We get one shot at this life. We can waste it on things that are fleeting or we can GRAB THIS LIFE BY THE HORNS. This is not motivation. This is truth. If you’re reading this, you have breath. You have decisions in front of you. You can take huge leaps of faith to love, to give, and to spend yourself well or…. you fill in the blank.
You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.
What is that thing for you (and what has been holding you back from doing it)?
Need to get motivated, refresh your goals, or a get kick start? Catch the free replay of my one-hour Summer Goals webinar that will inspire and equip you. You’ll learn the top 10 keys to making good goals happen, practical tips, and ways to get–and stay—motivated. Best of all, this is grace-filled goal setting. No perfection, striving, or perfect track-record required. This powerful hour will help you focus on progress, not perfection.
And to encourage you in your summer goals and in making fruitful friendships, I have an amazing giveaway for you today. Are you ready for this?
The lucky winner will be selected at random. U.S. entrants only as shipping costs are prohibitive on some of these things. (Thank you to all my international friends for understanding! I wish I had a plane to come deliver these items to you myself!).
There is a magic about summer: the smell of blooming flowers in my garden, the taste of watermelon and fresh mint, the sound of kids playing in front yards and jumping through sprinklers, and the thrill of spotting fireflies as the sun goes down. Summer is nostalgic and refreshing because it’s a season of getting out there. It’s a season of connecting and community.
And it can be a season of loneliness.
We see the kids playing together, and we crave the same playful, free, joy-filled connection with our peers.
Are you feeling it?
I am. I feel a longing for new and deeper connections.
I’m in a season of little “extra” time and full hands. I am craving deeper friendships, but I also relish my time with Ari and the kids. So, what’s a girl to do?
I’ve been praying and thinking a lot about this, and here’s what I believe is the answer (that has me really excited, hopeful, and relieved!):
It’s not about us.
There’s someone out there that needs your friendship, more than you need hers. There’s someone out there who needs your specific story to intersect with hers. It’s not about what we need; it’s about loving others as we have been loved. Fruitful friendship is born from a connection with the Father who makes truly good fruit grow.
Here’s a little truth from my upcoming book,Cultivate, that will shed some light on this for us:
Good fruit is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). But here’s the thing we often miss: a life aimed at any one of these virtues will leave you chasing your tail because seeking to obtain the fruit of the Spirit isn’t the goal. Cultivating a meaningful life with God is the goal, and the fruit is the result. In order to live a truly fruitful life, we must seek God above all else. He is the Master Gardener who makes our lives fruitful.
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. —Psalm 92:12–13
Think about your life and honestly evaluate how you are spending your time, energy, and focus. Are there areas of your life or activities that you know you need to let God heal, change, or strengthen to become fruitful?
Stepping outside of our comfort zones to build meaningful connections could change not only our lives but other people’s lives too. Fruitful relationships aren’t about us; they are about something bigger than we are. The fruit of community is God Himself.
Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. —Proverbs 11:25
Want to know where to start growing fruitful friendships? Sometimes it’s less about hosting a gathering, and more about digging into what we’re wrestling with below the surface right where we are. Gathering together is important, but there’s a more powerful step that we often miss: connecting to the author of close connection and fruitful friendship–God Himself. Maybe for you, that means praying to ask for His help, forgiving someone who may be hard to forgive, saying we’re sorry, saying thank you, or taking a leap of faith to love someone in ridiculous big bold ways. For me it means, little by little, choosing God over my fruitless ways: forgiveness over bitterness, hope over despair, and imperfect over perfect. It means letting go of the friendship guilt and embracing the season I’m in.
There’s so much freedom to be found in standing on the ground we’ve been given–mess and all. And in letting others stand with us.
In writing this to you and letting these thoughts sink in deep, I let go of what I thought friendship had to look like. I flipped the script (and you can too). While I can’t get together with friends often, I can go deep with them when I see them, and I can pray like I would want to be prayed for. This season won’t last forever, and I’m grateful for what it’s teaching me:
Skip the fluff.
Love people right where they are, with what you have. No one needs me to be the hero of their story–they just need Him. I can give that to people.
What about you? How are you feeling about your friendships? Are you in a season of transition or restlessness too? I’d love to hear from you, right where you are.
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!
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.
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.
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 Workbookis 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!
The PowerSheets Goal Guide for Parentswill 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. ; )
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Now it’s time to learn how to make new traditions, celebrate each other, and cultivate community!
1. Name your summer traditions.
Traditions help us cultivate connection through meaningful shared experiences. Whether it’s something you’ve done before or a tradition you want to start, use the friendship traditions section in the NEW Fruitful Summer Workbook to make your traditions happen. Need some summer tradition ideas? Try making jam, picking berries, Taco Tuesday’s, a yearly getaway, a watermelon seed-spitting contest (that’s a real thing), camping (or camping in the living room like we did this summer), or simply eating dinner on the porch outside!
2. Celebrate what matters.
Cultivate a deeper connection by celebrating what’s important to your friend. Simple, but powerful, ask your friend her favorite holidays, her birthday, family traditions, and about special milestones she’s looking forward to. Mark them on your calendar so you remember to ask about them, prepare a gift, or celebrate alongside her. Intentionally celebrating what’s important in her life will help grow your bond for years to come. And celebrate your friendship too—“friendiversaries” are the best!
3. Shake on it!
Grace and I have a not-so-secret handshake. It ends by pointing at the one we love (seen below in action!). We do it every night before she goes to sleep, and it makes both of us giggle every time! This little tradition connects us together and makes her feel loved and special. Ari and I also have a handshake that we made up when we were dating. To this day, it still makes us laugh! And, last summer, we made up a handshake with the sisters in our small group, too. I’m laughing right now thinking about it! So, my final tip is to shake on it! Make up a handshake with a friend, spouse, co-worker, or your kids.
Thank you so much for joining me for this series! Be sure to pin this post (or any in the series) to come back to next summer, and share this with your friends. You never know what connections it may spark!
Grace taught me a lesson about embracing “awkward.” Every morning, we take a walk through the retirement community near our house. One morning, after chatting with a sweet lady we’ve known for four years, Grace said, “Mom, we don’t know her name!”
Yes, you are right, Grace.
I never asked.
After knowing her for four years—knowing all about her husband’s health challenges, and even what she eats for breakfast on Sunday mornings (blueberry pancakes), it seemed a little awkward to ask her name.
The next morning, I decided to embrace awkward anyways. her name is Shirley, and I’m so glad I asked. The next weekend, Grace and I decided to surprise Shirley by delivering some “Berry Good” homemade jam. Listen to what happened after that!
Fruitful friendships grow not because we don’t experience fear, but because breaking ground on meaningful relationships becomes more important than our fear. Taking big leaps of faith, embracing the awkward (lots of awkward!), and putting yourself out there to do life with others can change everything.
It’s worth stepping into the hard stuff—and stepping in again and again.
Fruitful friendships are worth embracing awkward for. Fruitful friendships allow us to celebrate our imperfections together.
Fruitful friendship is possible. Here are my three tips to embrace awkward:
1. Become a Master of Awkward.
What if awkward pauses in a conversation are actually invitations for a deeper friendship? Waiting 1-2 seconds longer than normal to reply and “fill the silence” may allow the other person to open up, and to know you are really listening. Practice the art of the pause, and let the pauses be filled with listening. It may feel awkward at first, but it’s the greatest gift we can give to others! When you try this, just keep thinking to yourself, “I am becoming a Master of Awkward!”
2. Ask a second question.
You can practice this starting today, and it just might change your relationships forever. It did for me! Don’t stop at, “How are you?” Invite the other person to open up by asking a second question. The power of the second question is that it helps take the conversation deeper. Two of my favorite second questions:
How did that make you feel?
Tell me more about that.
3. Ask for help.
This is a hard one, isn’t it!? But, remember that fruit grows when we tend to it, water it, and work the hard ground. Dig in! Asking for help in friendships—whether it’s advice, prayer, or a recipe—lets the other person know you value them, and believe they can solve a problem for you. Turn this around on yourself: How would you feel if a friend asked for help? I would feel honored, and it would help me to know they trust me. Fruitful friendships are built on trust.
This is my real-life friend, Tori! She joins our neighborhood walks almost every morning, where we get to practice all we’ve learned in this Fruitful Friendship series—asking second questions, embracing awkward, and listening well. We’re not perfect, and we don’t have to be. We’re growing a fruitful friendship, no perfection required. I’m so grateful for you, Tori!