With my small business 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 deep and simple 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, 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.
My 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.
Our FIVE NEW 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.
Look 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)!
For a long time I thought, “Maybe I’m not good enough or reading my Bible enough, or mature enough as a Christian. Maybe I’ve been too bad. Maybe I’ve messed up too much. Maybe God just isn’t listening.” I felt like I didn’t get it and I never would.
Then God showed me that faith is not about my ability to perform. I don’t have to be perfect to have it. I don’t have to have grown up in church (I didn’t), or have done all the right things (didn’t do that either), or have quiet time every day (mine is pretty loud!).
The “Good News” is really good. We don’t deserve His grace and He gives it to us freely.
– Maybe you have no idea where to even begin with faith, and it all feels overwhelming. – Maybe you’ve been at this faith thing for years, but you feel like something is missing. – Or maybe things are great, and you just want to keep the momentum going.
Bible journaling beautifulness from my friend and coworker Amber!
Wherever you are, join me for a live broadcast about cultivating fresh faith with Illustrated Faith founder, Shanna Noel. Join us (invite your friends, small group, and co-workers too!) on April 12th at 12 pm EST for a FREE Cultivating Faith Webinar. Shanna and I will be talking about cultivating faith, Bible journaling, how writing the Word can transform your faith, and how to dig into the Bible in fresh ways. I’ll also be revealing the NEW collection of Write the Word journals live on camera with you. I can’t wait for you to see all five (!!!) of them! If you’re clicking over to the post after the live broadcast or can’t make it at noon, register and you’ll be able to catch the free replay here too when we’re done!
P.S. Want to win one of the first full sets of the new Write the Word journals? Simply register for the webinarand leave a comment here telling me your favorite Bible verse or story. I’ll leave my answer in the comments too. And I’ll announce the winner during the live broadcast on Wednesday. HOORAY!!!
Hello, friends! Wow, what a month! March was packed and refreshing at the same time. A conference, a big trip, a book completed, and there are peach buds on my tree, y’all. It survived the snow! I am so grateful for all that happened in March. Here’s a recap and my PowerSheets goals for April.
I love when Gina comes to photograph us. She gets Grace to laugh every time!
I look like such a weirdo here, but all this joy is REAL. This was my 51st time leading the MTH Conference and it couldn’t have been better. I love you, friends! Photo by Amy Nicole.
– Celebrate our 11 year wedding anniversary well. The traditional gift is steel (these materials always make me giggle!), so I’m considering either these collar stays stamped with Ari’s favorite Bible verses or getting us family bikes. Well, we did celebrate, but I did not get Ari a gift yet. We wanted to see what it was like to rent bikes on our vacation and test out a bike trailer for the kids. It was great! I’m in research mode now to find the best prices and options to somehow get three kiddos to ride along with me.
We loved our time in Watercolor last week. I even met a PowerSheets user on the plane which was so fun!
– Finish 2016 taxes.Yes. We had a funny thing happen while we were working on them. We’ve used TurboTax for the last ten years for our personal taxes. Ari got to the final screen and the refund amount said $6,394,128.00! We laughed and Ari fixed the error, but it was a good and needed laugh in the middle of what can sometimes be a stressful experience. – Hire our new team member/s!This is in progress and we expect to hire two new team members this month. Please pray alongside me that we make wise and thorough decisions. We’ve had so many wonderful applicants. – Blog posts: 1. Release my book cover and film. YES! Hooray! Read all about it here. 2. Build and blog my “Cultivated Calendar.” This one is getting moved to April! But, I did share my curly hair story here. 3. Parts two and three of my Gardening 101 series. YES! Double hooray! There are over 700 comments on the series – WOW. Here’s the final Gardening 101 post. The giveaway winner is Sandra. Congrats, Sandra! – Celebrate Sarah’s birthday. She turned one on February 26th, but with the sickness in our house, we moved the celebration to this coming weekend. Yes! Here’s the recap of her celebration. – Celebrate Purim.Yes. Hamentaschen and the book of Esther were enjoyed by all!
I love this of Josh and me that Gina took! My little buddy.
– Begin afternoon Word refresh times: Amen Paper Company Lent study + memorize good words for goal number 3 by putting the verses on index cards this month. I hope to do this for a few minutes each afternoon to close my work day. This did not happen, once again. I did make progress on the scripture memorization thanks to a blog reader who suggested I add verses to my to-do app on my phone. But, the additional Bible studies and devotionals had to get nixed. I commited to too much. I already have my morning Bible reading time (which is going well) but I would be grateful for another time before I take over watching the kiddos at night and Ari comes home. Working on this.
– Take the next steps in garden planning, and decide on garden structures (we need a bench) and a final garden plan. I’m in a bit of a happy bind here — my winter garden still looks great! So, I have no motivation to remove anything right now to plant new things. These pansies and violas won’t last in the strong heat of summer, but they are so happy right now. I may have to move some of them to make room for my seedlings and then direct sow the rest come early summer. I haven’t decided yet. The other option is to make a whole new garden in the back of our house. This may happen!
– Make changes now to switch to my homeschool work schedule starting in the early summer. I haven’t started on this, but I have come to realize it’s just not the right time yet. – Spring cleaning!YES! I cleared things out, including the ladies’ office. I shared a before shot in Instagram a couple weeks ago. After photo coming soon. And huge thanks to our amazing caregiver and friend Sarah for helping out in the office and for doing all sorts of things to bless all of us while I was away last week!
I love this girl.
March weekly goals: – Sabbath – lifegiving weekends. Yes. – Meaningful connection with Ari. Yes. Our two date nights on vacation were deeply refreshing. – Pray through my prayer journal.I left it at home during our vacation, and I missed it. I’m excited to fill it out for April tonight.
March daily goals: – Read my chronological Bible reading plan. Yes! I’m almost to day 100. The first part of Judges was not my favorite and I had a hard time paying attention, but I prayed for God to give me focus and He has. I’m in the middle of Samson’s story right now, which is hard not to pay attention to! – #RunLiftPraiseYes. At-home workouts continue and the weather is alllllmost at the point where I can get out in the mornings to walk (or bike soon!) with the kids. – Eat more raw foods. Yes. – Be active in my work day. Yes, and it’s a collective goal in our office to be more active this month, especially with so much computer work to do.
— Celebrate Southern Weddings’ birthday. I launched the first issue of Southern Weddings on April 1st nine years ago! As part of my yearly goal to live a year of radical gratitude and praise, I’m celebrating His faithfulness this week in all that has happened in those nine years. Celebrate along with us here. – Lay a firm foundation for the budget. Lots to say here, but I have 10 minutes to finish this post before I have two babies in my arms for the afternoon. In sum, I’m working on creating a new family budget using EveryDollar. I feel resolved here and excited. – Celebrate Passover (my favorite holiday!). We are hosting our annual (except last year because we had a newborn) Passover dinner at church next week. Ari does such a great job leading this from a messianic Jewish perspective. It always builds my faith. – Create a new frequent date night schedule. We realized on our trip that we need to prioritize this in our budget and our schedules. As a benefit of working on the Southern Weddings/Cultivate team, we pay for monthly date nights for each team member. In the seasons that Ari and I have been in with kiddos, we haven’t been able to do them ourselves on a regular basis. But, I finally finished nursing last month (hooray!) so we can more easily make this happen now. My first step is finding and interviewing trusted babysitters. I’ve already started this process. – Prayerfully hire our new team members. – Plant our garden! As mentioned above, I’m not exactly sure how to do this yet, but I’ll keep you posted here. – Record the audiobook for Cultivate and prepare well for the launch ahead. – Prayerful spring product launch (the new Write the Word collection is SO BEAUTIFUL! I can’t wait to show you next week!) and team retreat prep. – Blog posts: Cultivated Calendar, Spring product release, Cultivating Faith, and many more. – Host a meaningful Cultivating Faith webinar next week with Shanna Noel (register here!) – Take my workouts to the next level. We got so much exercise on our trip last week from biking everywhere, and I really benefitted from it. Time to up my workouts this month in intensity! – Lord willing, start leading our family group again. Our family group is splitting into three to have more intimate groups, and we’re going to be leading a group on Saturday mornings so we can both be there. For the last few months, I’ve had to stay home with sleeping kiddos while Ari goes by himself. Not ideal, but we knew this would just be for a season. I used those nights to write in my prayer journal, but I have been craving fellowship! – Pray impossible prayers and be open to new possibilities. This kept coming to me over and over on our vacation. Being away from our normal environment was so good to reset my brain and help me think outside of our normal routines and rhythms. I felt the Lord telling me to pray more boldly and so I have started that. One of those prayers was answered on Monday night and it was a BIG one! The story is miraculous and I can’t share all the details, but I’ll tell you that we are now in contact with our birthmom.
And all the tears came like a flood again as I typed that.
God is good. He is real. He is mighty. And He is listening to those prayers you think go unheard–the prayers you’ve prayed for what feels like forever. He is listening!
My guys. Doesn’t Josh look like a little Ari with red hair? : )
April weekly goals: – Sabbath – lifegiving weekends. – Meaningful connection with Ari. – Pray through my prayer journal.
April daily goals: – Read my chronological Bible reading plan – #RunLiftPraise – Eat more raw foods. – Be active in my work day. – (A new one this month!) Practice my four essentials that I uncovered during the Making Things Happen Conference: humility, integrity, physical exercise — running with the Lord, and living in awe of His essential grace.
Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for April? 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, Leslie MP. Leslie, send me your info here and I’ll get your goodies to you!
P.S. What do you want to see more of here on the blog? Take our quick surveyand be entered to win a shopping spree from the Cultivate Shop. Everyone who takes the survey will get a discount code to the shop, too! : )
She did what all the cool kids in the 80’s did and she permed her already curly hair. Not only was it fried and more frizzy than before, but her hair now smelled like a chemical factory. And it was slightly green.
Somewhere in the 90’s, when she was in high school, people started ironing their hair. Like with an actual iron.
And then, come the 2000’s, every time she went to a salon to get a quick hair cut, the stylist would try to convince her to get an expensive all-day hair straightening treatment to strip away any sign of her curls. She didn’t ever get one, but she considered it.
Apparently, curly hair was something to hide, so she did. Unknowingly, along with hiding her hair, she hid a part of who she was created to be.
Until one day when she came undone.
She is me.
I woke up one day, in the middle of a very challenging season (the whole story is in my upcoming book, Cultivate) and felt tired of fixing my hair. Always putting it up or straightening it. Trying to control my curls, which was a mirror to trying–fruitlessly–to control my life.
That morning, I washed it and just let go.
Photos by my amazing friend, Gina. We had so much fun making these together!
Grace played with my hair that night, wrapping my curls around her fingers, putting bows in my locks, and simply wanting to touch my hair. Something clicked. I woke up and let it go again. And again. Each day, I felt more free. It wasn’t about a hairstyle, it was about letting go of what years of feeling imperfect had done to me. It was about finally expressing gratitude for the way God created me. If I wanted Grace to live loved, I was going to have to show her how, and live it myself.
Soon after letting my hair down, I discovered Scott Musgrave, a curly hair artist who happened to live right down the street from me. I emailed Scott to see if he might be able to give me a curly cut, and it turned into an amazing friendship. I asked Scott to share some of his best advice, and I think you’ll be inspired!
First, what would you say to curly girls who are afraid to let their hair down?
Scott: Our whole lives we’ve been mistreated and misinformed by the hair industry. So we are skeptical. These feelings are understandable. Most stylists have a ‘fix it’ mentality that they pass on to us. When someone says they know how to work with curly hair, that often means, “I know how to fix, flat iron, and Brazilian blowout your curly hair.” So, I recommend you find a curly hair artist. Take a faith step and make the trip to see someone who has great training. The esteem and confidence you get when you are correctly informed and treated properly can be life-changing. When you experience an ‘embrace it’ service experience – that helps you embrace who God made you to be – it’s a shift in dignity that goes deep into your Spirit. Call most salons and THEY ALL say they know how to work with curly hair. So your next question should be, “Where did you get your training and what method do you use?”Listen to see if they will embrace your hair or if they want to fix your hair. Another option is to go in for a curly set, an appointment where a trained stylist will teach you about your hair and how to make it look nice curly. THEN set up an appointment for a cut if you like what you learned. Read reviews, read testimonies, look at their before and after photos, and research their hair philosophy on their website and social media platforms.
What products are best for curly hair, and how do you apply them?
Scott: Ingredients in a product tell me a story of your hair getting worse over time or getting better over time. My method works with any product line, but good ingredients will improve your hair over time. Bad ingredients dry out hair, create breakage and thin hair out over time. If this has happened to you from using bad ingredients then:
1) First, detox your hair and remove the build up.
2) Conditioner is the most important product for hydration and to reduce frizz.
There is no need for shampoo. Harsh detergents are harmful to hair. You can cleanse with conditioner (called “co-washing”), and get rid of build up every few months with some vitamin c powder (detox) massaged into your hair in the shower (if you are using bad ingredients). Go to my website and do a word search for ‘Detox’ for how to do this. Once you learn about water soluble products, you will no longer need to detox after that.
So, what products should you use? It depends on where you live and your hair type. Dryer climates might cause you to need a cream-based product. Humid climates might call for glycerine and aloe-based products.
Filler and Sealer application: Instead of towel-drying your hair when you get out of the shower, leave it sopping wet or somewhat drippy – experiment with both. And instead of scrunching product into your hair, do what’s called ‘roping’. Flip your head over and use a small quantity on your fingers and palms as you run your hands down your hair like you are flattening out ropes AND by squeezing product into your hair instead of coating your hair. This creates even product application, which creates dependability and manageability. Wait till hair is completely dry before you scrunch it out–hair is not supposed to live crunchy but nice and soft.
How in the world do people go multiple days without having to wash their curly hair?
Scott: Don’t touch your hair much or when you do and it may create a bit of expanded frizz. If you are using water soluble products, you can learn to reactivate products in your hair with water and a spray bottle with a bit of conditioner left in. It takes some practice to learn this but it is so worth it. Silicone and oil based products do not respond well to water – but water soluble products do reactive nicely with practice. Spray bottle misting and then putting your hair up in a Pineapple at night reforms your (long enough to go up) waves and curls to then take out of Pineapple and tweak in the morning (or after working out or in the garden) with a bit of water or conditioner – or both- to reactivate hair to go another day. Squeezing water into your hair to reactivate with a little bit of water or a lot of water the next day is key to working with water-soluble products to reactivate your hair. This is the hardest part of the journey to get used to but, with practice and proper ingredients, success is possible for most with wavy and curly hair.
This is just a start as there is so much more in the full “MAP” method that Scott teaches privately and in his upcoming online course.
Here are some basics suggestions to try:
– Stop using traditional shampoo and “co-wash” with a moisturizing product instead – Detox your hair if you’ve been using harsh ingredients – Get rid of silicone-based products and choose water-soluble products – Don’t towel-dry your hair with a regular bath towel – apply products to sopping wet hair – Let your hair air-dry or use a diffuser (wait till you see the giveaway at the end of this post!) on a low setting for a few minutes and let air dry the rest of the way if you can – Try not to touch your hair until it’s completely dry – Once it’s dry, scrunch lightly to break the gel cast so your hair is soft and bouncy – No need to wash every day! Use a spray bottle filled with water and few drops of filler and sealer to dampen your hair before bed. Put your hair on top of your head with a scrunchie (yep!) and then simply moisten the hair lightly in a steaming shower or with your spray bottle in the morning to freshen. Voila! I go 2-4 days at a time without having to wash my hair.
Scott recently gave me a shorter cut for spring, and I love it!
Thanks, Scott, for sharing your wisdom and heart! Scott is working on an online video course for curly hair, sharing all of his secrets and the full MAP method. It will release in May and I’ll be sure to tell you when it does! I can’t wait to watch the videos myself! For more info and Scott’s MagiCurly Blog go to www.scottmusgravehair.com. To find a curly hair artist near you – go to the Stylist Locator at the top of the page www.curlyhairartistry.com.
Friends, I want to hear your hair story! Whether you wear your hair natural or straighten it every day, you do you. There’s no right or wrong way to do you hair. And it’s just hair ; ) But, if you feel like you’ve been hiding the pain of the past or you just have no idea what to do with the head of hair God gave you, lean in. It might take some time and learning. It took me a good three months to get into a routine with my curly hair, and it took several months for my hair to bounce back from all the damage I had unknowingly done to it. But, it was worth it!
When I started the process of creating my first book, Make it Happen, I knew nothing about writing books! But, with my magazine publishing background, I knew that I’d likely have some knowledge (and strong opinions) about covers.
People often judge actual books by their covers, and a great cover is one that matches the heart of the inside pages. A great cover is an honest one, like a genuine introduction from a new friend that leads to a meaningful connection.
We went through many rounds of designs to get to the right fit for Make it Happen, and just as many for my upcoming book, Cultivate.
The thing is, a book stays with you. Our lives evolve and grow over time, but books rarely, if ever, get updated or altered once they are published. As a writer, this can carry with it a lot of pressure. Every few years I update my website a bit to reflect the growth that has happened in my life (we even changed our company name recently). I get to share updates on what God is teaching me here on the blog over time. I get to change my words and photographs based on what’s new and where we are in our story. A book, however, remains unchanged.
So, when I began dreaming about the cover for Cultivate, I thought about the longevity I hoped it would have over time. I wanted the coverto feel like my garden: colorful, joyful, and alive. These are the same qualities I hope my garden, and my life, have many years from now, too.
After several rounds of cover designs, some of you loyal readers may remember we came up with this design below. I painted the background like I had for Make it Happen, and my publisher even released this cover to retailers (it’s still floating around on the interwebs in a few spots!). It’s beautiful, and it matched Make it Happen well.
As my life drastically changed in the season after our adoption, so did the pages of Cultivate. A new book took shape, and it needed a new home for the story that was unfolding.
I hesitantly emailed my editor with a new design I had mocked up, and told her that this book was shaping up to be so different from Make It Happen. It needed a cover that reflected this new story God was writing in my life.
This is what I sent her.
She loved it.
I love it.
We all love it!
And although it’s just the cover, it so accurately and beautifully reflects the heart of this book. The four sections of the pattern represent the four seasons. And the pattern itself reminds me of seeds, changing leaves, and little-by-little progress. It reminds me to cultivate.In every season, in the mess, in the thick of it–right where I am. The suede brown letters for the title are the color of new branches and of soil–the sustainer and nourisher of life. The foundation on which we grow new life.
Readers may not pick up on these subtleties when they first encounter the book. They may only experience the feeling of joy and a colorful life like my garden. But, as they dig in, I hope these intentional design choices make the experience of reading these pages even richer. This is a book about growing a meaningful life right where you are–in every season.
I’m so grateful to also share with you a special film I’ve been working on with Anna and Phil from Twenty-One Films for over a year now. They’ve filmed me, our family, and the garden in every season, and I cry every time I watch this. I hope it encourages you!