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

I don’t know. I hope it helped?


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

Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lara Casey signature


P.S. It’s time to fly.

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The best things in life are cultivated little by little. Hello, friends! Welcome to my new weekly series. Each week, I’ll give you a quick update on life around these parts, and Ten Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters, little by little (with some fun ones thrown in too!).


On Monday, life changed. The judge declared that our adoption is final! When we began the process three years ago (feeling terrified and excited, but more terrified), a friend offered us this advice: just take the next step forward. You can always change course, and the next step will reveal itself after that. Take it one by one. We found so much freedom in that. Whether it’s adopting a baby, growing a business, cultivating faith, or doing something you’ve always wanted to do, take the next best step forward. You have permission to change your mind along the way. But, maybe–just maybe–your little by little steps will lead you to something marvelous. For us, they led us to family.


Oh, we love you, Sarah Celeste! See photos from her first six months with us here.

Need some help uncovering your next step? Here are 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters This Week (In no particular order!)

1. Get unstuck. Let go of the fear and striving, uncover really good goals, and learn how to take action on what matters most to you. This week I shared my Top 10 Keys to Making What Matters Happen. Get the free replay and my new e-book here.

2. Cultivate fresh faith — no perfection required. Faith is taking a risk—believing in what you can’t yet see. Get my free Cultivating Faith e-book, and free live class here.

3. Stop working, start living. If you’ve been struggling with working long hours, try this tip. Set an alarm on your phone that says “Stop working, Start living” at the hour you want to stop. I did this for several months to break free of working longer hours and build better boundaries on my time. It helped!

4. Make it Happen. I asked my publisher permission, and they said yes! Here’s a free download of the first part of my book. I hope it encourages you!

5. Dance like no one is watching. This kid. Wait for the end. Oh my, I needed that giggle!

6. Come to Chapel Hill in October. If you want to get unstuck, I invite you to join me this October, in-person, for the Making Things Happen conference. Yesterday, we went live, to give you a look at what happens at Making Things Happen. See you there!


7. Have coffee on me today! A friend surprised us this week with five heart balloons—one for each heart in our new family. I’m passing on the kindness, and have loaded this with $50. I’ve never done this before, and I hope several of you enjoy a cup of coffee with this today–or buy one for a friend! UPDATED: Y’all love your coffee, and I’m so glad! I added $25 more, but this may run out fast too! : ) UPDATED AGAIN: Thank you all for the sweet messages. I’m so glad you enjoyed the coffee and tea with friends. This was fun! Looks like it may all have been used so I’m removing the card link. We’ll do this again sometime soon! 

8. Get motivated with some great new products. I’m giving away the first set of 2017 PowerSheets, one of our NEW sticker books, ten sold-out Simplified Planners, my favorite colorful pens, and much more here.

9. Remember our code word : ) We have a new code word, me and you. The number of days left in the year is our “word” to cheer each other on. Today’s code word is 120! On Facebook live this week, I shared more about this, and I got a little choked up at the end. : )

10. Lastly, tell me what your one step forward is. What’s the one (maybe scary) step you are considering or are taking today to make what matters happen? Leave a comment here telling me what your step is, and I’ll give away some fun things from the shop to several of you. And know this: the best prize is taking that step. I’m excited to hear from you, and encourage you in the comments.

Here’s to making progress on what matters, little by little!


Lara Casey signature

P.S. It’s okay to grow slow.

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Last week, I sat in a team meeting where we went through our company PowerSheets. We talked about long-term goals and… I was stumped. I couldn’t think of any. I felt tense. I sat in bed with Ari that night and told him that I was frustrated for not being about to see or define the big picture for our company. So, he prayed over me, “God, help Lara uncover goals.” It was a simple prayer, and it broke through something in me. I realized that I’ve been feeling some fear about setting goals lately. Have you been feeling that too? The mere act of acknowledging my fears, and working through my PowerSheets to see the bigger picture, allowed me to move through them and I am so grateful! I uncovered good goals, and they’ve given all of us clarity, direction, and a whole lot of peace this week.

If you need a breakthrough too, I’ve created a FREE Top 10 Keys to Make What Matters Happen E-book that you can get by signing up here. Inside the guide, you’ll find a replay of my live Grace-Filled Goal Setting PowerSheets Webinar, my top tips for uncovering intentional goals and making little by little progress on them, and the first chapter of my book Make It HappenYes, it’s free, because I know what it’s like to feel stuck, and I want to equip you to make meaningful progress in your own lives.


Save the date! Our 2017 PowerSheets Workbooks will go on sale on November 1st. Here’s a sneak peek above. I can’t wait to get these in your hands!

And now for something fun – The Make It Happen Giveaway!

Make It Happen Giveaway

Are you ready for this? We’re even giving away a set of our 2017 PowerSheets! Here’s what else is included:

*Winners! Please email Jess – Jess@LaraCaseyShop.com with your mailing address and she will get your goodies to you! :) Congrats, everyone!

1. 10 Emily Ley Academic Daily Simplified Planners in Gold Pineapple – These are sold out, but Emily has generously given us 10 planners to give to you! // Patricia Victa, Caroline Colby, Bekah Walters, Mackenzie Throne, Geales Goodwin, Bryanna Giesen, Aisha Lawrence, Melissa Sibert, Kathy Clark, Catherine G (emailed)
2. A copy of Make It Happen // Heidi Pearson
3. A set of my favorite Papermate Flair pens // Ann Thrash-Trumbo
4. A Make It Happen journal // Irma Colunga
5. A set of Desk Cards to brighten your desk // Tiara Cayetano
6. Set of three prints from the Lara Casey Shop // Emma Tufte
7. A bright red Make It Happen mug // Sara Quinnett 
8. A Make It Happen lunch box // Bethany Milinar
9. An advance copy of our 2017 PowerSheets Workbook – on sale November 1st! // Sara (emailed)
10. An advance copy of our NEW Cultivate What Matters sticker book (!!) // Melanie Carney 

There are lots of ways for you to enter, and we can’t wait to get some of my favorite resources in your hands!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are 19 prizes, which means 19 chances for you to win! Your odds are good. Giveaway ends September 9th. Winners will be announced on September 12th here on the blog, so be sure to come back and check to see if you won! Shipping some of these items can get costly, so hard goods are for US entrants only. If you don’t claim your prize within 48 hours, another winner will be selected, so mark your planners and stay posted! : ) 

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The best things in life are cultivated little by little. Hello, friends! Welcome back to my new weekly series. Each week, I’ll give you a quick update on life around these parts, and Ten Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters, little by little (with some fun ones thrown in too!).

IMG_4051Zinnias we picked from the garden to press flowers for a special project Grace and I are doing!

My dad is on an airplane as I type this, headed here for his 81st birthday! We’re excited to spend the weekend with him. We’re also hosting family group at our house for the first time in a year since we had Josh. In this year of babies, we had to step away from leading our group, but Ari and I are ready and craving deeper connections in this new season. It’s been a challenging year for us, and we feel like we’re finally on the other side. We were created for seasons, and they don’t last forever for a reason. Each season we go through is meant to prepare, teach, or ready us for what’s next if we embrace where we are. It’s hard when you’re in the thick of the wait, or tension, or transition, to see the good happening, though, isn’t it? But, remember this: after winter, always comes spring.


And now, for this week’s 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters This Week (In no particular order!)

1. Have tea! The weather went from blazing hot to fall-esque this week here in Chapel Hill. It got us excited about tea weather. My favorite is Roastarama, Ari loves Raspberry Zinger, and Grace really loves this sugar cookie tea. Well, this year we decided to make tea time a little more silly with Mr. Squirrel and Tea Rex (as seen above). During tea time, we practiced asking each other questions, looking in each other’s eyes, and sitting to have conversation. This week’s questions: What was your favorite thing all week? and What is your favorite Pokemon? : ) Our tea party this week was one of our summer goals. We’ve just got two left to go: visit Walter’s cows and go the farmer’s market!

2. Let your hair down. I was teased for my frizzy red hair in middle school, and finally let my hair down a few weeks ago. Here’s my story of dealing with rejection.

3. Be your very own self. If you feel like there are a million voices telling you what to do, be, say, or who to care about, here’s some wisdom Jen Hatmaker shared on Wednesday. Side note: her books, 7 and Interrupted, caused significant change in my life.

4. Consider a new story. This has been on my mind so much this week as we’ve had hours and hours of team meetings. We broke out a new set of PowerSheets (which are days away from being sold out — we’ll release the 2017 editions in November), set really good goals, and got refreshed. My friend Jess Connolly has inspired me recently in embracing a new story for her business. She launched a new partnership, a new shop name, and a new collection this week. Check out Amen Paper Company and use code ANEWSTORY for 25% off. This print is my favorite.

5. Cultivate your faith — no perfection required. The Cultivate Your Faith Giveaway ends in 4 days! Get my free Cultivating Faith e-book and more here.

6. Look deeper than your to-do list. I started feeling some heart pain a few weeks ago. Here’s the story.

7. Think outside the box to make progress on your goals. When I read the Bible from start to finish a few years ago, I listened to this for 80% of my “reading.” The New Living Translation (NLT) audio version of the Bible is free, and it helped me make progress on something that really mattered to me!

8. A reminder: it’s okay to grow slow.

9. Join me next Wednesday! Mark your planners! I’m giving a (free) Grace-Filled Goal Setting webinar on Wednesday (August 31) at noon EST. If you can’t join us live, be sure to register for access to the replay and my new Grace-Filled Goal Setting e-book!

10. Savor life like a boss. We picked a cannonball watermelon from the garden this week and plan to eat it tonight for my dad’s birthday. In related news, this made me laugh out loud.

Here’s to making progress on what matters, little by little!

Lara Casey signature

P.S. Monday is a big day. Our last court hearing to finalize our adoption is happening at 5:30pm EST. Will you pray alongside us? I’m tearing up typing this.

This post contains affiliate links, which are no extra cost to you, but if you make a purchase using one of these links, we send our commissions to the Love One Another project : )

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When I was in middle school, I was teased for my frizzy, curly red hair. With sound guidance from the early 90’s, I did what many girls did then: I permed it. You know what happened next. I came out of the salon with slightly-green, ammonia-scented, brittle, extra-frizzy hair. Add five years of braces, and being a natural introvert to the mix, and you have middle school memories that I locked away in the “do not disturb” compartment of life. The photos of this season are buried in my parents’ house somewhere.

Then Sanrio came out with the “The BFF book.” I remember the sting of rejection I felt when my name wasn’t written in a friend’s book. I started to think that something must be wrong with me. I determined to be liked. I became a people-pleaser, always seeking approval and validation from others.

In high school, I would go to the grocery store with my mom and look at the magazines at check-out. Most covers showed women with tan, perfectly smooth, freckle-free skin. I bought all the freckle-eraser creams, and lathered on the feelings of not being enough. I felt like I didn’t fit, and believed that, since I wasn’t perfect, I’d never be happy or loved.

As my friend Lysa says in her new book, Uninvited“Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said to me.”

Or not said.
Or assumed.
Or not written in a friendship book.


Twenty years later, I got married in my hometown, and went through a painful divorce shortly after. More of my story here. I craved a new identity that couldn’t be shaken by circumstances, or what other people thought, or by the mistakes I would inevitably make along my path. As my friends Jess and Hayley say, I constantly felt like I was too much and never enough. I was deeply in debt, and got a job as a personal trainer at the local gym—-the gym where all those people in my hometown (who had come to my wedding) socialized. I didn’t have any other choices for work at the time though. I needed to make money to pay bills, and the only way forward was to step into what felt like the lions den. Instead of running from it, or trying to fix myself, I stepped right into the feelings of shame, isolation, and rejection.

In that same gym, months later, I met Ari. He didn’t judge me for my past or flinch when I told him about all the baggage I was carrying from the past; he just wanted to know me.

I learned something in that season. There was a way out of the constant cycle of living in lack, believing that I wasn’t ever going to measure up. I started seeking God more. In Christ, I’ve learned over time that I am invited. Always welcome. Always loved.

Something that has helped me is to think about what I know versus what I feel. Feelings aren’t the enemy, but many times they can lead us away from truth.
I may feel rejected at times, but I know Whose I am.
I may feel broken, but I know I’m whole in Him.
I may feel like my heart is a mess, but I know God transforms our messes into our message.
I may feel alone, isolated, and lonely at times, but I know that God never ever leaves me.
Leaning into knowing, instead of letting my feelings inform my worth, changes things.

Lysa posted recently about crushing the lies and lines we’ve believed. I woke up one day a few weeks ago and felt tired of fixing my hair. Always putting it up or straightening it. Hiding my frizz. My curls. My past pain.

So, I washed it and let it go that morning.

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. But, it wasn’t about a hairstyle, it was about letting go of what years of feeling rejected 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. I had to come undone.


Embracing my curls has been rather life-changing. Apparently I’m not alone in this desire to embrace what God has given us. It’s not about hair though; it’s about our hearts. I look in the mirror now, and I’m reminded to live loved, right where I am.

Rejection is going to happen. It happened to me just last week again and it stung. But, it reminded me to keep fighting to trust in what I know to be true. I am loved. You are too. More than we could ever imagine. Living from the place of knowing we are loved encourages others to do the same. It multiplies freedom.

More in my Facebook Live today.

Have you experienced rejection? How has that shaped you? I’d love to hear your story…

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