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

September is a month of NEW.

New rhythms.

New learning.

New direction.

(Prepping for NEW PowerSheets coming October 25th!)

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

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

My August Goals Progress:

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

Goals for the Isaacsons and Daughters 🙂

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

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

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

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

SO grateful for the 2018 PowerSheets shoot with these ladies.

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

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

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

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

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

I love her.

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

Here are my PowerSheets goals for September:

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

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

My September PowerSheets goals!

Monthly Goals:

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

At our Cultivate Team Summit this week at Fearrington Village.

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

Weekly Goals:

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

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

Daily Goals:

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

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for September? I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! Congrats to August’s winner, Alaina Monts!

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

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

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

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

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

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

God gave us a big Bible because He loves us.

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

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

The Write the Word journal is unique. Each day, you’ll get a selection of key verses to write out (the “write the Word” part!), along with space to write your thoughts, prayers, or anything else God places on your heart. These journals were created with the big picture of God’s story in mind, helping to point you to places in the Bible that will help you to know His heart in direct and deeper ways.

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

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

write the word all seasons collection 2017

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

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

Write the Word // Cultivate Faith contains a selection of scripture that is fundamental to faith, making this volume a perfect gift for someone who is new to their faith or looking to cultivate a fresh or renewed faith. If you are doing the journals in order, start here!

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

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

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

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

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

How to Write the Word:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHOP THE ENTIRE WRITE THE WORD COLLECTION HERE

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

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

 

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

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

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

On my blog in July:

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

On the Cultivate Blog:

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

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

My July Goals Progress:

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

Grace in our secret garden 🙂

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

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

Here are my PowerSheets goals for August:

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

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

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

June daily goals:

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

August Goals

Lara Casey blog - august powersheets tending list goals20
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Lara Casey blog - august powersheets tending list goals19
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Lara Casey blog - august powersheets tending list goals12
Lara Casey blog - august powersheets tending list goals14

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

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for August? I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters shop. I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! Congrats to July’s winner, Kylee Merritt!

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

Today, I want to talk about change.


Change–even good change–can be uncomfortable.

Change is hard.
Transitions are hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a transition or something new ahead?

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

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

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

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

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

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

I interviewed Korie Robertson, mom to six and author of Strong and Kind, about embracing change and cultivating strong families. Get the live replay for free here!

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The Making Things Happen Conference began in 2009 after I posted a blog entry answering a question I’d been emailed. I was running Southern Weddings magazine, doing brand consulting, and producing high-end weddings (wow, how life has changed since then!), and the woman who emailed wanted to know, “How do you make things happen, Lara?”

At the time, having your own “creative business” was not commonplace. In fact, it was in many ways, looked down upon to step outside the bounds of the corporate world to pave your own path. If you didn’t have formal training in something, how could you pursue it as a career?

Making Things Happen

I fought these thoughts: How could I lead a team when I had no experience? How could I publish a magazine without a degree in journalism or business? How could I succeed on mere passion and gusto?

The truth is, I couldn’t. But, I’ll get to that part of the story in a minute.

I replied to the woman and asked her if it would be okay if I blogged my answer so others could be encouraged too. As soon as I hit publish on the post “How to Make Things Happen,” my life changed forever. Dozens of comments poured in. Emails. Texts. Calls. This post had struck a chord with people who were tired of feeling stuck. That first post grew quickly into a movement. A friend suggested I take these ideas on the road and teach them to people.

Emily Ley above at the very first Making Things Happen intensive in Watercolor, Florida, in 2009

Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler and I traveled all across the country doing the Making Things Happen Intensive together. We visited dozens of cities and made friends that are still strong to this day. It was an exciting time of helping people break down barriers and to do the things they’d always wanted to do.

Above: on tour in Atlanta in 2011

But, here’s where the story takes a turn.

I did all the things I wanted to do (at the time). I had a growing business. I was traveling and speaking and doing creative work. But, it came at a cost. I didn’t know how to balance it all. Even doing too much of a good thing is too much. My marriage was falling apart. I was working 24/7 at the expense of everything else. My work became my worth. You can read the whole story in my book, Make It Happen.

I couldn’t succeed on mere passion and gusto. I had to learn to make the right things happen. I began learning these truths:

Making things happen means knowing that you don’t have to do it all, be it all, or have it all.

Making things happen is about focusing on what MATTERS–on growing what lasts longer than you.

 

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Making things happen means learning to say NO to what is holding you back, and YES to your unique assignment–not someone else’s assignment.

Making things happen means making decisions that will get you to where you want to be when you’re 80 years old.

Making things happen means taking risks, taking action, and embracing tension.

Making things happen – the right things – changes everything.

The 2015 Making Things Happen Conference where I first met my farmer-florist friend Erin Benzakein.

As I began learning these truths and living them, the Making Things Happen movement did an 180-degree turn too. We got off the road and turned the intensive into a two-day conference here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. But, the biggest change of all was teaching attendees to make the right things happen.

Everyone else was saying, “Do more! Be more!” And you know what? That was wearing everyone out. We began teaching something entirely different: do less. Do what matters.

Our 1000+ alumni have made dreams come to life, launched new businesses, left behind unfulfilling habits, transformed marriages and families, and helped thousands of other women live on purpose too. And it was out of this conference and my annual Goal Setting Series that an editor approached me about writing my first book, Make It Happen. This work was resonating with people. It was different.

The MTH Encouragement Crew!

Who is MTH for? This is where MTH is different from other conferences. You won’t be listening to a panel of speakers tell you how to do things; you’ll be led through a powerful process where YOU uncover good goals and make an action plan that fits your specific life and dreams. MTH is for everyone: love-at-home moms, corporate CEO’s, students, creatives, non-creatives, and everyone in between have joined us over the last nine years. Whether you know what you want to make happen and need an action plan, or you need help uncovering good goals, MTH is for you. And all ages join us: from college freshmen to women in their 60’s who are ready for a new chapter in life. The unifying factor is a desire to live intentionally and make the most of your time and gifts.

MTH is unlike any other conference. It’s like doing PowerSheets in person and meeting a group of women who think like you and will cheer you on in every step forward. Together, we uncover what matters to you and do 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 nine 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.

The March 2017 Conference at the Carolina Inn

I want you to join me in Chapel Hill on March 19 and 20th for our 52nd experience! This is the only conference I’ll be speaking at in 2018. Many of you have told me you’d love to go. Take the leap. I’ve been doing this conference for nine years and I believe in the work we are doing. Your gifts have a purpose and they were meant to be used!

The early-bird rate ($1000 off) ends December 31—or till we sell out—and we’ve sold out every conference. Since we are not doing a conference this coming fall (we’re launching the 10th-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings in November!), we fully expect to sell out for March.

Want to take a peek inside the conference? Take a look here. I can’t wait to see you there! GET YOUR SEAT NOW.

I’d love to hear from you: what do you want to make happen?

Yvette above at MTH 2015, doing what she did best: sharing her heart and passion for the good of others!

P.S. We’re giving away one scholarship seat in memory my long-time friend, Yvette Price, who embodied all that we teach at MTH. She was courageous in her battle with cancer and made what matters happen despite great challenges. She grew what would last longer than her: a whole lot of love and joy in the lives of others. In her honor, we’re excited to give away one seat to either an alum or new attendee. This scholarship is for the full ticket price not including travel or accommodations. Enter below to win the Yvette Price Scholarship by July 31st!

Big congratulations to Katie T. for winning the first Yvette Price Scholarship!

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