Well, friends, it has been a long while since I did one of these Little by Little posts, and for good reasons. To cultivate what matters, we often have to let go of one thing to make room for another. I can’t do it all and do it well, but I can choose to focus on what God wants me to do in each season and circumstance. So, I let go of writing any words that weren’t being put in the pages of my book! : )

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After two years, many life changes, and starting over completely once (see the story here), my manuscript for Cultivate is done. PRAISE HIM!!!! Y’all know this was quite a journey, but God’s timing is always perfect. I needed to live out this story in order to write the words He wanted me to write. I am grateful for having to start over and for all the imperfect progress along the way! Here’s a little update on the last few weeks, and a peek at my new book cover

Here are ten things to help you cultivate what matters in the week ahead!

1.  Don’t microwave your goals. Most of the world tries to fit 2017 Goal Setting into the few days between Christmas and New Year’s. But, we aren’t going to squish intentional planning into those sometimes-family-filled days. As I mentioned in my last post about the Cultivate Interviews, we’re excited to announce that our first-ever PowerSheets Prep Week is next week! Join us for a week of preparing for 2017 with our best practical tips each day (follow Cultivate What Matters on Instagram), and I’ll be doing a live 2017 PowerSheets webinar on Wednesday. Sign up for free here. If you can’t make it live, do not miss getting the recording to watch later. This will be a quick broadcast packed with all our best PowerSheets prep tips from the last four years! Register here.

2. Cultivate a life-giving home. I had the joy of chatting with Sally Clarkson yesterday about cultivating a life-giving home, how to weather challenging seasons, and so much more. Sally is a wealth of wisdom! Catch the replay for free here, and be sure to join for my live interview with Renee Swope next Thursday at 11am EST too. Register here.

3. Read meaningful (and fun!) words. It can be challenging to find compelling books for Grace’s age (she just turned five a couple weeks ago) that are rooted in Biblical truth, and also fun to read as an adult. Adam Raccoon has become a new family favorite! Highly recommend.

4. Cultivate a year of prayer and hospitality. I’ve got a stack of mail sitting on my desk from this last month of being sick, and locking myself in my office to finish the book. Two things I can’t wait to dig into: Val Marie Paper’s 2017 yearly prayer journal, and the new Welcome Home Guestbook.

5. Know that it’s not too late. It’s not too late to start meaningful holiday traditions with your family this year—it’s only December 9th. We keep it simple around here! We celebrate the holidays that Jesus celebrated, like the feast of Dedication, also known as Hanukkah. It’s an awesome time to remember God’s faithfulness. We also celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas time. But, we do the tree (or trees!) a little differently than most people.

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We have a lot of fruit trees in our garden: two lemon, three orange, and two kumquat. In the winter, it gets too cold for the fruit trees to live inside, so we bring them into our house. There is no room for a traditional fir tree, and Josh and Sarah would end up eating it! So, instead of decorating a big Christmas tree, we decorate two of the smaller fruit trees that spend the winter on the dining room table.

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This year, two new things we are loving are Star from Afar and the Archer Advent journal (a Gracie favorite). Let me tell you, I cried when I opened the Star from Afar set that my friend Natalie sent us. She included a dark-skinned angel to represent Sarah’s birthmother watching over us. It is so special. We’ve had so much fun placing the star in different spots, and even Ari took the lead last night and wanted to hide it! It has helped us tell the story of Jesus to Grace. This will definitely become a long-standing Isaacson tradition.

penultimatefullsizerenderFinding the star this morning!

What are your holiday traditions? Does the idea of starting new traditions overwhelm you/excite you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I really enjoyed Emily’s post about this too.

6. Get still with God. Really. A personal holiday tradition is reading through the Amen Paper Company Advent Devotional. This was one of the most faith-centering things for me last year, and I’m grateful to be a part of this year’s devotional (day 8!) You can still get it as a digital PDF here, and it’s not too late to start.

7. Waste no time. Having sepsis was sobering for me in many ways. Among many things God taught me in that time was how my soul had become infected with an overload of junk too. So, I significantly cleared out my internet usage. I unsubscribed from all but three newsletters, installed Waste No Time and Newsfeed Eradicator (thank you, Diana, for telling me about this one!), and took a social media hiatus. Fasting from social media is always good for my soul. It helps me remember Whose voice I should be listening to. I’m grateful for the new freedom and joy I feel in these fresh boundaries!

8. Get your PowerSheets! Because people are often sad they miss the PowerSheets boat, I’m putting a reminder here for you! The last day to order PowerSheets for you or a loved one for Christmas delivery is next Thursday, December 15th.

img_6600My mom came to visit in November, and helped us plant our winter garden, including hundreds of pansies! : ) 

9. Shhhh…. this is a little surprise for you. We haven’t given a discount code for PowerSheets this year, but I am so grateful for the love and encouragement you all have given me. So, here’s a code for 15% off anything in the shop: THANKYOUFRIENDS. This code is only good till December 31st at midnight. We are getting close to sold out of the one year workbooks, and the six month undated sets will be back in stock in a couple weeks. Sticker books are also close to gone. Feel free to share this code privately with friends. A little inside info: our sold out pens are coming back next week in a special bundle! Stay tuned. Thank you so much again, friends. I am grateful for the last year here on the blog with you! *This code is only for new orders. I didn’t ask my team if I could do this discount code and I realllllly don’t want to create an email flood for Jess our customer service gal. So please know that this discount cannot be applied to orders placed previously. Thank you for honoring this special gift! If you already placed an order before seeing this, we are so grateful for your order and can’t wait for next week’s festivities with you! : )

fullsizerender_1-copyProof of God’s faithfulness above : ) I love her so much.

10. Raise your Ebenezer. These words from Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing have been ringing in my head and heart for the last four weeks:

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by thy help I come

Here I raise my hands in praise–here by Your great help I’ve come, Lord! This year, our family, living out the pages that became a book, and so much more—all praise to God for His faithfulness.

Here’s to a great rest of 2016, knowing that we don’t have to be perfect because He is!

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Friends, I have so much to update you on—life, book, and everything in between. I’ll be doing my 2017 PowerSheets next week during “PowerSheets Prep Week” (get excited – we have lots of fun planned to get us all ready for a great new year!), and I will update you then. For now, here’s something I am over-the-moon to share with you!

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In this last year of wrestling with the tension between motherhood and business, so much life change, and writing my book, these three women above greatly encouraged me. So, I asked each of them if they would share their wisdom with you too! To help us all get inspired for a meaningful new year ahead, I’m interviewing each of these women LIVE, starting with the incredible Sally Clarkson tomorrow at 11am EST.

These are free live webinars, and even if you can’t join live, register so you get the recordings. Get practical advice and inspiration, as well as the opportunity to ask these ladies your questions during our Q & A time.

Thursday, December 8th at 11am EST with Sally Clarkson. Sally is the best-selling author of The Life-Giving Home, a book about creating a place of belonging and becoming in your home. Register here.

Thursday, December 15th at 11am EST with Renee Swope. Renee is the best-selling author of A Confident Heart, a book that gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Register here.

Wednesday, December 21 at noon EST with Erin Benzakein. Erin is a farmer-florist at Floret Farms, author Cut Flower Garden that releases in March 2017, and floral workshop teacher. Register here.

If you aren’t able to join at the time of these live broadcasts, register and you’ll get the replays to watch at your convenience. So be sure to sign up for all three! See you tomorrow at 11am EST with Sally!

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What a year this has been. We adopted Sarah in February, experienced a lot of challenges, and I almost quit my business. It was a season of pruning, but good things grew from our hard season.

Our company and products have changed right along with us this year. And today is a big day! We officially switched our company name from Lara Casey Shop to Cultivate What Matters (here’s the story), and launched the 2017 PowerSheets.

Because of all we’ve been through together as a team, and in the walls of this home, these are the most simple, truth-filled, joyful products we’ve ever created.

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There are two options for you to choose from:

One-Year Dated Workbook – White cover with colored leaves that represent the four seasons. The One-Year has additional seasonal worksheets, is dated by month, and has two full pages of stickers.

Six-Month Undated Workbook – Three cover options: white, pink, or teal. We made these for the many people who find out about PowerSheets after the new year, or are finishing out a previous set.

Check out our frequently asked questions and visit our NEW SHOP for more.

If you are new to PowerSheets, they are like having a trusted guide. Imagine a coach who gives you a combination of grace and motivation. That’s this year’s PowerSheets. They will help you uncover purpose-filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen.

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Flowers from my garden above and the pen that Ari gave me for five-year anniversary.

The 2017 PowerSheets are for anyone—moms, students, creatives, entrepreneurs—who needs a grace-filled system that works! This is my sixth year using them myself, and our fourth year having them in the shop. Wow, they’ve changed so much since we started, and so have we! Join the tens of thousands of women who have changed their lives with PowerSheets and made what matters happen in their own lives.

2017-powersheets-cultivate-what-matters-4Those are my favorite jelly beans that the ladies I work with gave me for Boss’s Day this year : ) 

I hope you give these new 2017 PowerSheets a try, and that they help you grow what matters—what lasts. If you are a long-time PowerSheets user, you’ll open these pages to a whole lot of NEW.

A few of the many things that are new:

– Almost every page has been changed to reflect the changed heart of our company – more joy, more simple, more intentional, more fun!
– The tending list is perforated (Yay!)
– The One-Year workbook is smaller, more durable, and a full pound lighter
– New worksheets, new stickers, so much more!

ORDER HERE.

To celebrate our 2017 PowerSheets preorders, we’re launching the biggest giveaway we’ve ever hosted this year with our 2017 PowerSheets preorders! If you preorder your PowerSheets before November 15th, you’ll be entered to win one of our 10 prizes listed below! There are no extra steps; just purchase your PowerSheets before November 15th, and you’re automatically entered to win one of the following prizes:

  1. A free ticket to the Making Things Happen Conference in Chapel Hill, NC
  2. A goal-coaching call with me!
  3. A gift card from the Nancy Ray Shop
  4. Housecleaning and a copy of Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Uninvited.
  5. FitBit
  6. $100 Amazon gift card
  7. A fresh bouquet from FarmGirl Flowers
  8. Meal delivery from Hello Fresh
  9. A one-hour massage
  10. Seed packets from Floret Flowers

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We chose these prizes to help you cultivate what matters in the coming year, and to thank you for being part of the Cultivate What Matters family with us!

Here’s our live reveal video for more details…

and our THANK YOU video with more about how our launch went and what we’re most grateful for!

Ahhhh!!! I’m so excited to cultivate what matters alongside you, friends!

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Hi friends! Jess here :)

While Lara is working heartily on preparing for our 2017 PowerSheets preorder launch on November 1st, I wanted to pop in and personally invite you to what will be one of my favorite broadcasts for the year: our 2017 PowerSheets Reveal Party!

As the Customer Delight and Shop Manager for both the Southern Weddings Shop and Lara Casey Shop (soon to be the Cultivate Shop!), one of my favorite parts of my job is getting to chat with each of you on a daily basis! Whether it’s via email, social media or the telephone, I love hearing stories about how you are using PowerSheets to cultivate what matters in your own lives!

Your honesty, your bravery and your excitement leaves a genuine smile on my face each and every day, and it’s the best reminder for our team of why we do what we do! In fact, I love it so much that I’ve recently created a folder in my inbox entitled “Kind Words” where I file these stories away!

All that to say, Lara, Nicole and I are thrilled to be hosting a live 2017 PowerSheets Reveal Party this Thursday, October 27 at noon EST!

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We’ll be revealing our 2017 PowerSheets covers, giving you the inside scoop on what’s new in this year’s PowerSheets, and answering all your questions!

But this is about so much more than which cover you’ll choose or new PowerSheets accessories–our time together will be a celebration of everything that we (and yes, that includes you!) have accomplished in 2016, and a celebration for what is to come as we (yes, that still includes you!) enter this new season as the Cultivate team.

We hope that you will sign up to join us on Thursday at noon EST.

If you can’t watch live, that’s okay! Registering will give you access to the replay, and it will be an excellent resource for you to decide which PowerSheets Workbook you will purchase come Launch Day on November 1st!

We can’t wait to celebrate with you, and share why we wholeheartedly believe the 2017 PowerSheets are the best product we’ve created thus far.

We’re even planning to pull out the tambourines and ukulele for you to make this the best celebration yet!

Love,
Jess

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We sat in a team meeting, trying to come up with an answer to this question: How do we help people more often than just once a year with our annual print magazine?

Social media is great. Blogs are great. But, holding something in your hands is a different experience. It has the potential to become part of your everyday life.

That was a powerful realization for us. If we could get good words, and meaningful tools into people’s hands, maybe they would sink more deeply into their hearts. A domino effect of change could happen. Big change. World change, even. We are a tiny team, but we believe that what we have is good, and something the world needs: hope.

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Our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings was a landmark issue for us. My marriage had recently come back to life, and our theme for the issue followed-suit: love never fails. Long before there were thousands of shops offering prints (and this was just four years ago), we took what felt like a big risk and made a gold foil print of those words to match our issue: Love Never Fails. Our hope was that couples would hang it in their new homes together and remember what matters most. We quickly sold out, and people began to understand and live out those words.

A few months later, in the Lara Casey Shop, we released this print, and this desk card, with the same hope: inspire people to cultivate what matters. Help people shift their thinking from distractions, comparison, and lies we tell ourselves too often, to truth. Life-giving truth. We sold out again. Having meaningful words in people’s homes, tucked in lunch boxes, on desks, and written on family room walls, was doing something.

Over the years, we have done notepads, prints, water bottles, original artwork, T-shirts, desk cards, sketch books, and lots of prints with my handwriting. We were up for creating whatever was going to help people get truthful inspiration in their hands. And then, we took a big risk and released the first PowerSheets, hoping that these goal-uncovering worksheets, filled with thoughtful questions and prompts, would help people uncover good goals–and take action. Four years later, thousands of people from literally all over the world are continuing to cultivate what matters with them. From one woman losing 90lbs and taking back her health, to students finding direction in their paths, marriages being strengthened (praise Him!), businesses being launched, moms finding fresh contentment right where they are, people being able to better navigate seasons of transition, and the simple things in daily life being savored more intentionally, the impact was–and is–happening.

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But, two years ago, I started to feel restless. Like the feeling you get when your clothes don’t fit well. I had just gone through a miscarriage and we were beginning to pray about adoption. God was opening our hearts to things we never imagined. Lots of change was in motion in our family, and in our company, and some things didn’t match that heart change.

My website felt too flashy.

We were selling too many different products, which was a lot to manage.

And shop name felt too, well, about me.

We kept running into walls when we wanted to share more good words with the world. Using our Instagram name @LaraCaseyShop felt like we were selling things, even when we weren’t trying to at all. For instance, earlier this year, after I posted this about wanting to quit my business, and we started telling more of our new story, having the word “shop” in our Instagram name didn’t feel like the right home for what we were sharing. Now, don’t hear me say that having “shop” in your name is a bad thing. It’s not at all! This is just what we personally felt in these four walls with our specific story. For us, our name began to make us feel confined, like we had to talk about shop things since that’s what our name was. But, this shop wasn’t created to just sell stuff; it was created to help people. My friend Lindsay and I share a heartbeat. She recently did something similar with her company name and I love what she shared:

“I love making art. I love making it for me, for you, and for the Lord. I believe that He’s given me this gift to bless Him, others, and to steward well. So the solution cannot be quitting. The solution, it seems, is a mind-shift. The solution has to be found in perspective.”

She shifted her perspective from selling art to blessing others with art. And her shift has made a greater impact.

Is selling bad? No way Jose. I believe that God has given us tools and words to help change lives, and the money we make is a tool to help change lives too. We are given all these things to steward well. And for us, to steward what we’ve been given well, we came to the conclusion that we needed a new home to do it from. We wanted to break free of the title trap, and have a home that fit. We wanted to tell other people’s stories, too–YOUR stories. We wanted to simplify, live well, give big, and help you do the same. We wanted a home that was bigger than just a shop. Because we didn’t start this to run a shop; we started this to run this race of life well and help you do the same.

But, renaming a shop is a big deal. There was so much we’d have to change, and what would the new name be anyway???

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Here’s how this conversation went for all of us:

Well, “Cultivate” is our ideal choice. This word has defined the last few years for us. We’ve tilled up the soil, gotten our hands dirty, planted meaningful things, tended to them little by little, and in the last couple months we’ve started to see the fruit. We are cultivating what matters, and the intentional decisions—and little by little imperfect progress–has been worth it.

BUT! Someone else has that domain name, and someone else has the Instagram handle.

So, that’s out. If it’s not perfect, we shouldn’t do it.

Brick wall.

I prayed. We mulled. We discussed all kinds of other names. We slept on it (for about five months). But, Cultivate just wouldn’t let us go.

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And now I’m in tears typing this. I wasn’t at all expecting them, but I believe this is confirmation from the Lord, once again, that He is in this. This isn’t about a company name; it’s about our lives. Little by little, change has happened. Little by little, God has been teaching me to grow what matters, in whatever season I’m in, with what I have, and that I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.

‘So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow’ (1 Corinthians 3:7).

God’s three answers to prayer: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind. His answer to my prayers about our company name was a combo of not yet and I have something better in mind : ) When I let go of chasing “perfect,” I finally found freedom and truth. The name became abundantly clear.

In a meeting, I said it out loud:

Cultivate What Matters.

We all got still.

CultivateWhatMatters.com and CultivateWhatMatters on Instagram just happened to be open. Would it be easier to tell people Cultivate.com? Sure. But, that wasn’t God’s plan. And God’s plans are always better than ours.

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Because, you see, it’s not about just growing any old thing. It’s not about doing more or being more. It’s not about striving for perfect, or having it all together. It’s about growing the right things. It’s about growing what you’ve been given right where you are. It’s about growing what lasts longer than you. That’s what matters. And we want to help you get there.

My friend, Andrea, sent me this note a few months ago as I was in the beginning stages of writing my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases next May):

This past Sunday our pastor said something that made me think of you. His sermon was about work and how we serve the Lord through our work. One of his points was that we were designed for work. Work was part of God’s plan even before the curse of the fall. In discussing this he referenced Genesis 2:15 “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Then he pointed out that the Hebrew word used here as “cultivate” is `abad and that it is the same word used for “serve” in Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  This just really struck me and made me pause and think. I love the idea that the hard work we are doing in cultivating our faith, our lives, our businesses, our children is serving the Lord. I immediately thought of you and your work on Cultivate.

Yes.

That’s it.

Cultivating what matters means serving, blessing, giving, and finding deep contentment knowing you are right where you re supposed to be, mess and all. Flaws and all. Flowers grow through the dirt, and so do we, friends. And they don’t grow for themselves; they grow to bless others.

So, there you have it. Our new shop and company name is Cultivate What Matters, and we’re so grateful! In sharing this with you, we feel like we’re all coming home.

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What’s ahead and when this change will officially happen: In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching the 2017 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker books (these are arriving as I type these words—wait till you see them!), and most importantly, CultivateWhatMatters.com (right now it redirects to the PowerSheets site). The new site will be home to a new inspiration blog, goal accountability groups, live coaching, downloads, and much more. Along with the Cultivate What Matters site launch, we’ll be changing over our Instagram name and social info to match.

And more change to share today—the relaunch of this here website! : ) These past two years have been a season of transition and change, and the glitter and flashiness of the old homepage just wasn’t me anymore. We’ve simplified it and included new photographs thanks to my friend Amy (now that I’m embracing my curls and have a few more kiddos around the house!). On the new home page you’ll find three free guides on Goals, Faith, and Marriage, to equip and encourage you to live out the words of our soon-to-be new company name.

The blog has been revamped, too. I’ve been blogging every week for the last six months, and I wanted to be able to connect with you more easily. A mobile-friendly version of the blog has been needed for a while; no more zooming in to read things. We’ve also made it easier for you to interact in the comments by using your Facebook profile if you choose.

There’s more and a few surprises, but I’ll let you poke around to find them : ) And we know a bunch of stuff isn’t done and there are glitches we need to still fix, but we’re launching anyway!

More about our new company name and our changes on Facebook Live.

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There’s more to say and share, but in the name of done being better than perfect, I’ll end with this little prayer that’s on my heart right now:

Thank you, Lord. Oh, Lord, you are GOOD. I just took a big deep content breath. I feel You with us. May these changes, our work, and our imperfect words bring you joy. I’m so grateful for this change, what you are growing in all of our lives, and most of all, for Your transforming grace. AMEN

By His grace my marriage was redeemed.

By His grace we have helped women uncover clarity and direction—and found it ourselves too.

By His grace I am Grace, Josh, and Sarah‘s mom.

And now, by His grace, we share this story, and invite you to join us to Cultivate What Matters.

Thank you, friends, for all of your love and encouragement as we’ve travelled this journey!

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To celebrate, I’m giving away a set of our new Flair pens (for you to use to write meaningful words in lunchbox notes, post-its, in your PowerSheets, or wherever!), and five of our new sticker books that are full of colorful, and genuinely meaningful stickers for your planner, PowerSheets, or wherever you want to use them (for example: put down your phone, drink water, take a day off, rest, and many more). Tell me below: what do you want to cultivate in your life?

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