Summer is full of possibilities: activities, adventures, outings, people to spend time with and places to go. We want our summers to be fun and meaningful, but where do we invest the little time and resources we have before we blink and school has started again?

You can plan your summer, or it can plan you.

But, here’s the thing: my favorite summer memories were simple: spending all day outside, playing in the sprinklers with my brother, telling stories on the porch, eating peaches and spotting fireflies as the sun went down. Think back to your childhood: what summer memories stand out to you? And more importantly–what did those experiences grow in you?

We sometimes think of summer as a time to let go and check out, but what if this is your season to check in and dig into what is most important to you?

If you’re ready to dig in, here’s a little behind-the-scenes look at our new Summer Goals Collection. We’ve been working on these new tools and resources for a year and we’re so happy to finally get these tools in hands across the world today!

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But, first, you should know this: you don’t need to buy any of these things to have an intentional summer–or an intentional life. They will help you do those things, but this post isn’t about selling you products. I hope, regardless of what tools you use or have, this post inspires you to get out there and do something about what matters to you–with what you have!

Okay, let’s dig in…

There’s nothing magical about January 1st. Why not start fresh with your goals today? Really. I’m actually asking you and I want to know your answer: why not today? What has been holding you back? (Let me know in the comments and I would love to personally encourage you right where you are.) Some truth: good goals are about cultivating what you’ve been given well–your time, resources, and relationships. Good goals are not about striving and doing something just because “everyone else” is doing it, or because you feel like you should. Let’s throw out the “should’s” for a minute and think about your unique assignment here on this earth. Have no idea what that is? Does it feel far away? I hear you. It’s really hard to hear the truth in all the noise and distractions. This is why I created these goal uncovering workbooks because I got tired of wasting my time lost in the noise. I wanted to direct my energy where it mattered.

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This first one isn’t new to our shop, but it might be new to you. PowerSheets help you uncover good goals and do something about them. We’re nearing the half-way point of the year, so it’s a perfect time to start a new set of undated six-month PowerSheets.

The Six-Month PowerSheets Workbooks are undated which means you can start as soon as you get them. Choose from Pink, White, or Teal, and we have gold foil Monthly Tab Stickers if you want to customize your tabs instead of writing the months in yourself. Join us in finishing the year strong with goals that are rooted in what’s important to you.

Fruitful-Friendship-Workbook

Over the past three years, I have loved walking through Fruitful Summer with you, encouraging you to cultivate meaningful friendships. Last year I shared that we were creating a Fruitful Summer magazine, and after dreaming and sketching, we decided to make a hybrid magazine + workbook. The NEW Fruitful Friendship Workbook is part inspiring (to help you think in a new way) and practical (to help you put it into practice). It will equip and encourage you to dig into community right where you are–no perfection or perfect track-record required.

The Fruitful Friendship Workbook is larger in size than our other goal guides (it’s the same height and width of the PowerSheets so you have lots of room to write!) and is thicker than our Couple’s and Parent’s Goal Guides too. This is going to be tucked in my bag all summer for reading and working through each page and prompt. Side note: this is a GREAT workbook to use in a small group or group of friends to do alongside each other. If any local folks want to join me and do this workbook together, let me know! Gather your friends, put a post up to invite new friends in your area–get out there and let’s come together to make meaningful friendships happen. Don’t wait for the invitation, though, friends–be the invitation. I’m excited!

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The PowerSheets Goal Guide for Parents will also be tucked in my bag all summer. After receiving numerous requests about how to set good, grace-filled goals as a family–and wanting a guide like this for my own family–we made it! This guide is will help you uncover your goals and what matters to your family. What do you think of Grace’s drawing of each of our family members? Sarah apparently has purple hair. ; )

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I don’t know about your gent, but Ari isn’t as into goal setting as I am. That’s code for: he’d rather do the dishes. But! He loved doing the PowerSheets Goal Guide for Couples with me–so much so that he has asked for several copies to give to work colleagues. We made it fun, easy (you could fill this out together in one sitting!), and impactful. This mini guide will help you uncover your shared goals and what matters to both of you. It’s great for married, dating, or engaged couples. Fill this little book out on a summer date night, on the porch one evening, all at once, or little by little.

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If last year’s Fruitful Summer product launch was any indicator, the new Cultivate What Matters Tanks will be a favorite! Our sizes are limited, so if you want to snag one, I recommend adding it to your cart quickly. This is the perfect tank for heading out on my morning walk with the kids or spending the afternoon in my garden.

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Craving connection this summer? I am. And I have a whole post coming next week about how to cultivate meaningful friendships. One easy way you can stay connected is through real mail. The Fruitful Summer Encouragement Postcard Set contain an assortment of 20 cards featuring fun summer sayings, fruity puns, and friendly messages. My personal favorite? You are the pineapple of my eye. And a tip: Pre-stamp these postcards when you get them (order stamps here) and you’ll be ready to pop them in the mail easily and quickly!

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We brainstormed a long list of phrases for our newest Mini Print collection, and it was tough to narrow it down to just three! Our three newest mini prints look great tacked onto a bulletin board for extra encouragement or slipped into a card as a small gift for a friend. In addition to the Take the Leap Gold Foil Mini Print pictured above, we have the What If Today Gold Foil Mini Print (mine and Nicole’s favorite) and the Little by Little Gold Foil Mini Print.

Fruitful Summer Bundle

Okay, want one of everything? Me too! Our Fruitful Summer Bundle has everything you need to cultivate what matters this summer! Set meaningful summer goals and grow meaningful friendships this season with our Six-Month Undated PowerSheets Workbook in White, Fruitful Friendship Workbook, Fruitful Summer Postcard Set, and Take the Leap Mini Print. If you already have a set of PowerSheets, this is a great opportunity to get a discounted set in this bundle to give to a friend! Summer goal setting is better with a buddy. There are only 200 of these bundles available today, so get yours while they last.

Also, Write the Word is back in stock (!!!), but we think we will sell out again by the end of the day. Since we opened pre-orders, most of our stock has been reserved. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Get your Write the Word collection and summer goals goodies today.

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I’m excited to do summer with you, friends! Remember, this isn’t about products, it’s about purpose. None of these great tools matter unless you DO something with them. Don’t wait to get started planning an intentional second half of the year. Start today. Start now. An easy place to begin? Tell me in the comments what you most want to cultivate this summer and I’ll share my thoughts too. Words have power, friends. Taking a leap of faith to share our dreams and hopes gives us the courage to take the first step. I can’t wait to cheer you on!

P.S. Join me next week for a free live Summer Goals class where I’ll give you my best tips for an intentional summer. I can’t wait to see you there!

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It’s my favorite time of year, friends: garden planting time! I’ve had so much fun digging in this year–perhaps more than ever. Every year I make my garden plans to be sure I have room for everything I want to grow. But, then I let go and have fun! On-the-spot creativity and pairing what I think will look best and grow well together brings the garden to life.

Plans are important.
Forethought is vital.
But at some point you have to move from planning to planting.

Laying an intentional foundation can give way to freedom and creativity, and a different kind of joy if you are willing to let go. Letting go is hard, but that’s where the good stuff grows: in surrender. In believing in what you can’t yet see.

Forethought can give you a foundation on which to have the freedom to flourish. (That was a lot of “f”‘s, but I like it!)

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We went to the Carrboro Farmer’s Market’s annual seedling giveaway on Saturday. Local farmers donate seedlings for kids to take home and the kids write a thank you note to the farmer who grew their seedling–isn’t that fun!? Grace picked out a pair of white sunflowers and a Sungold tomato.

Lara Casey May Goals7At our local Southern States buying Gracie’s favorite marigolds and we bought lots of dirt for a special secret project we’re working on with Gardeners.com! Stay tuned. : ) 

April was full of hard work and planning, and May is already shaping up to be a month of planting–taking action, digging in, taking risks, and cultivating what matters. Here’s a recap of April and my PowerSheets goals for May are below too.

My April PowerSheets progress:

– Celebrate Southern Weddings’ birthday. This was a sweet celebration week, but perhaps the very best celebration was when Lisa came to the office a couple weeks ago. We sat around the table together and shared memories and gratitude and lots and lots of tears as we prepared to say “farewell” to her after four amazing years. Thankfully she still lives right down the road though and her impact on our lives has deep roots that are here to stay. We love you so much, Lisa! Read more about Lisa’s farewell here.
– Lay a firm foundation for the budget. We made progress! Ari and I started setting up our EveryDollar budget over the weekend.
– Celebrate Passover (my favorite holiday!). Yes, this was wonderful. Ari led a great seder for about 40 people at church and my faith was built!
– Create a new frequent date night schedule. Thanks to my amazing friend Joslyn, we had a great date night last month. We hope to increase the frequency to once every two weeks.
– Prayerfully hire our new team members. This is still in progress, but great progress had been made.
– Plant our garden! Yes! You may have seen on Instagram stories last week that I have a “secret garden” project in the works. I’ll keep you posted here and here on the blog.
– Record the audiobook for Cultivate and prepare well for the launch ahead. This was so good, praise Him! What a wonderful experience. I’m so grateful!
– Prayerful spring product launch – Yes! Write the Word sold out much faster than we expected. A new shipment will be here in a few days, but I highly recommend reserving your copy here.
Team Summit prep: Yes! This has been the center of my focus the last couple weeks. I’d read books, written several presentations, and prayed so much over this week. Our team summit starts tomorrow and I am so excited to learn and grow alongside my team. Follow along on my IG stories this week.
– Host a meaningful Cultivating Faith webinar next week with Shanna Noel – Yes! Catch the replay here.
- Take my workouts to the next level. Yes – we finally got bikes, and I joined Ari for a class at his gym last week too.
- Lord willing, start leading our family group again. We are not leading a family group now–instead, another couple is taking the lead. I’m excited about this and grateful. With all the kids, it was a bit overambitious to think about leading anything new in this season.
- Pray impossible prayers and be open to new possibilities. This happened a little, and this is one of my biggest priorities for May.

Lara Casey May Goals1Those snapdragons totally surprised me. I planted them from seed (get them here) last summer and had no idea they would winter over and look so good now. What a treat!

My monthly PowerSheets goals for May:

Lara Casey May Goals3To help me wrap my brain around all the writing I have ahead this month, I wrote it all out on PostIt’s and added them to my PowerSheets.

– Plant the garden. We’re close to done here. I’m waiting to see how the pansies hold up in the heat over the next couple weeks. Once they start to fade, they’ll get replaced with lots of zinnias!
– Cultivate book launch prep. The book launches next month! (And typing that just gave me all the butterflies.) I’m nervous to release this book because I’m sharing parts of our story I’ve never shared before and I pray these pages help many people to cultivate what matters with Him. Pre-order Cultivate here. (Pre-ordering is so helpful to ensure retailers have enough books in stock on launch day. I am so grateful for the many friends who have already reserved their copies.)
– Create the budget with Ari. The next step is committing to our budget numbers and goals. We plan to make more progress this coming weekend while the babies nap.
– Lead a refreshing team summit. Hooray for the Team Summit starting tomorrow!
– Prayerfully launch summer products. I can’t wait to share them next week! The Summer Collection launches at 10 am EST on May 9th!
– Implement new team meeting structure. More on this to come after our Team Summit.
– Create a new date night plan.
(Goal I can’t share just yet, but I will in two weeks.)
- Pray impossible prayers and be open to new possibilities. This is one of my biggest priorities for May.

Lara Casey May Goals5Peonies and PJ’s in the community garden this morning.

May weekly goals:
– Sabbath – lifegiving weekends.
– Meaningful God connection with Ari. I’ve had this on my tending list all year, but I added “God” to this and it has already helped us so much. It’s not just about connecting; it’s about connecting in the Spirit. We had some great conversations this weekend about what God is growing in us.
Write the Word : ) This, my friends, is my solution to the afternoon Word refresh I’ve been craving! Yahoo!

May daily goals:
– Read my chronological Bible reading plan
– #RunLiftPraise
– Eat more raw foods.
– Be active in my work day. Nicole and I are giving a presentation on workplace fitness this week!
– Pray through my prayer journal.

Lara Casey May Goals2Grace and I have gotten on a Garden Answer video kick, and made a new fairy garden this weekend! I love it–and her. : )  

Your turn! I’d love to hear: Do you have goals for May? 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 April’s winner, Alexandra Keen. Alexandra and I go to church together, so I’ll bring your goodies to you this weekend, friend! : ) 

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What a week, friends! So much is happening here behind the scenes with products launching soon, babies being announced (!), shoots, team retreat prep, and I recorded the audiobook for Cultivate. Giving voice to these pages was a gift. I laughed, I cried, and at one point I broke out into song. I couldn’t help it. I am so grateful for the imperfect journey of the last two years and for His transforming grace in our lives. I can’t wait to share the printed version and the audio with you on June 27th! You can see the book film and preorder here.

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Blooms from the garden that we picked for a shoot last week. I love them all so much!

A few things for your weekend and to help you make little by little progress on what matters:

1. Grow fresh faith. I loved the Cultivate Fresh Faith webinar with Shanna Noel! In leading this webinar alongside her, I learned so much! Do you need a fresh start (or a first start) with faith? Have you tried Bible journaling? Do you feel lost on how to dig into the Bible? Watch the free replay here where I share my 10 Keys to Cultivating Fresh Faith, with lots of inspiration from Shanna along the way.

2. Play in the dirt. I shared some tips for Gardening with Kids on the City Mom’s blog here.

3. Build a house next to your BFF. Okay, this is not so realistic, but fun to dream about. Have you heard of Bestie Row?

4. Make what matters happen. My friend Emily shared a great peek into the Making Things Happen experience with lots of great takeaways that will encourage you right where you are.

5. Refresh your goals. We got the new shipment of PowerSheets in stock a lot earlier than expected, which I know a lot of you are excited about! If you just got your PowerSheets, here are some great tips on what to do next. I’m excited for you!

6. Fall in love. We’ve been chatting about these 36 questions here in the office. Have you tried them? My favorite part is the idea of staring into the other person’s eyes for four minutes at the end!

7. Come visit! I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which is part of what’s called “The Triangle” of cities: Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham. If you ever come visit, Emily posted a great Durham city guide this week. I also just love her blog in general (not just because I’ve worked alongside her for 8 years!) and read it weekly. Highly recommend.

8. Say hi. Where are you from? I’d love to get to know you more here.

9. Write the Word. We sold out of the new Write the Word collections a lot faster than expected. But, the great news is that we will have another small batch of journals in two weeks. I highly recommend reserving yours here. Our next shipment after that won’t come till late summer. We have been blown away by the response to the new collection and I’m so grateful to see so many getting directly into the Word with these new journals!

10. Grow your garden. I’m about to dig in over the next couple weeks, planting our spring and summer garden. Read my Gardening 101 series here, and join me LIVE on Facebook this coming Wednesday, April 26th, at noon EST where I’ll be sharing lots of Gardening 101 tips and answering your questions. Mark your planners–I hope to see you on Wednesday!

Till then, have a great weekend and a great start to the new week ahead, friends!

Grateful for you,

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

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

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

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We sold out of the previous Write the Word journals in December, and have been working on this new collection for almost two years! Remember back when I mentioned some exciting new products we really wanted to release, but intentionally decided at the time to grow slow? I was talking about this collection, and I’m so grateful we chose to wait till this very week to share them. The wait has been worth it!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 SPRING FAITH 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!

P.S. Join me for a free Cultivate Your Faith live webinar with Illustrated Faith founder, Shanna Noel!

 

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For a long time I thought, “Maybe I’m not good enough or reading my Bible enough, or mature enough as a Christian. Maybe I’ve been too bad. Maybe I’ve messed up too much. Maybe God just isn’t listening.” I felt like I didn’t get it and I never would.

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Then God showed me that faith is not about my ability to perform. I don’t have to be perfect to have it. I don’t have to have grown up in church (I didn’t), or have done all the right things (didn’t do that either), or have quiet time every day (mine is pretty loud!).

The “Good News” is really good. We don’t deserve His grace and He gives it to us freely.

– Maybe you have no idea where to even begin with faith, and it all feels overwhelming.
– Maybe you’ve been at this faith thing for years, but you feel like something is missing.
– Or maybe things are great, and you just want to keep the momentum going.

IMG_9287Bible journaling beautifulness from my friend and coworker Amber!

Wherever you are, join me for a live broadcast about cultivating fresh faith with Illustrated Faith founder, Shanna Noel. Join us (invite your friends, small group, and co-workers too!) on April 12th at 12 pm EST for a FREE Cultivating Faith Webinar. Shanna and I will be talking about cultivating faith, Bible journaling, how writing the Word can transform your faith, and how to dig into the Bible in fresh ways. I’ll also be revealing the NEW collection of Write the Word journals live on camera with you. I can’t wait for you to see all five (!!!) of them! If you’re clicking over to the post after the live broadcast or can’t make it at noon, register and you’ll be able to catch the free replay here too when we’re done!

P.S. Want to win one of the first full sets of the new Write the Word journals? Simply register for the webinar and leave a comment here telling me your favorite Bible verse or story. I’ll leave my answer in the comments too. And I’ll announce the winner during the live broadcast on Wednesday. HOORAY!!!

P.P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts here.

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