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

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

2017-Products-Onsale

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

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

Make It Happen Giveaway

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

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

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

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lara Casey signature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grace played with my hair that night, wrapping my curls around her fingers, putting bows in my locks, and simply wanting to touch my hair. Something clicked. I woke up and let it go again. And again. Each day, I felt more free. But, it wasn’t about a hairstyle, it was about letting go of what years of feeling rejected had done to me. It was about finally expressing gratitude for the way God created me. If I wanted Grace to live loved, I was going to have to show her how, and live it myself. I had to come undone.

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

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

More in my Facebook Live today.

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

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

Lara Casey garden

In my live faith class this week, I talked about Matthew 6:19-34. When I look back at last year, the number one thing I wasted time on was worry. Anyone else? This week, I was challenged by worry this week in three areas, and here’s how God helped me:

– Leading the Cultivating Faith live class on Wednesday. I battled worry about not saying the right things or people not being encouraged. / God brought to mind Moses. Y’all know I love some Moses. Moses wasn’t perfect—and he felt inadequate—and yet God used him. Thinking about God helping Moses gave me courage. I’m grateful many of you were encouraged by my imperfect story.

– We sent our 2017 products to print, and for reasons outside of our control, found out we’ll have to pay a silly amount on money to get them shipped to us on time for holiday orders. / God helped me see the big picture gain, not the short-term loss: ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.’ – Matthew 6:19-20  Getting the new PowerSheets into people’s hands and hearts will, Lord willing, help them cultivate what matters. While it’s painful to lose such a great sum, I hope it will help many gain what matters.

– I have many things to write and complete for work, and worried about not having time to do them. / God gave me peace about making little by little progress: ‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?’ – Matthew 6:27  What needs to get done will get done. I had a great call with my book editor yesterday, and she encouraged me that we’re on the right path with Cultivate. Much writing ahead, but this whole journey of starting over, and making imperfect progress, has been worth it.

LC Media Summer Shoot-RobynVanDyke-76

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

1. I was so grateful to teach a live Cultivate Your Faith class on Wednesday. Get a FREE replay of the live class, and my new 10 Simple Keys to Cultivating Faith e-book here!

2. I’m giving away some of my favorite faith tools, books, and resources.

3. This post about the difference between knowing about God and really knowing him is great, and rings true for my life. The difference: real risk.

4. I can’t recommend Nancy Ray’s Contentment Challenge enough. I did it in 2013, scared out of my mind to stop shopping for three months, and was so blessed by it that I kept going for a whole year. It was life-changing.

5. My short Facebook live with Grace this week was all sorts of real life.

6. My co-worker and friend, Amber Housley, is hosting a live webinar next week about getting the most out of creative conferences like Making Things Happen (a few seats left till we sell out!), and the Inspired Retreat. Register for free here.

7. My friend Em (who makes the Simplified Planner that we love and use daily!), texted me this yesterday. I cannot get enough of this boy.

8. Thank you, Jess Connolly, for speaking truth once again.

9. Love this podcast interview on the Influence Network from Present Over Perfect author, Shauna Niequist. I’m listening to the audio version of her book while I work today, and loving it. Am I the only one who loves hearing authors read their own books?

10. And lastly, a giggle for you. My husband snuck into the office.

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

Lara Casey signature

 

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Our marriage felt impossible to repair, so I tried fixing everything else. I would wake each morning thinking, What can I do, eat, or buy that will make me feel happy today?

– In the quest for a more organized life, I bought new pretty containers, planners, and pens.
– I loaded my shelves with books promising a formula for quick-fix happiness.
– Maybe getting fit would solve everything, so I purchased new running shoes and a gym membership.
– Perhaps more creativity would be the thing that brought me joy, so I got journals and craft supplies.
– When I felt emotionally drained, I reached to comfort food, social media, and shopping.
– I acquired new cookbooks, clothes, subscriptions, throw pillows, and plants.

Those poor plants. I’ve killed a lot of plants in my life.

But the most life-changing things in life aren’t things.

lara casey handwriting i need Jesus

God’s grace is real and it transforms our mess into rich growing ground.

To help you grow your faith, I’ve created a FREE Cultivating Faith E-book that you can get by signing up here. Inside, you’ll find a recording of my Cultivating Faith Live Webinar, where I share my story with you, my top 10 keys to rooted faith, Bible 101, and simple resources for growing a real relationship with God–no perfection required! You’ll also get free scripture cards to download, and much more. Yes, it’s FREE because this is what I needed back when I had no idea where to start. I hope it all encourages you. Feel free to share it with friends too!

And now for something I’m really excited about – The Cultivating Faith GIVEAWAY! Are you ready for this? Here’s what’s included:

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

1. A 2017 Prayer Journal from Val Marie Paper // Amy Campbell
2. Illustrated Faith Bible Journaling Kit by Shanna Noel // Morgan Dinecola
3. An 8×10 print from the NapTime Diaries Shop (soon to be Amen Paper Company!) // Lauren Ashbaugh Wilt
4. A copy of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope // Andi Justice
5. A copy of Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst // Ivana Andrews
6. A canvas from Lindsay Letters Shop // Britany Nobles
7. The Proverbs Study from SheReadsTruth // Veronica Hummel
8. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis // Krystal Brown
9. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin // Lisa Burger
10. An NIV Journaling Bible // Amanda Griffin
11. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis // Jenny Jones
12. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones // Glenda De Hoyos
13. A copy of Make It Happen by yours truly :) // Jennifer Kay Casey
14. A full collection of Write The Word from the Lara Casey Shop // Michelle Graybeal
15. A copy of the In The Wait study by Holly Holt // Karen Cottrell

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One of my favorite items in the giveaway are our Write the Word journals. We made this quick video for you this week to show you how I use mine!

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

There are 15 prizes, which means 15 chances for you to win! Your odds are good. Giveaway ends August 31st. Winners will be announced on September 1st here on the blog, so be sure to come back and check to see if you won! Shipping some of these items can get costly, so hard goods are for US entrants only. If you don’t claim your prize within 48 hours, another winner will be selected, so mark your planners and stay posted! : ) 

 

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