me from falling asleep well)
– My words for the quarter and for the month: Rely (on God, not myself) + Cultivate (do what He says — dig in, little by little!)

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for September? 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, Alaina Monts!

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“The Bible feels overwhelming. I don’t know where to start.”

Perhaps you want to grow your faith, but it often feels daunting.

We sometimes feel like we are not equipped, prepared, or knowledgeable enough.

And then it goes a level deeper: we sometimes feel like we are too messed up. We’ve been too bad–too distracted, too inconsistent or imperfect. We have fallen off the faith wagon and have some bruises to show for it. We believe we’re not good enough.

So we don’t open the pages of the Bible at all.

But, there’s good news: you can start fresh. It’s not too late. You’re not too much or too little for the God who made the stars and petals on these flowers. Do you know what helps me find freedom in the mess of my tangled not-enough thoughts? Knowing that the Bible is big and rich with depth for a reason. And that God wants us to know Him. He will help us. God could have just given us one story (Job perhaps), but He didn’t. He could have made the Bible so quick to digest that, like most quick fixes, it may have gone in one ear and out the other. We wouldn’t need to seek His wisdom or continue learning. But, He didn’t create it that way, and I’m so grateful! He gave us a big book with lots of stories and wisdom because God knew we would need all of it on our unique paths.

God gave us a big Bible because He loves us.

And He loves us enough to help us understand it too!

With my work and three littles running under the same roof, my “quiet time” each day is pretty loud. I prayed one morning for God to give me a direct way to connect with Him, right in the thick of it, and the Write the Word journal was born.

The Write the Word journal is unique. Each day, you’ll get 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. These journals were created with the big picture of God’s story in mind, helping to point you to places in the Bible that will help you to know His heart in direct and deeper ways.

I have loved seeing how you write the Word–and especially how you use the On My Heart page! You all are so creative and intentional. We have seen friends use that page to write out prayers, to journal daily thoughts, to get creative and illustrate their faith or dig deeper into the scripture you wrote out, to write notes to or about your children, and here’s a recent favorite from two of the ladies I work alongside: to write letters to a future husband. How sweet and meaningful is that? Besides the ability to directly get into scripture, this is one of the reasons I love these journals: being able to customize them to your life. I use my On My Heart pages in a mix of ways: to Bible journal with Grace, write prayers, write notes about what I’m grateful for, and to praise the Lord for what I learned in writing the Word that day.

I created these journals because I needed them myself, and my biggest hope is that you dig into the larger context of each scripture as you Write the Word, reading the surrounding verses and chapters. We chose each selection of scripture to point you to the big picture, not to make you feel good for a moment. God’s Word is rich, and it will transform you. That’s why I LOVE these journals–you get directly into the Word.

write the word all seasons collection 2017

We sold out of the previous Write the Word journals in April, and ever since, the most frequent question we get asked is, “When will Write the Word be back in stock?” You love the new collection and we are so grateful to have a fresh new shipment in our North Carolina warehouse now!

Our FIVE EDITIONS were created as a collection to walk you through foundations of faith and various seasons of life, right where you are.

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!

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.

write the word inside liners 2017Look at those inside liners! : ) : ) : ) 

How to Write the Word:

Have fun! Color outside the lines with these special journals. Bedazzle them, use your Cultivate What Matters stickers in them (I love doing this!), paint in them, make a mess—whatever helps you dig in and fall in love with the Word. The paper is thick and wonderful!

Do these pages however you like: in order or in your own order, daily, weekly, or however works best for you.

Use a great Bible translation like the NIV (New International Version) or ESV (English Standard Version). I love using a physical Bible, but I often use the digital translations on the YouVersion Bible app and BibleGateway.com, too.

Very important to cultivating true faith: read the verses surrounding each selection of scripture to gather context and meaning.

Get creative with the “Today is…” section on each page! You can write, Today is April 12th, Today is AWESOME, Today is sunny, or Today is the day I get to see my best friend! That space is yours to play with.

You’ll also see a place to write what you’re grateful for. Today, I am grateful for YOU. Thank you for taking this Write the Word journey with me.

And new to these volumes is a special space to write a focal word for the day. I love this section so much! It helps me to hold onto a focal truth for the day.

We designed these to be used as a full collection to take you through each season. Order your All Seasons Collection HERE and get 10% off with the full collection (no code needed)!

SHOP THE ENTIRE WRITE THE WORD COLLECTION HERE

I am excited to see how God reveals His heart to us as we write, memorize, and celebrate His life-giving Word together!

How to Use Your Write the Word Journal from Lara Casey on Vimeo.

 

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I am grateful for this new month! August ushered in a refreshing change of temperature, signifying a new season ahead. And it’s right on time. The cool air in the mornings here lately has made me take extra deep breaths in. It has been a relief from the heat of summer, and my garden is showing more joy with this fresh air too. Transition, I am learning, is a gift. This new month is an opportunity to start fresh, embrace the changes that are happening, and make the most of this life!

We welcomed one of our new team members, Kaylee, in July. We took her to Tomato Day at the farmer’s market to celebrate!

Here is a recap of July and the little-by-little progress I made on PowerSheets goals.

On my blog in July:

– My July Goals and Some New Thoughts
– Gracie’s Garden Tour + a Secret Garden Reveal
– I’d love to see you at Making Things Happen in March!
– How to Get Hired: 10 Essential Interviewing Tips
– Three Tips for Embracing Change

On the Cultivate Blog:

– Our July PowerSheets Party
– July Goals Round-Up
– Introducing Kaylee!

– A Recap of the Cultivate Book Launch Party
– Making Things Happen is happening in 2018!
– Our Top Resources for Goal Setting
– How to Pay Down Debt in 2017
– Podcast Recommendations
– Cultivating Habits in a Season of Transition
– How to Use Stickers in Your PowerSheets and Planner (this is one of my favorite posts this month!)
– Our Favorite Things in July

My July Goals Progress:

– Pray impossible prayers and be open. – Yes, there have been several significant personal challenges this last month and we have prayed some big prayers.
– Register our homeschool and write a “starting” plan. – I have not registered yet because we haven’t come up with a homeschool name yet (any suggestions??), but I did order lots of starting materials and feel like I am 70% done planning our start.
– Sing – because I’m grateful. – This was so fun and gratifying! I sang hymns with the kids one afternoon, sang to Sarah several times to calm her when she was upset, sang with Ari while he played guitar on Saturday, and sang a lot with Grace on our walks this month. It was so good to worship the Lord and have fun in this way!
– Teach with His wisdom (focusing on helping friends use their PowerSheets well this month to prepare well for a great second half of the year!). – Yes, I shared on my IG stories and in a live broadcast about good goals (WATCH HERE: How to get the most out of your PowerSheets), and I did an impromptu broadcast sharing what I am learning in reading Isaiah lately.
– Steward our time and finances well and passionately. – This one leads me to one of my August goals. More below!
– Prepare for the fall (for the homeschool transition and our Write the Word and 2018 PowerSheets releases coming soon). – Yes, I made progress here, and Write the Word re-launches at the end of August!
– Prune my time (for the above). – Yes, and I am considering hiring another employee to help on this front. I am still praying about it and sorting through what that role would look like.
– Enjoy the garden and praise the Master Gardener. Most definitely! We enjoyed cantaloupe, herbs, zucchini, and lots of flowers from the garden this week, and we have all LOVED watching the “Magical Trio” (the goldfinches, butterflies, and bees) on the zinnias! Here is the most recent garden tour, and it has grown so much since then!

Grace in our secret garden 🙂

July weekly goals:
– Worship the Lord in our date nights – Yes!
– Stretch my perceived limits to grow strength and endurance in my fitness – Yes, I tried hard.
– Read Traction – Moving this to August!
– Read What’s Best Next – Yes, I made progress and have loved this book so far.
– Read Teaching from Rest. – I didn’t start this one, but instead Ari and I started 12 Ways Yoru Phone is Changing You and we have been loving reading The Secrets of Happy Families every night.

July daily goals:
– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal! – Yes!
– #RunLiftPraise – Yes!
– Delight our children – Yes! This has been one of my favorite and most fruitful goals. I did everything from making these pancakes for breakfast (so good) to leaving Grace a surprise note, to making up extra silly stories for bedtime. It has been fun!
– Stay active in my work days —see how I do it here! – Yes!
– Praise Him out loud! – Yes, I prayed out loud a lot this month, which I will continue to do.

Here are my PowerSheets goals for August:

– Set homeschool in motion. Our official start is September, but we are getting our feet wet this month!
– Make Ebenezer’s with the Lord. This goal was inspired by 1st Samuel and a message at church about making memories with the Lord. When we make memories with friends, it bonds us closer together. We end up telling “remember when” stories, and we feel connected. I wrote about intentionally remembering all the Lord has done in our lives in Cultivate, and I am excited to do more of this in August.
– Refresh our family goals with the Parent’s Goal Guide (and I’m excited to chat with Korie Robertson tomorrow about setting goals as a parent!)
– Read + DO What’s Best Next
– Lead our Fall Team Summit with joy. Each quarter, our team has a summit to learn and grow together.
– Give a transparent and light-filled Core Business Presentation. I’m in a small group of Christian business CEO’s and it’s my turn this month to share everything about our business to get their guidance and feedback. I’m excited!
– Pray over + through the 2018 PowerSheets shoot. This has turned into quite a production. I’ll share more behind-the-scenes on August 21!
– Joyfully re-release Write the Word (Our sold-out Write the Word journals will be back in stock on August 23rd!)
– Suprise —- [I can’t tell you yet!:)]

I asked Ari to write something in my encouraging words box, and I’m so grateful I did.

June weekly goals:
– $100/week on groceries. Let me preface this by saying that the Isaacson’s eat a lot. We go through two dozen bananas and 2-3 dozen eggs a week. Josh is also allergic to dairy and soy, so we are limited with some choices. All this to say, groceries is one of the largest categories in our budget. I read an article recently about a family of five that spends $100 on food per week and it inspired me. It feels doable with some creativity and determination. We are giving this a try and have already made progress. I’m excited to teach Grace through this and get creative.
– WORK IT. I want to have more fun working out this month.
– Love Sarah + Mackenzie with prayer. Mackenzie is our new caregiver (thank you so much to many friends who prayed for us in this process) and she starts training today! This is exciting to welcome an amazing new woman to our family, but also sad because we love Sarah so much. (Sarah is having a baby this fall!) My goal is to love them both through lots of love and prayer in this transition.
– Encourage and pray for my buddy, Amber. In our office, we have a new buddy each month to encourage, and I’m so glad mine is Amber for August!
– Grow our faith in our date nights
– Enjoy the garden

June daily goals:

– Continue reading my chronological Bible reading plan for my Number 1 goal!
– #RunLiftPraise
– Delight our children
– Stay active in my work days —see how I do it here!

August Goals

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The aforementioned hungry gents in our house, the orchid I wrote about in Cultivate bloomed again, and some other fun pics from July.

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for August? 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, Kylee Merritt!

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This season ahead is full of change for our family. I’m taking a big leap and starting homeschool with Grace. This means a lot of things are changing, namely my work schedule and what will be filling my brain and heart each day. The journey ahead isn’t just about teaching her to read and write and discover the world (I’m going to have to rely on Ari to teach math!); it’s about cultivating her heart. More on homeschool in another post as we figure out what’s best for our family.

Today, I want to talk about change.

Homeschool isn’t the only thing changing around here. We’re hiring a new team member, transitioning to a new caregiver, and I found out some health news last week that has me in a bit of a tailspin (I am 37 and this is happening). Ch-ch-ch-changes!

Six months ago, I was nervous about the homeschool transition, but the little-by-little steps I’ve taken with my PowerSheets have added up. I am excited and ready.

That doesn’t mean the next few weeks and months won’t be challenging, though.
Change–even good change–can be uncomfortable.

Change is hard.
Transitions are hard.

But, after the last two years of rapid life change, here’s something I never thought I would say about this season ahead:

I am grateful to be stretched outside of my comfort zone.

We humans like certainty and known outcomes, am I right planner friends? Our brains seek out patterns and habits because they require less brain activity, so change literally feels uncomfortable. It feels like a lot of work because it is more work for our brains—and hearts.

That means that true change is supposed to feel hard. It may even mean we are growing in the right direction and changing for the better.

You might be thinking right now that you do not want change, even if it’s for the better. But, let’s dig a little deeper.
Do you want to live more intentionally?
If so, then yes, you do want change! You just may not want the hard parts that come along with it.

We want it but we don’t want it, right? : )

Do you have a transition or something new ahead?

Whether you’re starting something new, taking a leap of faith, walking through a season of waiting, helping kids transition back to school, or are in the thick of something challenging that’s pushing you outside of your comfort zone, here are three tips for embracing change. Disclaimer: these tips don’t apply to every situation, but I almost hesitate to even give that disclaimer! Y’all are wise beyond your years. Apply these tips with prayer and wisdom! They have certainly helped me in many situations over the last two years:

1) Go with it to grow with it. Resisting change might be making you spin your wheels, holding you back from potentially better outcomes. We try so hard to resist change, but that’s like resisting the seasons and wearing shorts in the winter! Winter clothes in the winter months are a good thing. You should wear them. : ) The alternative is to stay in your comfort zone and not actually be that comfortable in the end. Growth and change are inevitable parts of every new season.

2) Think big picture to break out of small thinking. Ask yourself, “Will this change get me closer to where I want to be when I’m 80 years old?” For me, will homeschooling Grace be crazy hard in the short term? Yes, likely. Will it bring me to my knees? Yes, I anticipate so. But, in the big picture, will it help Ari and me cultivate Grace’s unique heart? Lord willing, yes. Will taking a leap of faith and hiring a new team member help us grow and flourish–and therefore change more lives? Yes. Will embracing the changes my body is going through help me to uncover solutions? Most definitely. Denial is a comfortable place to be until it’s not. 🙂 In the big picture, could that leap of faith, move, big step, hard thing, or transition be good in the end? Sometimes we won’t know the answers until we embrace where we are and dig in to find out.

3) Consider something crazy: change might be good! The times I’m stretched to change are times I end up feeling most at peace. Why? Because I rely on God more instead of myself. When everything feels out of my control and I just can’t fix it all or figure it out or handle the change, I remember that I don’t have to. As I wrote in Cultivate, “You likely have heard the popular phrase: ‘She believed she could, so she did.’ Those words are lovely and instill confidence, but that doesn’t last. I know a deeper truth: She believed she couldn’t, so He did. You don’t have to make it all happen. You just have to take one step forward in faith and let Him do the rest. Where you can’t, God already has.” Surrendering in times of change helps me to find a peace that passes all understanding–a joy that supersedes all the hard stuff.

Change is hard, but change is essential for growth. In order to grow, a seed first has to let go of its outer shell.

Your turn! What change are you facing right now? Has it been hard? Are you feeling some fear? Do you have a tip for embracing change that has helped you? I’d love to hear from you!

I’m excited to interview Korie Robertson, mom to six and author of Strong and Kind, on Wednesday, August 2nd at Noon EST. We’ll be talking about embracing change and cultivating strong families. Registration is FREE. If you can’t join live, a replay will be available for those who register. I’m so excited for this time with you and Korie!

P.S. To help you cultivate what matters in the season ahead, everything in the Cultivate Shop is 25% off now through July 31st, and domestic orders over $50 get free shipping using the code BACKTOSCHOOL. This is a clearance sale as we get ready for new products in the fall – many of these items are limited edition. My top three favorites in the shop right now are The PowerSheets Companion Guide for Parents (which has helped our family prepare for this transition ahead–and have a whole lot more fun in the process!), the Cultivate What Matters sticker book, and our top-seller right now is a NEW bundle: The Cultivate Starter Bundle. I have already sent this to several friends as gifts!

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