Category: Motivation

The 2018 PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner releases one week from today, and what I’m about to say may make you do a double-take:

You don’t need PowerSheets to cultivate what matters.

Have they helped thousands of women? Yes.
Are the 2018 editions our best yet? Most definitely.
Do I believe that they will help you uncover and make progress on your goals? Yes, but you technically don’t need any thing to live intentionally.

There’s something you need before you even consider uncovering goals with the PowerSheets: one essential truth.

Want to know the rock-solid truth that I think we lose sight of most often?

We were created for a purpose.

Do you believe that? (And if you don’t, I’m so glad you’re here with me right now!) You see, there’s this thing that can happen when we look at other people’s lives, other people’s dreams, other people’s relationships or smarts or progress: comparison.

Comparison knocks us from “I have a purpose” to “I’m not as good as _____, so how can I have a purpose??”
Comparison is the greatest killer of contentment.
Comparison isn’t just the thief of joy, it’s the thief of everything.

My friend, if the Lord takes me home tomorrow, and this is the last note I ever get to type to you, I hope you let these words take root:

Don’t let comparison keep you from doing your life and your unique path.

You’re not “just” a stay at home mom (and let’s be real – there’s no “staying” when you’re a mom!).
You’re not “just” a student.
You’re not “just” an empty-nester.
You’re not “just” a ______ (fill in whatever it is you’ve caught yourself feeling lately).

You’re YOU.
Marvelous, wonderful you!

Your goals matter enough to cultivate them–growing them over time as you take small steps forward (and some big leaps along the way, too). Your cultivated life matters enough to tend it like a garden and trust that each effort invested will add up.

I’m a real person typing this to you. I’m not perfect. And yet, I know for sure I have a purpose. Do I sometimes lose sight of that? Yes! But that’s why I believe we were connected together–to keep each other holding on to the truth that what we do here together on this earth matters.

If you do choose to use the 2018 PowerSheets alongside me this year, I hope you live out these words and don’t let comparison distract you from getting after this life. And in the times you forget, I’ll happily remind you that living your unique purpose is about cultivating what you’ve been given (what you already have!): your relationships, your money, your work, your home, your health, and your time.

Everyone else is going to tell you to do it all, to be it all, and to do life like all those other people.

I’m not.

The most radical thing we can do is consistently walk our own unique path.
It’s okay to grow slow.
And failure is just fertilizer.

Have you struggled with comparison or saying “I’m just a ____?” I’d love to hear from you. And I’m so grateful to walk this path alongside you!

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The collection officially releases to our Cultivate Shop next Wednesday, October 25 at 10 am Eastern.

It’s here!!! Download our 2018 PowerSheets and Accessories Guide now to see all the details (and new products!).

And here’s a replay of the 2018 product reveal!

 

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In this new season, these 5 reminders are keeping me moving in the right direction. Maybe you need one of them—or all five today, too!

1. Peonies grow through the dirt, and so do we. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do or start, but you haven’t made progress yet, consider this: are you afraid to get your hands dirty? If we can’t do something perfectly from the start, many times we don’t even give it a try, am I right? Here’s the truth: to grow flowers, you have to get your hands dirty. Making a mess doesn’t mean you become one. Read more in these free downloadable chapters from my latest book, Cultivate.

2. Little steps add up. They really do. I haven’t made perfect progress on my number one goal this year, but I have made little by little progress. I am on track to finish my goal by the end of this year! Embracing imperfect progress helps us not completely give up when things don’t go as planned. My little-by-little steps forward (even with a few steps back) are adding up.

3. It’s okay to grow slow. In fact, it’s good to grow slow. Think about it: do you plant a seed and expect to get a full-grown tree the next morning? We do that, don’t we? 🙂 We want overnight results but that often leaves us with shallow–or non-existent–roots. Good things grow slow: babies, trees, meaningful relationships, and big dreams.

4. Change can be hard, but consider something crazy: it might be good!

5. Finally, the words I wrote late one night in my kitchen about wanting to finally read the Bible from start to finish:

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do?

You should go do them.

P.S. Tomorrow, tomorrow! See you at 3.

Photos in the garden by my best friend Gina 🙂

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UPDATED: The 2017 PowerSheets are SOLD OUT! I’m so excited for all of you who will be getting your first set. We’ll be devoting the month of July to helping you dig into them, so stay tuned to the Cultivate Instagram feed for lots of tips and resources coming up.

Want to know one of my top life tips?

Ask questions and be open to unexpected answers.

Think about it. How did you learn about the things you love most? You asked questions. You sought answers. When we stop asking questions, we stop growing. I love the questions you all have been asking me lately.

The top three questions I get asked:

1. How do you begin to figure out what your goals/passions are?
2. How do you overcome the fear of failing in your goals?
3. How do you stay motivated?

I created the PowerSheets goal planner because I kept asking those questions too. They are my safe space to get messy and dream and pray get outside of my comfort zone. They are the place I uncover goals that motivate me, how I prioritize, and how I take action.

Lara Casey June PowerSheets mid year goal settingMy goals and progress for June so far.

And that fear of failing? It doesn’t magically go away. Even better: your good goals become more important than your fear.

Lara Casey PowerSheets goals midyearAfter I did my mid-year goal refresh in my PowerSheets, I put my refreshed quarterly goals up on my bulletin board so I always see my priorities.

This might be crazy, but in an attempt to help a whole lot of people finally do the things they have always wanted to do–whether in motherhood, business, marriage, a career, or in cultivating what you have right where you are–I have a surprise for you:

The six-month undated PowerSheets are on SALE for $25! (regularly $40)

As of me typing this, we are already sold out of Teal, but we have a few Pink and White left. Once these are gone, this is it until the 2018 release! I shared my goal progress from the last six months on Facebook live today and answered some great questions. Listen in…

It’s time.
Time to do the things that have been burning on your heart.
Time to dig in, right where you are with what you have
July 1 could be your January 1, my friend.

Get yours now.

PowerSheets Goal Planner 6 month sets

I’m excited for you!

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I used to believe that gardening was a gentle hobby for those who had more time on their hands. Well, I was wrong. So very wrong. Don’t ever let anyone try to tell you that gardening isn’t hard work!

Last weekend, I tilled up one of our garden beds with a cute helper who had a very practical broom as his garden tool of choice.

lara casey garden cultivate book blog

After two hours of shoveling, pulling, hauling dirt and manure, and pruning trees, I had to lay down and watch Daniel Tiger with my three little garden helpers!

Tilling the hard ground of winter in my garden each year leaves me sore the next morning—a good kind of sore that reminds me I woke up some muscles that had been dormant and made some progress in that dirt. It’s the same with our lives. Confronting what’s holding us back–pulling the lies out of the ground and digging into truth–takes some muscle.  The act of digging into what feels messy or broken may feel challenging or uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to grow new things. The hard work of cultivating will be worth it.

Lara Casey garden

In my upcoming book, Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life, I confront 10 common lies we believe (sometimes unknowingly). I use my story and the lessons I’ve learned in the garden to give each one a strong dose of truth. Life is too short and too valuable to waste it telling ourselves (or listening to) lies about who we are, or what we can or cannot do. So, let’s expose them and bring them into the light where we can do something about them!

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Here are the 10 Life-Sucking Lies and 10 Life-Giving Truths from Cultivate. As you read each one, mark in your mind which stands out to you the most:

Lie 1: I have to do it all.
Truth: I can’t do it all and do it well.
Cultivators pay attention to what matters.

Lie 2: I have to be perfect.
Truth: It’s in the imperfect that things grow.
Cultivators dig into the season they’re in.

Lie 3: My life needs to look like everyone else’s.
Truth: I have a life to grow that is as unique as I am.
Cultivators think big picture to uncover their unique path.

Lie 4: It’s impossible to start fresh or move forward.
Truth: I can move forward by digging in and breaking up the lies.
Cultivators nourish their soil with truth and let God redeem their dirt.

Lie 5: I have to know all the details of the path ahead.
Truth: Forethought is important, but faith is essential.
Cultivators have faith, believing in what they can’t yet see.

Lie 6: Waiting is not good or productive.
Truth: Waiting is a time of ripening.
Cultivators ripen in the wait.

Lie 7: Small steps don’t make a difference.
Truth: Little-by-little progress adds up.
Cultivators tend to what matters, embracing little-by-little progress.

Lie 8: I will be content when I have it all.
Truth: I will be content when I live grateful.
Cultivators intentionally savor the fruit.

Lie 9: I can do life by myself.
Truth: I need meaningful relationships.
Cultivators embrace awkward and grow in community.

Lie 10: The past isn’t valuable; it’s all about the future.
Truth: Remembering God’s faithfulness helps us cultivate a meaningful legacy.
Cultivators preserve what matters for future seasons, and future generations.

I’d love to hear from you! Which lie and which truth stood out to you the most?

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To help you break up the lies that have been holding you back lately, I have something for you today. I am admittedly nervous to share this! If you’ve been following my book writing journey over the last two years, you know it has been one of imperfect progress. I wrote Cultivate in the thick of one of the hardest seasons of my life and even had to start over half-way through the process. But, like working in my garden, all of this hard work and digging in was worth it. I’m grateful for how my journey has changed me (and our family!) and I hope this free preview of Cultivate encourages you to grow right where you’ve been planted. Download the first pages of Cultivate (for free) by entering your email below.

If those first pages encourage you, I would be so grateful if you would consider pre-ordering your copy of Cultivate here. This is so helpful for retailers to have enough copies in stock on launch day. Thank you in advance for pre-ordering! As a thank you, if you pre-order the book before the release day on June 27th, you’ll get these amazing pre-order bonuses. Claim your bonuses here.

Cultivate-Preorder-8

And lastly, thank you. Thank you for encouraging me on this journey. I am so grateful for you, friends!

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I have a treat–and a first–for you today, friends!

In my upcoming book, Cultivate, I share something I have learned in the garden: “I always thought it was unattainable, this elusive thing called “balance.” But as I’ve observed my garden over the years, I have noticed something. In the seasons, we find balance. The seasons allow my garden to rest and grow at just the right times, and it’s the same with our lives. The seasons teach us how to do life well, revealing a life-giving rhythm: we flourish through intentional periods of stillness, growth, hard work, and rest. We need this rhythm in our days, in our weeks, and in our everything.” – Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional LifeAnd challenging seasons–seasons of doubt, grief, transition, and waiting–can become unexpected gifts.

My friend, Elizabeth Thompson, was a prayer warrior and great encouragement as I wrote Cultivate right in the middle of one of the hardest seasons of my life. I’ve known Elizabeth for many years and her husband played a part in helping Ari grow his faith. She also happens to be an incredible writer, and after reading her new book, When God Says “Wait,” I knew you would be blessed by her too. So, here’s a first on my twelve-year-old blog: a guest post!

cultivate-book-text-lara-casey

My seven-year-old holds up an apple core, eyes shining. “Mommy, I have decided to be a farmer.”

I raise an amused eyebrow. “Oh really?”

“Yes!” She is breathless with excitement. “I’m going to plant the seeds I got out of my apple”—she opens her palm, revealing a pile of shiny brown seeds—“and they are going to grow into trees so we can eat free apples and save money.”

I swallow my skepticism—Can you actually grow apple trees from seeds taken directly from an apple? Don’t they have to pass through a bird’s digestive tract or something disgusting like that?—and try to mirror her enthusiasm: “Oh, that sounds great, Sweetie! Let’s plant them in the pots out back.” But even as I speak, my heart gives a painful squeeze, because first: She knows I’ve been worried about money and she’s trying to help. And then: Please God let these seeds grow. I’d hate to see her disappointed.

So we head outside and Little Farmer presses her seeds into three pots on our back deck. And then we wait. And wait. And wait some more.

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Meanwhile, life is happy but hard. We—my preacher husband, four young kids and I—are alone in a new town. We are struggling to start a church, find friends, forge a new life from nothing. Money is tight. The kids always sick. The rental house mildewy.

I feel stuck on pause, waiting to feel less lonely. Less inadequate. Less homesick. I’m waiting for life to change. Get better. Get easier. I pray, I read, I do my part—as much as I can figure out my part, anyway—and I wait for God to do His. I know He’s planted us here, I know He is doing things in us, growing things in us, but most days it’s hard to see.

Still the little apple seeds rest underground, hidden from view, and Little Farmer starts to get anxious: “Are my seeds growing? Is anything happening?” The first week, she keeps plucking the seeds out of the dirt to check their progress.

“Honey, you can’t take the seeds out once they’re planted,” I tell her, laughing. “They can’t grow if you keep bothering them. Seeds need time.”

Time.

Seeds need time.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/sweetlarafeb2017

The lesson hits me hard. I’m not sure if I want to laugh or cry.

God has uprooted me and my family and planted us in unfamiliar soil. He has initiated several beginnings in our lives—new church, new friendships, new baby, fast-growing kids, slow-growing careers—but right now there’s no evidence of growth.

Like my daughter, I’ve been impatient. I keep digging in the dirt, yanking up these seeds God has planted, holding them up to the light, scrutinizing them for sprouts, swelling, any sign of progress: Why are we still lonely? Why isn’t money getting easier? Why does my career feel stalled? Why is life so HARD?

But it’s too early yet. Whatever God is doing, it’s still small, still subtle, still internal—all invisible to the human eye. And I realize that the waiting, the inertia, the stalls, the in-between, it’s all part of God’s plan. Part of His process. I need to stop obsessing, stop trying to rush God’s methods. I need to stop pulling His seeds out of the dirt to study them. I need to relax and rest and let Him do His thing, as long as it takes.

And that’s not all. God hasn’t just planted seeds in my life—He has planted me. I myself am a seed. His seed. I am lying in the dark, covered in dirt. Waiting for God to reveal more of His plan, to grant relief and grace and growth to help us through this painful season. And a scripture springs to mind: “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John12:24).

My Little Farmer’s seeds need their time in the darkness. Their time to wait for death—the moment they cease becoming seeds so they can become something bigger. Something better. If they aren’t buried, if they don’t die, they’ll never be reborn. They’ll stay stuck—forever dormant, forever seeds.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/laramarch2017

But I’ve been fighting it, the burial, the darkness, the death. I want out. I want light. I want fruit. I don’t want to be an inconsequential seed facing death and change and transformation. In fact, I don’t want to be a seed at all—I want to go straight to being a tree, tall and impressive and fruitful.

But I’m not a tree yet—in fact, I’m not even a sprout. And there’s nothing I can do to skip all the steps between. There is a growth process, one God designed with infinite wisdom and care. Against my will, I realize, I have to trust His process.

And that means being okay with waiting.

It means being okay with burial, with periods of darkness and confusion. Times of frustration—I can’t find the guy, can’t catch a break, can’t get pregnant. Times of disappointment—I can’t find a friend, can’t conquer debt, can’t kick this weakness. Times of heartbreak—I can’t turn back time, can’t move back home, can’t bring back my little lost baby.

It means being okay with death—dying to my old ways, my own plans, my old self (Luke 9:23–25)—because one of these days, God will turn death to life.

One warm afternoon, my Little Farmer sprints into the house shrieking: “My seeds are growing, my seeds are growing!” The whole family rushes outside and sure enough, nine baby sprouts are nudging out of darkness, reaching for light.

The family cheers and I’m pretty sure God is having a chuckle at my expense. The little apple seeds have made it—survived their days in the dark, their first small death—and God, wise Designer, gentle Farmer, has called them forth. Brought life from death. The little seedlings have many difficulties ahead—autumn is coming, then winter and frost—but their first hurdle has been conquered. Their first wait has ended. And I know my time in the light is coming, too. I’m not sure when, but these seeds give me hope.

I don’t know what you are waiting for, what you are suffering through—growing through—but I pray you find comfort in these words. Hope. Even when we are suffocating in darkness, staring down death, we can take heart knowing that a good Farmer is watching over us.

In His time and with His help, we will see growth and hope and light again. If we’ll stop checking for progress and make peace with His process—more, if we can find comfort in the Farmer’s great love for us—then one day, like my Little Farmer’s seeds, we will unfurl from the dirt and stretch in the sun. We will laugh in His light. And the Farmer will continue to protect us, prune us, and nurture us until we grow tall and strong, bearing seeds and fruit of our own.

Whew!!! Friends! Didn’t that bless your socks off? Thank you, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Laing Thompson is the author of When God Says “Wait”: Navigating Life’s Detours and Delays Without Losing Your Faith, Your Friends, or Your Mind. She writes at LizzyLife.com about finding humor in holiness and hope in heartache. Elizabeth lives in North Carolina with her preacher husband and four spunky kids, and they were totally worth the wait. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Are you in a season of waiting? What is God teaching you in this season? What do you hope He will grow in you?

Photos in the garden by Gina Zeidler

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