Hi, friends! Welcome back to my weekly series about making progress on what matters, little by little—along with a few links I think you might enjoy. In case you missed them, here are week oneweek twoweek threeweek four, and week five!

If you were sitting with me here on my couch, here’s what I’d tell you: This has been a week of heart pruning and choosing slow. I’ve had to call Ari every day at work to have him pray with me about Grace. She’s having a rough time with this transition, being out of her normal routine, and missing her buddy, Rhiannon. And all she sees is me taking care of the babies constantly (we’re without childcare this week and next till Sarah starts—she is wonderful, btw, and I can’t wait for you to meet her!). And I’m having a hard time missing Rhiannon, too. When you spend all day with someone, five days a week—more time than you spend with your husband—you feel an emptiness when the person is gone. Thankfully, she’s coming back to see us after her trip to Greece in a couple weeks before she officially moves!

And getting anything done with two babies has been near-impossible. Writing this post is happening only because my wonderful mother-in-law is here watching the babies and Grace is doing a sticker book : ) Working moms of the world and moms in general… hugs. Big hugs. This job is the hardest.

So, this week, I’m learning to choose slow. And “slow” isn’t bad. Slow is margin. Slow is intentional. Slow is stillness in the storm. Slow means trusting God more than my own imperfect efforts. Slow is simplified. Good things grow slow—little by little, over time.

FullSizeRender-2

I turned in my draft of Cultivate last Friday. I am happy with the first few chapters and can’t wait to dig back in when I have someone here to watch the babies! : )

How do you stay motivated? I shared more in this week’s Facebook Live.

Last week, I talked about how it had been a refining week for business decisions, and we decided to surrender to slow. And I’m so grateful for that decision. God’s plan does not look like the rest of the world’s success.

Last Sunday, we enjoyed our Team BBQ.

IMG_0470 (1)

Thanks to some sweet friends who offered to keep the babies, Ari and I were able to have a date with Grace last weekend, too.

IMG_2949

We took her to Fearrington Village to get ice cream for lunch and visit the cows, chickens, and goats. It’s a pretty magical place!

FullSizeRender

Then, I hosted Grace and her sweet friend Carter for dinosaur cookie decorating…

PenultimateFullSizeRender-2

We used this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen since I still can’t eat eggs, soy, or dairy with Josh’s protein sensitivities—and this mama really wanted a cookie!

FullSizeRender-7

We’ve been doing some suburban foraging for breakfast all week long, and it has been so fun! There’s this great fig tree that is loaded with sweet fruit. Josh and Grace eat about 12 on our morning walks. And Ari’s mom is here visiting us this week and has loved them too.

FullSizeRender-2

We also visited our friend John’s garden yesterday morning and the little redheads loved munching on his Sweet 100’s! (Hi John!)

IMG_3124-2

My friend Jane has a pretty remarkable story. One big glorious announcement.

What to do when you don’t know where to start.

I love this from my friend Hannah. Stories like this light my heart up!

This journal for kids is a favorite in our house.

Prayers for your husband and marriage from my friend Natalie.

My friend Em is about to launch a great resource for small business owners called Playbook. More here.

My mom writes a cooking column for the local paper, and this recipe for Basil Pistachio cookies is one of my favorites!

PowerSheets Sale
Sunday is the very last day to grab the PowerSheets and Gold-Foil Make It Happen Binder bundle for only $30 (Be sure to choose the Bundle with Make It Happen Binder // Gold Foil for the sale price to show up!) I asked on Instagram if any of you would be interested in a Facebook Live class on how to dig into your PowerSheets for the remainder of the year, and you responded with a resounding yes. We’re working through details of that, and we’ll announce it soon. In the meantime, go ahead and order your PowerSheets so you’ll be ready to dive in with us.

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 11.28.35 AM

My friend Jess wrote a great guide for fall. Get it here! My three words for fall: Word, Clear, and Nurture.

And in case you need a laugh like I did this week, Ari and I were in bed reading the Bible the other night and this is what the Tree of Life translation says in Genesis about when Rebekah saw her future husband for the first time: “Rebekah also lifted up her eyes and saw Isaac. Then she fell off her camel.” (Genesis‬ ‭24:64‬ ‭TLV‬‬) It makes me giggle every time!

This weekend we’re hosting friends for dinner on Saturday night (which means 4pm in our land with two babies’ bedtimes), and we’re having a pool date with friends on Sunday afternoon. And I’m craving time with Ari. It’s been a crazy week for us trying to keep up with everyone in the house… and laundry. With three kids, laundry is an event. We need some time together to talk about God and just be. What are you looking forward to this weekend? Next week, Ari is off work and we’re having a “staycation.” My prayer is that we use the week together to soak in the Word, and I’m hoping Ari will join me on my Facebook Live on Wednesday!

 

Lara Casey signature

 

P.S. Happy birthday weekend to Nicole! (July 31st was also Joshua’s due date last year, but he decided to wait an extra 13 days to make his appearance.) I am SO grateful for you, N!!!

Show Comments (4)

GrowSlow

Let me tell you about the last 24 hours. We have a new line of products that are designed, ready to print, and I love them SO much–I know they will change people’s lives. But yesterday we chose not to order them. I prayed so hard and felt God clearly telling me to not do things like the rest of the world. To surrender to slow. And I’m so grateful for that decision. I am not a numbers person, and I don’t have a business degree (music theatre BFA). I’ve run this business for over ten years, and I have learned a thing or two, but let me tell you this: God’s plan does not look like the rest of the world’s success.

The world says do more, grow fast, be big, use these tricks, analyze, do it like those people, get ahead. But, Jesus didn’t have Instagram or a megaphone. He had two feet and truth, and He sat around dinner tables and talked one-on-one with people.

New homeowners like trees labeled “fast growing” to fill in a space quickly, or provide shade to reduce the cooling bill. 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. And pruning helps plants be more fruitful.

Maybe–despite everything everyone tells you–fast isn’t the goal.

Maybe less is okay.

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

It’s okay to grow slow. 

More here.

Show Comments (2)

Hi, friends! Welcome back to my new weekly series about making progress on what matters, little by little—along with a few links I think you might enjoy. In case you missed them, here are week oneweek twoweek three, and week four.

Oh what a week this has been! I’ve been writing, and loving it for the first time in a long while. Getting grounded last week was needed. Today is my first draft deadline, which feels a wee bit scary to type. I have a long way to go, but God is big and He can do impossible things. My prayer this week has been, Lord frustrate my words. If they aren’t what you want–what’s true–frustrate them. Don’t let me teach something lukewarm or popular. Please Father let me teach life-giving truth. The words are coming. I’m grateful for your prayers!

FullSizeRender

It has been a refining week trying to make business decisions. I don’t often talk about business decisions here because I fear what I share will be alienating, or irrelevant. But, I hope this encourages someone… Most of my decisions are pretty clear cut most days: Is this going to honor God or not? Does this align with scripture or not? But, sometimes, I have to completely step out on faith and put my foot on the bevel of the shovel with no growing plants in sight. Decoded: We have designed some powerful and purposeful new products that we believe will help change lives, but we don’t have the cash sitting in the bank to buy them all. I’m a Dave Ramsey fan, so no loans or dipping into the emergency fund allowed. So, lots of adjusting happened over the last 48 hours, lots and lots of prayer, wise counsel, asking many friends to pray, and hopefully some decisions today.

Today is also Rhiannon’s last day with us. Here’s my letter to her, and to the Nannies of the World. Insert all the emotions.

Dear Nannies of the World Lara Casey

My friend, Rachel’s, mom went to be with the Lord unexpectedly this week. Please read this.

This week, I can’t stop thinking about eternal impact. About how our seemingly small actions influence our children and everyone we know. Opening our homes. Seeking to understand. Writing and saying life-giving words. Putting someone else first–really doing it. Sending that email to encourage her. Choosing to ask a second question instead of keeping conversation surface-level. Praying for friends in the way you’d want to be prayed for: Passionately. Generously. Fervently. No perfect words required. Perfect words don’t matter–your surrendered heart does. Spending our time on genuinely good things. Rejoicing in our weakness. And swimming in grace in the many many many times we mess it all up. We don’t have to be perfect to change generations. The times I mess up, get to say I’m sorry, or tell Grace about how I’m struggling and trying to rely on God in my weakness, those are gifts. Imperfection is a gift because it gives way to grace. More here.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 3.08.54 PM

In this week’s Facebook Live, I talked about planning an intentional life versus planting one. Which one are you doing lately? (Be sure to listen all the way to the end for how you can win one of 10 set of PowerSheets.)

Have you told yourself that it’s too late to start fresh? Have you decided that since July is almost over, you might as well wait until 2017 to make progress on your goals? There is nothing special about January 1st. You can cultivate what matters right now, little by little.

Don’t tell yourself that you’ve missed your chance.

powersheets lara casey

We have only a few hundred sets of PowerSheets left for this year. If you’re new here, hi and welcome! : ) PowerSheets are an intentional Goal Planner. These are our undated, six-month sets, so you can start the minute you get them. And right now, while supplies last, bundling your PowerSheets with our Make It Happen Binder saves you $25. Get yours here. (We’ve also had a lot of people buy this bundle for friends over the last 24 hours.)

Binder Sale IG

I’m considering doing a Facebook Live class on PowerSheets. Tell me what you need coaching on, and I’ll do it.

My friend Jeff got a drone. His photographs inspired me this week. We are so small in this world, and God is so very big.

Mistakes happen, like when MailChimp decided to name all 25,000 of our newsletter friends <<Test First Name>>. When the email came through, I let out a big sigh and a pirate-like “argh!” But, progress not perfection! (P.S. You can get these awesome love notes below for $6 here.)

progress not perfection notes lara casey

Grace running through the community garden in her PJ’s this week on our morning walk…

IMG_2688

I love exploring with her. I mean, look at these sunflowers!!!

IMG_2684

Our homework after last week’s sermon at church was to get together with someone of a different race, and seek to understand. I was so grateful for the time I spent with my sisters, Carla and Kristy (Sarah below loving being with Kristy). I’m sharing this to pass the same fruitful homework on to you. Like we’ve been practicing in Fruitful Summer, ask questions that are far below the surface, practice asking second questions, embrace awkward, and seek to understand your friend’s fears and pains. I hope I can continue this “homework” for my whole lifetime.

IMG_2632

Another little tidbit from the last week at church that I had to pass on (I may have cheered when it was said!): Get off Facebook. Get your face in The BookYes!

Download this week’s Fruitful Summer guide to learn how to make new traditions, celebrate each other, and cultivate community. Plus, my fast and easy Summer Jam recipe, my secret handshake with Grace, and so much more.

Week Five Cover

I love this clothing line for kids from my friend Hayley. Wildly Co. designs, produces, screen prints, and packages ethically made kids clothes in the USA.

IMG_2776

We picked blueberries with friends on Wednesday morning before work. “Mrs. Wanda” loves seeing Gracie, and we love seeing her! I still want to buy the blueberry patch (crazy, I know!), and plan to ask Wanda about it again hopefully next Wednesday. She and her husband are moving to take care of their son’s little girls, so someone needs to keep this place going!

IMG_2780

This week, for Southern Weddings’ Fruitful Summer, I wrote about how to celebrate marriage in the thick of it, and offered lots of advice for marriage alongside Amber.

Fruitful SUmmer Marriage lara casey

Read the recap and download the whole series here.

celebrate

This lady has been with Southern Weddings for 7 years, and our company is all the better for it. I love you, Em!

Susan’s wedding last weekend was amazing. Such an inspiration! See my previous post for more. And Josh was pretty dapper in his cute little bow tie…

IMG_2659

This video. A mom in Kentucky tried to punish her son by making him mow lawns for free. But he loved doing it, and enlisted his two brothers and cousin. Now, they’re going door to door to cut more lawns and clean up the community—and they’re still doing it for free. It’s just so awesome. Watch here.

IMG_2691

I was saving this canvas above for one of my 2016 goal celebrations, but Gracie asked realllllly nicely, and it’s hard to turn down nice manners. Our goal is to draw 100 smiley faces on it by the end of summer.

This post from Unveiled Wife on how to have a passion-filled marriage is good stuff. #3 is glue that keeps us together every day, despite inevitable challenges, disagreements, and anything that comes our way.

Josh has five teeth now! I can’t believe he’ll be one on August 13th! And this hair…

FullSizeRender

I sincerely wish I could go to Influence Conference in Minneapolis. Travel is out for us though with these babies and me still nursing. But, please go for me!! Tickets are still available here. So many humble, wise women are speaking—Rach Kincaid, Moriah Sunde, Retha Nichole, Gina Zeidler, and Joy Eggerichs Reed. (Someone find Gina, and give her a hug for me while you’re there!)

MNinfconf_social

What are y’all doing this weekend?

I realized something last Saturday. Even with good things planned on our calendars, it’s the in-between that I often relish more. The hours and moments between the big events are where life happens. We’re planning to have a special date afternoon with Grace (thanks to some very generous friends coming to watch the babies), and we’re hosting the ladies and gents from my office for our annual Team BBQ. I’m excited about these things, for whatever God has for us in the in-between, and for the chance to dig in to another Sabbath. Next week, Ari’s mom is coming to visit and I’m nanny-less for a couple weeks, so Sabbath will be needed! : )

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a favorite blog post, product, or piece of encouragement that keeps you making little by little progress? Let me know!

Okay, off to savor this last afternoon with Rhiannon and, Lord willing, write more words. I’m thinking of you, wherever you are as you read this, and praying you feel encouraged. If you need some extra love, here’s a little song from a very little Gracie…

Lara Casey signature

P.S. After the littles go to sleep tonight, I’m hoping Ari and I can watch my friend, Lysa, speak live at 8:30pm EST. You can watch her for free tonight, too, by downloading the First 5 app at First5.org (I love this app)!

Show Comments (3)

Dear Nannies of the World,

I want you to know a few things.

Some people may pass your job off as insignificant. Temporary. Something college graduates do for a little while to make money. Or a job taken by people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives. And maybe you are only nannying for a summer, or to make money for school, and maybe it is temporary.

But, your job, dear friend, is big.

A Day in the Life of Lara Casey039

You have something that most people don’t: direct shaping influence.

You may be watching our children, but our children are watching you.

A Day in the Life of Lara Casey156

When Susan put a dollar on the kitchen counter with a note saying, “I accidentally spilled some of your spinach,” in that seemingly small action, Grace saw integrity. When she would leave after long days of nannying to volunteer at the women’s shelter most evenings, Grace saw humble service. When she prayed for Grace and taught her about God’s love, little seeds of faith were planted. And last weekend, when Susan married Donal, and they shared their very first kiss on their wedding day, Grace saw a holy, pure marriage. She saw true joy.

Grace_115

When Meredith cared for me when I was sick and unable to get out of bed (cleaning up my throw up despite me insisting that she let me do it), Grace saw sacrifice and love in action. When Meredith’s kind words and compassion poured out on others, it poured right onto Grace’s little heart too. When Beau proposed to Meredith, and washed her feet, Grace was watching. She saw him serve and love her. And when they married, Grace stood up next to them as their flower girl and saw a God at work once more.

10514453_10202386724256499_4038914475203760962_o

And oh Rhiannon. Today is her last day with us before she goes off to YoungLife ministry. In these two years, she has done far more than take care of our children. She’s prayed oceans of prayers over our family, and not just talked about her faith–she’s walked it. She dove into the mess of everyday life with us–the thousands of diapers, tantrums, and big emotions (mine included). Everything has been a teachable moment. Everything.

IMG_7417

Walking up the stairs to preschool became a counting steps game. Going to the grocery store with Grace became a time to practice connecting with others through hellos and genuinely asking how people are doing. Fred at Trader Joes is one of Grace’s best buds. Play dates were times to learn how to be a friend. Neighborhood walks were times to explore and celebrate all that God creates. Car rides were opportunities to stop on the way home to offer our homeless friend Neal food and water. And meltdowns were moments to learn about grace, prayer, and God’s goodness. There’s so much more. I could write books about the day-to-day ministry that Rhiannon has grown in our home.

FullSizeRender

But, the event that stands out most was adopting Sarah. When we said our crazy YES to adoption in the first place, Rhiannon was the first to pray over us. When we matched with a birth mom, Rhiannon cried tears of joy right alongside me. In the weeks of unknown, as we prepared for our two week trip to adopt Sarah, she kept scripture and prayer as a constant in this house. And when we all travelled together as a family, not knowing if we would bring Sarah home with us for sure, Rhiannon was there. When Sarah’s birthmom said goodbye and handed her to us. When I sobbed feeling inadequate as a mother, holding two babies, unable to feed them. When none of us had slept more than an hour. Rhiannon kept pouring out grace. In the throw-up, baby poop, meltdowns, and so much. There’s just too much to name.

FullSizeRender_1

But you know what? I’m really not telling you about Rhiannon. Or Susan. Or Meredith. I’m telling you about a powerful God at work in them who continues to change us. This hasn’t been a temporary, insignificant, mundane job any of these women–it has been their calling for a season. They have shown us Jesus.

And that. Is. Not. Small.

Rhiannon’s actions–not just her words–have shaped Grace, Josh, Sarah, Ari, the ladies who work here in this house alongside me, and me. We’ve laughed, cried, prayed, and she’s become my closest friend in this season.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/isaacsonfamilymarch2015

Nannies of the world, you’re not just shaping children; you’re shaping mothers. As a mother, to not only trust someone to watch your kids, but to trust them to teach your kids… well, that is a gift unlike any other.

I am a better mother because of these women. Women who knew this was much more than a “job.” When Grace would have meltdowns, a text from Rhiannon in the other room, telling me she was praying and encouraging me… those were seeds planted. Every time she listened to me, allowing me to confide in her and ask for spiritual guidance, she listened with grace and without judgement. Seeds planted. In the countless times she left a note of prayer on my desk or surprised me with flowers on particularly hard days… seeds planted.

Sarah

Nannies of the world, you are Cultivators. You have the opportunity to plant seeds directly into hearts, and grow the future generations–and mothers.

Whether your job is for a short season, or for two beautiful messy grace-filled wonderful years like it has been for Rhiannon, know that it matters.

Your job is everything.

___

Please share this post with your nanny friends. I hope it encourages you!

Show Comments (6)

Hi, friends! Welcome back to my new weekly series about making progress on what matters, little by little—along with a few links I think you might enjoy. In case you missed them, here are week oneweek two, and week three.

I’ve taken this week off of social media to get grounded. After the events last week, I felt a strong pull to disconnect from social media and deeply connect with God. Listen in below for more…

In this time of drawing close to God’s truth, words for my book are finally coming. I am very grateful. A little snippet I’ll share with you here:

Redeeming the Dirt

When I was asked to speak at a Christian women’s conference for the first time a few years ago, a woman told me that she was shocked and wondered why they chose me. She knew that in the early days of my marriage, when I started growing my business, my soil was filled with jagged rocks. What she didn’t know, and what I’d never imagined happening, was that same soil being transformed and infused with new life. Like rich compost, the best soil is filled with transformed remnants of the past. In the same way, your mess can become your message.

My new release date is tentatively May 23, 2017. It seems like a long way away, but not in book land. Lots has to happen between now and then! I hope to turn in this first draft next Friday, the 22nd. I would be so grateful for your continued prayers.

A few things to share—with lots of photos since I haven’t been on social media this week! First, proof of my daughter’s career aspirations. Olympic ribbon dancing, here we come.

IMG_2522

So, gospel music has always been my favorite. I love this playlist right now. Do you love gospel too? I always love hearing people’s favorite songs. My friends Ed and Beverly from church recorded an album and it’s SO GOOD. On nights I was leading Bible Bunch last year, Ed would be in the studio recording. It’s a joy to see the fruit of what God created through him!

Little progress is still progress. Love this encouragement for new moms (and all of us!).

Ari and I have been reading this book, and loving it.

Grace has been helping me write this week : )

FullSizeRender

Put on that swimsuit.

Favorite holidays in our house: Passover (Ari and I love the meaning, Grace loves the parsley), Thanksgiving, and Cow Appreciation Day. Grace and Rhiannon made their cow outfits with sticky felt, and I particularly love the heart patch on Grace’s chest : )

IMG_2531

I read very few newsletters, but my friend Lauren is wise. If you are a small business owner, I recommend signing up and reading her weekly tips.

My friend Jen from Unveiled Wife writes another newsletter I love.

We tried to take a family photo last Friday. Josh loves his little sister, and was very curious about her tongue.

FullSizeRender copy

And then I told him not to pull on his sweet sister’s tongue.

IMG_2363

I love this kid. Even when he’s crying, my heart is so grateful for him. (I should submit this to Reasons My Son is Crying, a hilarious collection of true stories that will make you giggle. Here’s a favorite.)

Our friend Lauren Taylor is in NYC with her husband for the summer, and she sent Grace the coolest gift: a book of New York landmarks and pictures of the two of them at each of them! Isn’t this great?

IMG_0309

Learn how to dig in to the power of “little by little,” simplify your life, and dig under the surface for deeper relationships in this week’s Fruitful Summer Guide. I loved writing this–and living out these tips has helped me so much!

Fruitful-Summer (1)

 

I’d love to have you in the next Fruitful Summer Guide that comes out next Wednesday! What are your favorite traditions with friends? Tell me here.

These two make my day every day.

I love her blog.

I love our Fruitful Summer photos from Olivia of Nancy Ray Photography. We all had fun, but I think Grace had the most fun!

nrp-olivia-swfruitfulsummer-1081-683x1024

Engaged friends, get this planner. It has a whole section on marriage and solid planning advice.

We spent last Saturday morning at the blueberry patch. I had Josh in a carrier, and Ari decided to just hold Sarah.

IMG_2435

I think they both enjoyed it : )

IMG_2427

We pulled the turnips and rutabagas from the garden. They were so good! My favorite mashed turnip recipe:

  • Peel and cut a big bowl of turnips into chunks (we had one large rutabaga mixed into ours too)
  • Boil them in chicken broth till they soften
  • Sauté a chopped onion with olive oil, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper
  • Combine it all in the food processor (or Ninja in our case, since we don’t have a food processor)
  • Bake for 30 minutes at about 350

We grew these from seeds that a patient of my dad had given him. I’m considering planting a fall crop too, they were so good. This is a Thanksgiving favorite, but was delightful in the heat of July as well!

IMG_2450

2017 PowerSheets are going to the printer next week, along with new products for both the Southern Weddings Shop and Lara Casey Shop. Our little Design Assistant had a hard time containing his excitement this week!

IMG_0164 (1)

We’ve celebrated a lot in the office this past week – Laura Kashner’s birthday, and Lisa and Kristin‘s work anniversaries. Up next is a certain orange-lover’s birthday on July 31st. If you want to send something orange for her, here’s our P.O. Box : ) PO Box 9090, Chapel Hill, NC 27515.

My friend Emily sent me one of her new academic Simplified Planners that starts in August, and I love it. I filled out important dates this week to get it set up. I love that Romans 12:12 is on Ari’s birthday.

FullSizeRender_1

We are making little by little progress on our Summer Goals (my July Goals are here) and summer fun list (below). Get a Summer Goals list for free here.

IMG_2423

Marissa and Emily knocked it out of the park in this week’s FREE Fruitful Summer Newlywed Guide. Even if you aren’t a newlywed, or married at all, read this one. The list of twists on adulting is excellent! And be sure to sign up to get next week’s Guide. You’ll get a letter from me about how to celebrate marriage in the thick of it, and lots of great advice for marriage.

Scripture on Goals.

I use this website every day to look things up.

Josh is on the move this week, and getting into everything, so we had to do a little furniture re-arranging to close off the living room…

IMG_2508

Our friend Carla came to hang with the littles yesterday and enjoyed “Fort Joshua” too : ) Josh to escape the barricades below…

FullSizeRender

We are often asked if we plan on releasing new editions of Write the Word. I’m excited to share that YES we are, and I made the final edits on the covers with Nicole today. They are wonderful! There are five new editions releasing for 2017 — on sale November 1st.

Now, I know you aren’t supposed to use a Bumbo on a bed, but listen in. This was Ari feeling super proud for handling all three kids by himself while I went to the grocery store. They are watching Praise Baby, and no one is crying. He did good : )

PenultimateFullSizeRender

On Wednesday night, after putting Josh to sleep, I came out of his room to a quiet house. I called Ari to see where he was. “We took a walk. We’ll be back in about ten minutes.” Grace came bounding in the door shortly after: “Mom! We found POKEMON!” Ari also succeeded this week in being captivated by the Pokemon phenomenon. I decided to join them last night and it was pretty hilarious…

IMG_2587

Below: “Mom, you’re stepping on him!!”

IMG_2597

Oops! Well, he is pretty cute : ) Gracie is too.

FullSizeRender copy 2

We’ve got a big weekend ahead. Our first nanny from when Grace was a baby, “Miss Sue,” is getting married tomorrow! Her soon-to-be-husband is a real Irishman and we think the world of him. They met while doing mission work in Ireland together. We can’t wait to celebrate with them! Grace is most excited for cake : ) Aren’t they lovely together? Photo by my friend Emily.

30514414-c9ce-49b3-9c7d-a935a25d28c4~rt_auto

And lastly, a little Sarah love for you. She is a miracle. We’re waiting on one more report from our social worker, one more court hearing, and then we will be finalized.

Sarah from lara casey on Vimeo.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you have a favorite blog post, product, or piece of encouragement that keeps you making little by little progress? Let me know!

Lara Casey signature

 

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which is 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 : )

 

Show Comments (11)

Hi, friends!! Welcome back to my new weekly series. (In case you missed them, here are Week one and week two.)

What a week this has been. It is hard to write today with the heaviness swirling around us, but I am trying to keep going—focusing on giving and loving as much as I can.

IMG_2278

I hope Ari and I get lots of prayer time in and closeness with the kids this weekend. Josh is on the move this week with his super-fast crawling, and we’ll be at the blueberry patch bright and early tomorrow. I also hope to make some little by little progress on my July PowerSheets goals (below). Namely, studying the 25 Character Areas (get it here), and honoring the Sabbath by trying not to clean the entire house and wear myself out on the weekend—anyone else do that? The Sabbath is a gift, a day that’s set apart for us to be refreshed. I’m trying to learn how to practice this well.

FullSizeRender-8

I spent all of yesterday working my tail off on 2017 PowerSheets writing. I didn’t leave my desk except to nurse Josh and eat lunch because I just got in a zone. When I see the positive potential in something, I work heartily. You will have me as a coach and encourager through the entire process with these—I’m right there with you on every page, helping you move forward. If you’ve felt overwhelmed by setting goals, think you don’t need goals, have yet to used your PowerSheets from 2015 or before, or you have yet to try them, here’s what I have to tell you: be sure to get them for 2017. Get a six month set of the current PowerSheets now so you finish the year well, but plan to grab a Workbook for 2017 when they release. The process gets significantly refined every year, and this year–with three kids and zero time–I felt passionate about creating a tool to help women simplify, and live every day more intentionally. I pray, and trust, they will do exactly that. They’ll be released in October and I can’t wait to use them myself!

Okay, many things to share!

One of my favorite photographs (and couples).

Why we need to be careful with social media numbers and “insights.”

Two awkward’s make a normal.

lara casey handwriting

This handwriting piece I did four years ago has been shared millions of times on the internet. Get it this week in my VRSLY takeover.

Also, VRSLY is giving away a Write the Word journal!

My friend Jeane has 36 children. Really. Her blog encourages me so much.

How to embrace awkward.

Last night, Ari and my friend Joslyn and I somehow got to talking about these. Did you have one as a kid?

IMG_2169

We got two free cartons of this cereal and I instantly fell in love with the heart of this company and all they are doing.

This may be the strangest contraption, but it is the best. I watched this YouTube video to learn how to use it and, yes, I was grossed out at first. But, it helped our three sick kids breathe better these last two weeks.

How to simplify your life.

A song for you. Watch Sarah at the very end :)

IMG_2078

Ari had to work the whole 4th of July weekend, but he did get to take Grace to work with him for an hour. See Ari’s tweet here : )  Although my mom made her the cutest scrubs, complete with “Dr. Gracie” on the pocket, she has other plans for her life. Grace has decided what she wants to be when she grows up: an Olympic ribbon dancer, and a cupcake baker like our friend, Randi. Great choices in my book.

Our friend Kate (who is a brilliant writer) just found out last week that her daughter, Madeline, has leukemia. Please pray and consider donating to them here.

My favorite southern city is …

There are many weeks I don’t leave the house except to take a morning walk, and to go to church on Sunday. Family group mid-weeks have been impossible for us with bedtimes, but this week we decided to change that. I looked at Ari and said, “You just go! I’ll figure it out with all the kids!” I’m so glad he did, and everyone here survived with just me—they all eventually got fed and got to sleep. Ari texted me this picture and it made me grateful. Community so important!

FullSizeRender-7

I have eaten the same thing for breakfast every morning for the last twelve years: chocolate protein (Vega is my favorite), a half a cup of oats (I buy the 50LB bag in bulk from Whole Foods and have three five-gallon buckets of oats in our hall closet—saves me $ every year to do this), a spoonful of chia seeds, stevia, and water (enough to make it soup consistency). Microwave for two-three minutes, and breakfast is done. I eat this again each afternoon. As a nursing mom, eating every couple hours (who can’t eat eggs, dairy, or soy for both babies’ protein sensitivities) that saves me from eating chicken for all my meals : )

This was a week of digital pruning. I let go of Periscope and I’m still on the fence about Snapchat. As much fun as it is, I don’t love a lot of the new sponsored content. When I joined a month ago, the sponsored content was more optional, but now there are immodest photos and sensational headlines right when you open the app that I don’t think are appropriate for youth. I know I sound like a dinosaur, but I take this seriously. I’m just not sure yet. Any thoughts?

Can you guess how big he is below?

FullSizeRender_2

What’s your favorite random act of kindness? Tell us.

How to embrace awkward while planning your wedding. I love the wisdom that Lisa and Kristin offer to our engaged readers this week in Southern Weddings’ Fruitful Summer.

Every time I lead Making Things Happen, I do the work right along with the attendees. And every time I’m changed. Join us in Chapel Hill on October 17 and 18th. The early-bird rate ends July 31—or till we sell out—and we’ve sold out every conference. I hope to see you there…

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 3.06.19 PM

Some words that won’t leave me this week:

When you have everything, you are grateful for nothing. When you have nothing you are grateful for everything.

Okay, off to make little by little progress on my book before Josh wakes up : )

Lara Casey signature

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which is 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 : )

Show Comments (9)

This is a hard truth: too many good things is still too much.

Grace and I picked blueberries this morning (can you spot her below?). The blueberry patch has been here for over thirty years, and these bushes keep making good fruit! How? Our friend, Wanda, works hard to keep them well-fed and pruned. If Wanda let the bushes grow grow grow, the fruit wouldn’t get as sweet because the nutrients would be spread thin.

It’s time to do that in our lives too–simplify and prune so better fruit can grow.

lara casey pruning

Ever since I shared with you about the tension I’ve been wrestling with in motherhood and business, and what God told me to do (read here), I’ve been trying–earnestly trying–to share my journey in the thick of it. Making a mess and mistakes along the way, but trying to give away as much good as possible. I’ve tried encouraging people on Snapchat, Instagram, blogging, Periscope, Facebook Live, and good things are happening. But then yesterday in a team meeting, we looked at survey responses (thank you for such thoughtful encouraging replies), and one hit me:

“You’re telling me to simplify, and focus on what matters, but you are on so many platforms–I don’t want to be distracted by them all. I just want to find you in one place.”

lara casey joshua
On the porch with Joshua today. He loved the blueberries we picked!

Yes. I feel that.

A lot.

It’s time to prune.

This is important to me. There are women out there right now who need to hear the truth. Every fiber of me wants to deliver it. But oh my pride. Pride makes me think I have to do it all. My pride makes me think that I have to be the one to do it, instead of trusting that God has it.

lara casey grace decorating office
Grace decorating my office today : )

Trusting that “a little” is many times enough.

Trusting that it’s okay to do things differently than everyone else, and simplify.

Trusting that a few things done well are better than many things spread thin.

I don’t have to do it all. You don’t either. I just keep praying, “Lord tell me where you want me to be. I’ll be there.”

So, right now, here’s what God said to do first…

What do you think? How are you pruning your life?

Don’t miss a single post! Subscribe to Lara Casey

Show Comments (10)

Eight years. Eight years! I was thinking to myself that “MTH,” as we call it, is the longest running creative conference, but it isn’t. Because we’re not just for creatives. The Making Things Happen Conference began in 2009, after what seemed like a small leap of faith at the time: I posted a blog entry answering a question I’d recently been emailed — “How do you make things happen?”

Making Things Happen

Before I knew it, the post (“How to Make Things Happen“), started making waves. Those waves grew quickly into a movement. Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler and I travelled all across the country doing the conference.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS and physically doing something about it.
Making things happen means making tough decisions.
Making things happen is about grace, not perfection.
Making things happen means saying NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique assignment here on this earth.
Making things happen requires guts. And fierce passion. And knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all to live on purpose.
Making things happen – the right things – will change everything.

Our 1000+ alumni have launched new businesses, left behind unfulfilling habits, and helped thousands of other women live on purpose too.

MTH-Alum

Making Things Happen is for everyone, because MTH is about uncovering what matters to you, and doing something about it. Every time I lead this conference, I do the work right along with the attendees. And every time I’m changed. There’s no magic to it, but we have learned a lot over these eight years to help women simplify and take action. You might be a mother or wife who is struggling to balance family responsibilities. You might be a working professional trying to run with a big idea. Or you might be a small business owner burning the candle at both ends. (Or all of the above!) If you’re ready to use your potential on purpose, MTH is for you.

Making Things Happen Speakers

MTH is unlike any other conference. MTH is the work you do before investing in other conferences. Before you take action on what’s important to you, you have to know where you’re going. This intensive was created to give you a solid foundation and action plan. It was created to help you simplify and gain direction.

Making Things Happen October 2016

I want you to join us. Meet me here in Chapel Hill on October 17 and 18th! Many of you have told me you’d love to go. Take the leap. I’ve been doing this conference for eight years and I fully believe in the work we are doing. Your gifts have a purpose and they were meant to be used!

making-things-happen-lara-casey-conference-22

The early-bird rate ($1000 off) ends July 31—or till we sell out—and we’ve sold out every conference. You can also check out the NEW Making Things Happen site, and blog posts from our recent alum:

Read Lauren’s experience at MTH.
Read Megan’s five favorite things about MTH.
Read Madeline’s recap of her time at MTH.

making-things-happen-lara-casey-conference-11

I can’t wait to see you there!

Lara Casey signature

Show Comments (0)

Hi, friends!! Welcome back to my new weekly series! Can you believe we’re at the half-way point of 2016? I was reading Nancy’s goal updates this morning and they got me inspired. There’s nothing magical about January 1–July 1st can be our new year, friends.

lara casey powersheets

I’m working on my July PowerSheets today, and feeling good about the little by little progress I made in June. What a month of unexpected change!

What are y’all up to this weekend? Ari is working so I’ll be here with the three little Isaacson monkey’s. My mom was supposed to come visit, but couldn’t at the last minute. Thankfully, our friend Gabrielle and my neighbor Tori offered to lend me a hand. Two babies at totally different developmental stages, and on totally different sleep schedules… well, it’s almost impossible to do it solo. Lot’s of love to all you single moms and moms of multiples and moms of many fur babies too. We may just buy a watermelon, slice it open, and eat that all weekend, for all of our meals–but we will have fun doing it!

IMG_1927

Dressed up for the 4th in her outfit that used to be Gracie’s. Those leg rolls : ) 

Fun things to share this week!

First, you have to see this from my friends Addi and Lisa. I love these words, and be sure to watch the very end.

My friend Emily came to photograph our house for Smitten Magazine several months ago. Josh is so tiny in these pictures.

But, really, these allergen-free chocolate chips. I made my own protein bars with them a couple weeks ago, but more ended up straight in my mouth.

lara casey fruitful summer magazine

How to embrace an imperfect summer. Sign up to get the next three weeks for free here.

Dating well matters.

I love our mailman.

If you were a holiday, which would you be?

watercolor book lara casey

I wrote the forward for these wonderful watercolor books by my friend Kristy. They are so beautiful and meaningful!

watercolor book 2 lara casey

And Kristy is a fellow adoptive mama. Grace being Grace this morning below : ) 

watercolor book lara casey 3

I have a whole post coming on this, but to potentially save a few sleepless nights for some of you in the interim, this lady was an answer to prayer for us. Josh had a horrible time sleeping. He would nurse every hour for the first eight months. Much more to say here soon, but for now, call Irene.

We successfully “Kondo’d” our house, and are trying not to acquire anything new, but I really love this from my friend Lindsay.

Building relationships when you have no bandwidth.

I really appreciate my friend Jess.

And my friend Renee.

And my friend Val, and her “Minnie-malism.

I’ve had to pass on speaking for this year and next. Except this. I would love to meet you this October here in Chapel Hill.

Last week I had one of my favorite experiences on social media. I asked you to tell me about yourself. Even if you’ve introduced yourself to me before, tell me about who you are now. I’d love to get to know you, and you never know who you might connect with!

meet the makers christianity today lara casey

I got an email about this on Monday. I’m grateful to be included.

I’m working on a Faith 101 class. A tip: get this. It may have been written for kids, but adults, get it. I love reading it to Grace at night, and it’s a great metanarrative of the whole Bible. Also, be sure you have a Bible you love that is easy to read. This is a huge stumbling block for many people who feel overwhelmed by the Bible! I love this translation and this one as well. I also use the free digital versions on Bible.com. Much more to come…

gracies garden

We have a new baby. (Ha!) Our intern, Rachel, suggested entering it at the fair! Check my snapchat (LaraLaraCasey) for more behind the scenes with Señor Zucchini.

It’s okay to be average.

Recording the audiobook of Make it Happen was challenging, but I’m so grateful I was given the chance to use my voice training from college! Three days in a studio, all day, lots of hot tea, and lots of do-overs. Get a copy here. I hope it encourages you.

FullSizeRender

I love the women I work alongside. They have been so encouraging in my journey to figuring out business and motherhood. Nicole posted this note on my office door yesterday to encourage me. We have a shared love of farm animals : )

Thank you all for the formula recommendations last week for Sarah! We tried this goat’s milk formula and she is loving it. She says it’s not baaaaahh-d. (I couldn’t help myself!)

Okay, off to feed Josh and make some progress on book writing before the weekend! Happy 4th, friends!

Lara Casey signature

P.S. Our big 4th of July SALE is happening. Use code JULYFIREWORKS for free domestic shipping, free tab stickers, and PowerSheets are on sale

4th of July Sale

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which is 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 : )

Don’t miss a single post! Subscribe to Lara Casey

Show Comments (5)

It’s okay to be average. It’s okay to love something and not be the best at it. It doesn’t mean you or your gift are worthless because you aren’t the “best.” It’s okay if your talent or passion isn’t a business. And it’s okay if your business isn’t the “best” either!

its okay to be average lara casey

I caught myself comparing my business to a friend’s last Friday. I said to Ari, “Her business is probably doing better than mine…”

Re-writing a book has been [insert all the antonyms of “easy”]. I’ve been sitting here at my computer, battling with words and insecurities. “Why is this so hard for me? I wish I could write books like her… ”

How could I write about friendship when I’m not perfect at it? “I’m not an expert—why try?”

In my own kitchen, “Sorry dinner is too spicy, and that we have the same things every week. I’m not the best at doing family dinners.”

Ari stopped me:

He prayed for God to give me lots of words.

He ate every bite of dinner.

And to my comment comparing my business to someone else’s, he said this: “Lara, money envy is usually pride.

Truth.

Oh, truth!

It hits hard, and it shatters the lies.

IMG_0960

We miss so much feeling like we have to be an expert or better than everyone else, don’t we?

I shared in my weekly Facebook Live yesterday about the freedom found in being “average” and the lies we believe that keep us from that freedom.

We falsely believe we have to:

do it all

have it all

be an expert

be better than someone else

be the best

have it all together

And if we aren’t, or don’t, we hesitate.

We don’t move forward.

We don’t send it, say it, do it, or surrender.

We just sit in the lies.

An email landed in my inbox this morning, and It made me see I’ve been believing another one lately. I didn’t know I needed the words I’m about to share with you till they left me in a puddle of tears here at my desk. With her permission, I’m sharing an excerpt. I hope these words encourage you too.

IMG_1382

Dear Lara,

I know you have believed lies friend.

We all have.

You know what though?

You also have listened to truth.

Just look back.

Look at your marriage. You listened and pressed into the truth.

Look at your walk with Jesus. You listened to truth and have grown so much.

Look at Ari. He knows Jesus sweet friend.

You might have listened and operated under some lies, yet you have listened to truth as well.

You have listened to the voice of your Savior, and you have obeyed.

Goodness that is some ripe, rich, healthy fruit.

IMG_1560

What if…

What if Grace’s big emotions, the struggle to connect with Sarah, and massive delay and starting over on your book have nothing to do with what you have done wrong.

Friend, what if all of this is about what you have done right??!!

What if your faith and your little by little has made you braver than you think?

What if your obedience has shown God that He can trust you with more?

Satan wants you to feel naked and shamed in your exposure of humanness. Yet the Bible says something totally different.

Genesis 2:25 says, “The man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.”

God fully intended for us to be exposed without shame. 

Only Satan tells us to hide.

IMG_1312

I’ve been believing the lie that God isn’t faithful. I don’t say it, but I sure am acting like it lately. How easily I forget what He has done! I certainly don’t think I’ve listened as much as I should, or that I’ve done much right, but my friend encouraged me to see that His ways are always better than mine, and His ways lead to new life.

My marriage.

My children.

My business.

My words.

My friends.

All of it, changed by truth.

I can take zero credit for the change in my life, but we are given a choice: believe the lies, or listen to the truth and try our best—through all our imperfections and times we plain old mess up. (Allllll the time for me!)

Lord, may I keep choosing truth over lies, and surrender over striving to be the best. And when I don’t, may I remember that your grace gives me freedom. Freedom from striving, performing, or having to be the best. It’s okay to be average. Like Moses, you don’t need me to be perfect to use me. You don’t call me to be the best, you just want my surrendered heart and hands.

And I’m so glad You aren’t done with me yet.

For more, catch the video here. And this is happening! Grab a set of our undated PowerSheets for only $25 through Tuesday, July 5th. All orders placed over the weekend will come with a free set of Tab Stickers. Use the code JULYFIREWORKS for free shipping on PowerSheets orders.

Also, we’ve restocked some of our most loved desk cards, so check those out before you place your order : ) These are my favorite right now.

Show Comments (19)