Category: Giveaway

*We are so grateful that ALL of our 2018 PowerSheets are headed to happy homes! Sign up to know when we restock our Six-Month Undated PowerSheets later this Spring!

Welcome to my Seventh-Annual Make It Happen Goal Setting Series! I’m so grateful for this series, and for all of you who join each year. How has it been seven years, friends? I’m so pumped for this year!!!

Want to listen to this post instead of reading? Here you go!

Let’s get right to it: what brought you here?

Maybe you feel frustrated as you look back at 2017.

Perhaps you didn’t make progress on some goals, or forgot about them completely (You are not alone! I have done that in years past!).

Maybe traditional goal setting has failed you before and you feel defeated already thinking about 2018.

Maybe you stumbled on this post because you want change to have happened yesterday.

Well, I have good news.

Really good news!

After almost a decade of studying goal setting and what motivates people to change and follow-through on their goals, here’s what I know for sure:

What causes people to change is one pivotal moment. It’s the moment where you decide that the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.

This moment might just be that moment for you.

Maybe your thoughts have been something like mine lately: I want my life (or an area of my life) to change/grow/be simplified. I don’t know how it will happen and the unknown is scary, but I KNOW I don’t want to stay the same any longer!

Friends, your restlessness is welcome here.

In fact, it’s a really good thing.

We’re gonna use our restlessness and frustration to propel us forward to CHANGE. Really good life-giving change!

If you’ve been craving something new, you are in the right place. And if you aren’t convinced yet that goals can be life-giving, you’re in the right place, too!

If you are new to this series, welcome—you’re in for a treat this year! Let me back up a bit and introduce myself, because we’re going to have some fun together over the next few days as we go through this 5-part series. I’m Lara. I’m a mom to three, a grateful wife, CEO of a growing company, and I love getting my hands dirty in my garden here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

I’ve written two books about goal setting and intentional living. (My book deal came from an editor at Thomas Nelson reading this annual series!) I’ve led a conference called Making Things Happen for 9 years. My nickname when I was a personal trainer in New York City was “Ms. Motivator.” But! This all makes me giggle a little bit because I haven’t always loved goal setting. In fact, the words “goal setting” used to give me the heebie-jeebies!

I have a lot of things to take care of in my life (like you), and I don’t have room for a whole lot more (I’m guessing that’s like you, too), and I get tense even thinking about the pressure to accomplish something beyond my current capacity (areyouwithme?).

I started seeing real results in my goals when I flipped the usual process on its head. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do together here.

This is goal setting for people who hate goal setting!

We don’t do traditional pressure-filled, do-it-all goal setting around here. We uncover intentional, less-is-more goals. I call these “cultivated goals.”

Cultivated goals are about growing what you’ve been given–what you already have: your relationships, your money, your possessions, your work, your children, your home, your health, and your time. A little intentional forethought goes a long way!

Over the last seven years that I’ve been writing this series, as my life has dramatically changed, so has this goal uncovering process. I’ve studied what makes people feel unmotivated, and I have listened to you. I’ve followed your stories and challenges and incredible successes over these years as we’ve done this together. Through it all, I’ve discovered some pretty amazing not-so-secret secrets to getting unstuck.

Uncovering cultivated goals is not about doing it all; it’s about doing what matters. Whether you’re a mom, a student, a business owner, in transition, in the wait—in any place where you are in life, we’re going to let go of guilt-filled, fleeting resolutions, and embrace a whole new way of doing this goal setting thing. For those of you like me who do not like traditional goal setting, you are in the right place.

Listen in as I tell you my story…

Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life from Lara Casey on Vimeo.

Consider the script officially flipped!

From here on out, when I mention “goals” or “goal setting,” know that I’m talking about cultivated goals.

Here’s what cultivated GOALS are all about:

Grow what matters
One step
At a time
Little by little your
Seeds will grow

The alternative to uncovering cultivated goals is going through the motions, not feeling confident that you’re on the right path, lacking motivation, and not taking care of what you’ve been given well. (Speaking from experience here.)

Cultivated goals–the kind we are going to uncover together–give you direction and motivation. You can’t simultaneously do it all and do life wellBut you can choose to cultivate what matters, right where you are.

Here’s what you can expect in this five-part series: Each day of the series, I’m going to walk through a mix of goal uncovering steps from my first book, Make it Happen (which you can sample here), insight from my new book, Cultivate, prompts from the 2018 PowerSheets, and I have some new ones that we’ve never done before!

The PowerSheets and my books have many more goal uncovering prompts than I’ve listed in this series. This is just a sampling.

A peek above at one of the new pages this year: the Break Your Identity Box page. And, yes, I love PostIts! 

A word of freedom here! Do you need the PowerSheets and books to have an intentional year? No. You don’t need them to live this life well. They are powerful tools if you choose to use them, but if you only do this blog series, and use scrap paper to write your answers, that’s great, too. 🙂 Use what you have! If you are someone who has been stuck in indecision lately or feeling fear about diving into new things, practice what I call “making a mess!” Use whatever you have available to write with, and on. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just dig in.

As we go through each step together, use the comment area here to leave your answers, or write them in your PowerSheets, a journal, or on scrap paper. Don’t just think your answers. Thinking them doesn’t count. Write them out and, if you want accountability, leave them boldly here in the comments. I want to cheer you on, and this year I’m going to leave some of my answers in the comments, too. Friends, help me out here and cheer each other on, too. You never know who how your words might change someone. If you need an extra kick in the pants to make it happen, I have a giveaway at the end that might encourage you!

Ready to dig in? Step 1, here we go!

lara-casey-goal-setting-step-1

STEP ONE: In order to leap into the new, we first must know where we are leaping from. I’m going to ask you the golden question: How are you? Really. How are you? Let’s look at each area of our lives and do a little check-in. Look at the categories below and write out how you are doing in each one:

– Health
– Friends
– Family (including your significant other, if applicable)
– Finances
– Spiritual + Personal Growth
– Work
– Recreation

Feel free to write in your own categories, too! Give each area of your life a rating between 1 and 10, along with a few thoughts on why you chose that number. 1 means you are not satisfied in this area and want to see radical change. 10 means you are happy as a bee on honeysuckle!

One of the new 2018 PowerSheets features: The Cultivated Life Evaluation. This is a simple check-in that helps you to know where you are and where you want to go in each key area of your life!

This is step one for a reason. “How are you?” seems like a simple question, but when answered from our heart of hearts, it can help set you on an entirely new path.

Knowing where you are now, mess and all, helps you to leap to where you’re going.

The soil you’re standing on right now is your growing ground.

How are you? What’s in that soil of yours right now?

Reply in the comments, or on paper right now. I’ll leave my answers in the comments too! And don’t get stuck in the negative soil. Include thoughts about what is good in each area! For instance, as for my feelings about finances: I’ve been challenged by contentment and emotional spending at times, but I have become skilled at managing money. It took ten years, but I now feel comfortable navigating Quickbooks, doing our business finances, and analyzing where we are. (A couple years ago I wouldn’t have been able to type that!) Allow yourself to write the things that may feel undone, imperfect, or hard, and write in some positive thoughts too—even if the positive feels tiny!

Now, a bonus challenge: let the dirt be dirt. Once you’ve written everything out, be still with your feelings for a moment—whatever they may be—without trying to change them or push them away immediately. Let the challenges and places you’d like to grow sink in a little. If you’re like me, I often want to fix my circumstances right away instead of letting myself feel anything at all. My instinct is to reach for a distraction when faced with something that feels hard. (Anyone tempted to go scroll Instagram right now?) But, that never brings me peace or clarity. So, let’s not do that. Maybe the soil of your life needs some fresh nutrients, or maybe there are some big rocks in the way of you planting new things. The only way you’ll know though, is to see what’s there first.

Besides…

All those rocks and weeds?

They are pockets of purpose waiting to be transformed!

lara-casey-goal-setting-step-2

STEP TWO: Watch this video (or at least the first 30-ish seconds) that some of my closest friends and I made for you…

What have you been chasing recently, or in the last year? Do you feel like you are “chasing perfect” in some ways—attempting to measure up to an impossible standard? Write or type here what you have been chasing, and how that has been making you feel. Maybe you’ve been chasing success, significance, or approval. Maybe you’ve been trying to keep up, survive, or just get through. Whatever you’ve been chasing, name it boldly and know that you are not alone. To name your chase is to destroy it.

lara-casey-goal-setting-step-3

STEP THREE: In traditional goal setting, you focus on the future, and on achieving your goals as fast as humanly possible. That is a recipe for b.u.r.n.o.u.t. I’ve done it many times in the past, and it’s no bueno. But! Uncovering really good goals means learning from the past in order to cultivate what’s next. The past has a lot to teach us! Let’s take a look back at the last year.

What good things happened in 2017? What grew well? What are you grateful for from the last twelve months?

I know this can be a challenging step. We often don’t like counting our blessings because it may feel self-indulgent or like it won’t get us anywhere fast, or perhaps you are thinking that there were no good things that happened in 2017! It’s easy to look back at an entire year and see only the hard parts, like when something happens to you at the end of the day and you automatically call it a bad day, regardless of what happened the other twenty-three hours.

Let’s do a little digging! A few tips to unearth the good stuff:

– Talk to your significant other or a close friend about your year and ask him or her to reflect some of the highlights back to you. He or she may remember some that you have forgotten! This is also a great way to celebrate the good things of the past year with others. Make it your dinner conversation tonight.

– Take a look back at your calendar, blog posts, social media updates, or photos. Those might give you a clue into some of the good things you’ve forgotten.

– If you are a PowerSheets user, read through your 2017 PowerSheets!

–  Review your finances from the year. This is like reading a journal of places you went, and what some of your priorities were.

My Good Things: My word for 2017 was LIGHT, and even in the challenges, it was a year of God’s light changing me and, even in the hard things, a feeling of lightness after a heavy and hard 2016.

A little recap from the last seven years:

2011 – Our marriage is falling apart and then the impossible happens. My husband, Ari, becomes a believer and Grace is born.

2012 – We are parents and life is crazy. I go through post-partum depression and try to figure out how to be a mom and run a growing small business.

2013 – The Lara Casey Shop opens and we release the first version of the PowerSheets. Out little shop takes off faster than we expected. After reading this goal-setting series, a publisher offers me a book contract. I begin writing Make It Happen.

2014 – We try to have another baby and miscarry. Through the grief, I write and release Make it Happen. We start thinking and praying about adoption. The same night I finish our adoption paperwork, I feel a little off. I am pregnant with Josh!

2015 – I start writing Cultivate and Josh is born in August. We match with our birth mom and, with much prayer and open hearts, we say yes to two babies in the span of six months.

nancyray-sarahnewborn-1076Photo by Nancy Ray

2016 – We adopt Sarah and I finally finish writing Cultivate in the middle of the mess. 2016 was a challenging year (I wanted to quit my business), but, I learn that good things grow out of hard things. I let my hair down, we change the name of our company and I pass the torch for my role as Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings.

2017 – I finally release Cultivate after two years of writing and re-writing and I begin homeschooling Grace. Our company grows like wisteria in March (a lot!) and I spend the year living what I wrote in Cultivate: ‘Getting our hands dirty in the soil–hands and heart undistracted. Celebrating sprouting seeds, golden yellow weeds, and everything in between. Rejoicing in our weakness. And receiving God’s limitless grace during the many, many, many times we mess up.’

This year, I was so grateful to see all that we teach in action in my own life and goals! I set four goals for the year and made more progress in each than I ever thought possible. A year ago, I knew I’d be so grateful I started these goals, and little by little, they happened! Did I mess up every along the way? Yes! Did I have some challenges? Definitely. But, imperfect progress is still progress and when you embrace that fact, you are far less likely to completely jump ship. 🙂

My four 2017 goals:

Goal 1: Read the whole Bible again. Yes! Read all about this goal here. I am on track to finish the Chronological reading plan on December 31 and I’m probably gonna cry when I finish I’m so grateful for this! I’ve decided to celebrate by going back through all the highlights I’ve collected in my YouVersion Bible app all year and marking them in Grace’s journaling Bible with love notes to her. I’m so excited to do this!

Goal 2: Run, and finally get back into weight training. The former personal trainer in me was a little ashamed of this at first, but you guys, I have made progress! I haven’t had a gym membership since Grace was born, and I haven’t done real weight training in just as long. I used to love being in the gym and feeling strong. But, the logistics with kids and the gym just haven’t worked out. So, I made it work! Read more here.

Goal 3: Live a year of radical gratitude and praise. After a challenging 2016, this was something I needed to cultivate. As I wrote about in Cultivate, complaints are clues. They reveal to us places in our hearts where we don’t trust in God’s goodness or His power. While cultivating gratitude is a life-long pursuit, I am so grateful for how I dug into this goal this year! From praise dance parties to practicing praising God through really hard challenges, this was really good. You can read more about how I made progress in the monthly posts I’ll share in a minute…

Goal 4: Cultivate our life-giving home. This included starting homeschool with Grace this fall, living with less, living in a life-giving space, implementing a plan for the office to semi-transition out of our house, growing our marriage, and planting a family legacy within the seemingly-mundane everyday routines of life, and the bigger celebrations of life (holidays, traditions, milestones) too. Wow, I am in awe that so much of this happened! We started homeschool and we have been loving it. It was a big transition for my work schedule and it has caused me to have to say no a lot more, but it has been worth it. We also made some much-needed home repairs this year, and I created our Cultivated Calendar for 2018. The one thing that changed here was moving the office out of the house. Instead, we made the office better (reveal coming in a few weeks) and I’m so glad we made it work! P.S. My friend Sally wrote a beautiful book about cultivating a life-giving home that I highly recommend! Also, you can catch our live broadcast together here.

You can read all the details of my 2017 goal progress in my monthly updates:

February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December (this month isn’t over yet–I’m still making little-by-little progress!)

My list of good things from 2017 in my PowerSheets is above. *You’ll notice I have some things covered in my PowerSheets throughout this series. If I wrote about something that had to do with another person, for their privacy, I covered those names and items. Some highlights:

  • The progress I made on my four goals this year! 🙌
  • Through many challenges we’ve experienced together this year, our marriage grew! We are stronger and more joy-filled because of all we have been through.
  • I started homeschool with Grace.
  • Our business grew in a new life-giving direction. I was invited to join C12, we added several new team members, and we are excited about the future.
  • I finished writing my second book! This was a HUGE praise after two years of writing (and re-writing!).
  • There’s more, but I don’t want to do all the talking! I’m sharing just a few things on my list to get your mind turning. I would love to hear from you.

Name three lessons you learned from the good things. For example, in my life there were many times last year that good things happened when I let go of control—whether getting on my knees (literally) in prayer or in looking at how I could change instead of hoping others would change. The lesson for me was a big one: let go. Surrender. Humble yourself. That’s where change begins. I continued to learn that it’s okay to grow slow, and embracing change can be good.

Your turn! Today’s Goal Uncovering Steps:

1. How are you? How are you doing in each area of your life and which areas do you most want to improve?

2. What have you been chasing lately? How is that making you feel?

3. Write your list of good things and lessons you learned.

Then, share your answers here in the comments to encourage others. I can’t wait to personally cheer you on!

And remember this: There is no room for comparison in cultivating what matters. A page from my 2016 PowerSheets:

lara casey goal setting comparisson

Whether you had one good thing happen or twenty, celebrate the good stuff and let’s help each other do the same. Let’s turn comparison into compassion and cheering on.

Okay, that’s it for today and that’s plenty to work on. I’ll be back Friday with more goal uncovering goodness!

Take your time with this and remember, cultivating what matters is about progress, not perfection. This is not about writing the perfect list of perfect goals with a perfect pen. It’s about digging into the dirt, right where you are, to grow, tend, and harvest what you’ve been given. This process will have a big payoff, but you have to commit to working through it. Let your 2018 goals bake, like a pan of homemade hot cinnamon rolls fresh out of the oven. They wouldn’t be flaky and yummy zapped quickly in the microwave, would they? They’d end up as a big pile of mushy dough. I’m not going to hand you your 2018 goals; we’re going to do this right and bake them well together, little-by-little, with some bold leaps of faith along the way. Sound good? Awesome!

Need an extra kick in the pants? How about this for motivation? Welcome to the Ultimate New Year’s Giveaway. There are lots of prizes and fun ways to enter. Most of all, though, I hope you comment with your answers from each step as we go through this series. I can’t wait to read your answers, and share mine with you too! One person who comments with answers to every step in this series will win a bonus prize: one of everything from the Cultivate Shop! Yes!!! This includes 2018 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker book, books, journals, art prints and so much more!

A big thank you to everyone who entered! What a joy it was to hear your responses and get to chat with you in the comments! Congratulations to our winners below! If you’re a winner, fill out this form to collect your prize!

1. 10 sets of 2018 PowerSheets! — Gail boos, Sara Baker, Carrie Condra, Cydney Levin, Melissa Kelly, Cierra LaShay, Kara Wallitsch Tydlacka, Charis K, Staci Good Bedenbaugh, and Cara Gordon
2. A Fitbit Flex Amber Cavasoz
3. A gift card for a massage — Chris Koiro
4. The 2018 Floret wall calendar — Jen Harris
5. A 2018 Yearly prayer journal from Val Marie PaperHeather Chollar
6. Keepsake Kitchen Diary from Lily and Val — Zulema Uscanga
7. Farmgirl Flowers bouquet — Bianca Norman
8. Our popular PowerSheets Companion Bundle — Christy S
9. 1-year membership to Thrive MarketVanessa Wright
10. 2018 Simplified Planner — Sarah Gonzales
11. ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?! A free house cleaning! — Kara Earhart
12. 5 signed copies of Cultivate — Madelyn Smith, Emily Soroka, Julie Davis, Cortney P, and Shannon Hunsley
13. A seat at Financial Peace UniversityKady Curtis
14. 5 signed copies Make It Happen — Keatyn Bergsten, Emily Montgomery, Jenna King,  Samantha Hawthrone, and Kaitlyn Payne
15. Write the Word All Seasons Collection — Lacey Cabalas
16. A Meyer lemon tree – a family favorite around here! — Lindsey Abrego
17. A 6-month membership to Skillshare — Veronica Ilioi
18. A LegacyBox! (Amazing!) — Kerry Batty
19. One of everything from the Cultivate Shop! — Sarah Kemer

Why am I doing this? I want you—yes YOU—to get renewed, and to uncover a solid direction for the year ahead. Help me spread the word, and let’s get all our friends in on this! Here’s to a meaningful, intentional 2018—I am cheering you on friends.

Read Part Two of my 2018 Goal-Setting Series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends January 30th. Winners will be announced on January 31st here on the blog. 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! : ) Also, this post contains some Amazon affiliates links. No extra cost to you and all proceeds are donated!

Photos by Gina Zeidler

619 Show Comments

What causes someone to set a goal and actually make it happen?

The pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change.

Woosh!

When I think back to the turning points in my life, that truth is clear as day:

When I struggled with anorexia and depression in college.

When my marriage was falling apart.

When I took the leap of faith to start Southern Weddings ten years ago.

In our season of having two babies in 6 months.

When I was facing fear in starting to homeschool Grace.

When I let go of my role as Editor-in-Chief of Southern Weddings this year.

At the start of this year when I wanted to read the Bible again.

You guys, my list is long.

In all of those things, there was first a moment of brutal clarity: Something needs to change!

Then, there was a moment of faith–believing in what I couldn’t yet see: If I were to take a leap of faith and step into this change, good things could come. But… I won’t know until I leap!

Many times, it was sharing my frustration where I was that sparked change and helped me see a different way forward. When I let someone else in, or let my true thoughts hit the paper, something magical happened: accountability.

Accountability means to count someone responsible, trustworthy, or true.

When you are accountable, it means you will follow through and do what you set out to do.

When someone holds you accountable, it means that person loves you enough to help you walk the walk. When you hold someone accountable it doesn’t make you their judge, but rather their loving advocate. You commit to helping them be their best. It means seeing the good in another person and being willing to cultivate it alongside them–which can be hard work at times! But, what a joy and a gift that is for another.

We each have unique gifts to use–good tools with which to grow good things. If our “irons” aren’t sharp, or they sit in a toolshed doing nothing at all, then nothing gets cultivated. Accountability helps us to bring our gifts out into the open and use them well: “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17 ESV).

A life of accountability is a life of humility. It’s hard to let people in and share our weaknesses, isn’t it? But, it’s so rewarding!

I’ve built accountability into my life in several ways this year, both through tools I’ve used and through relationships:

  • I’ve blogged my PowerSheets goals here for you each month, sharing my progress and challenges openly. Writing my goals down and tracking my progress keeps me accountable, but sharing it adds another level of commitment.
  • I joined a group of fellow CEO’s where we are accountable each month to the goals we set each time we meet. We even have a system where we pay $10 for every to-do we don’t complete! We pool that money together and donate it when a need arises.
  • And, among many other things, this post was inspired by the fact that I’m going through an Advent study with two sisters from church this month. It’s super simple. We do it each day and text each other our thoughts. This is the reason I have stuck with it consistently!

If you’re still not convinced, consider the alternative to a life accountable. Here’s what a lack of accountability can look like (and I have experienced each of these things before!):

  • We go through the motions in life without purpose or clarity on where we’re going. If we don’t share our goals with anyone, we don’t have to do anything about them. We can just stay the same, going in circles, lacking direction. “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.” – Yogi Berra
  • We miss opportunities to love others and grow good things. When we lack accountability, we are more likely to waste time. We are more likely to shrink back.
  • We crave connection with others. When we lack accountability, we can often miss out on meaningful connection with others. We begin to feel distrust for others and for ourselves. “Anyone holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” – Thomas Paine
  • We don’t make progress. Nothing measured, nothing managed. “Accountability breeds response-ability.” – Stephen Covey
  • We hide our passions. This is a dangerous trap. You were created for a purpose and the world needs your gifts and talents, my friend. If no one knows about your goals, it can be pretty easy to let them fall to the wayside. Out of sight out of mind, right?
  • Our lives can become complicated and distracted. Accountability simplifies life and makes us more productive in the right things. Accountability helps to cut out the time and energy you spend on distractions.

Here are some ideas on how to be accountable, either by using a great tool or through relationships:

  • Write your goals down. Research shows that, as opposed to typing something on a device, writing your thoughts and goals down in your own (messy!) handwriting changes our brains. Hand-writing things flips a switch in our brain that begins solving problems and making decisions, making us more accountable for our actions.
  • Be the invitation. Start a 2018 PowerSheets Group in your area! Host a PowerSheets party using our free Groups Guide. These groups have been so successful for women all over the world. And most of the time, the group members didn’t know each other well when they started. That changes quickly when you start talking about what matters together! 🙂
  • Get a buddy. If you are a PowerSheets user, join our private Facebook group (Search “PowerSheets Group!”). There are tons of friends waiting for someone to say, “Does anyone need an accountability partner?”
  • Do goals with your team.
  • Have your PowerSheets Tending List out in front of you where you will see it most often.
  • Use your phone screensaver to your advantage and make it inspiring words, a photo of your Tending List, or a reminder to love others through accountability.
  • This is one of the most effective things you can do: write your goal action steps in your planner and on your wall calendar. There’s is power in repetition. It takes humans at least 7 times to hear something and remember it. Use the power of repetition and write your goals in more places than you think are necessary, making you more accountable to choose to act on those goals. You will be shocked at how well this works to steer your actions when you are tempted to distractions.

This Giveaway has now CLOSED! Congratulations to Erin F. for winning the Best Year with your Besties Giveaway!

To help you stay accountable in 2018, I am so excited to share an AMAZING GIVEAWAY with you! The two women who created these products have held me accountable in many ways over the years and I’ve been blessed by their products! (I am so excited for the pair who wins this!) We’re giving away not one, but TWO of each of the following for you and your “bestie” (or sister, co-worker, mom, neighbor, or classmate!):

Your turn! I’d love to hear: what are ways you have stayed accountable in your goals and in living your best life?

I’d love to hear your tips too!

7 Show Comments

‘I oftentimes forget. I forget the good that has happened in my life and focus on what’s hard or undone. I forget that I don’t have to be perfect, and I try do it all. I forget the big picture and instead find myself focused on the narrow list of what feels urgent today.

I forget the way home.

In the thick of it, I want to hold something in my hands that brings me right back to what matters.

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids15

I want Grace, Josh, and Sarah to know the way home, long after Ari and I are gone. There’s a pit in my stomach thinking about it because I love them so much, and I don’t want to imagine not being with them. But the truth is I’m going to leave this earth one day. Ari will too. It’s a hard truth to hold in my hands, but it’s potentially the most life-giving seed we can plant, friend. It’s the seed of legacy.

I want to cultivate truth in my children. I want to equip them to plant their own gardens in this world and learn how to thrive God’s way. I want to cultivate a life that is focused on growing what will last longer than I will—not what seems exciting or enticing right this second.’ – from Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life

Bible Journaling with Kids

Bible journaling with Grace

Bible journaling with Grace

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids3
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids6
The Cultivate sticker book

The Cultivate sticker book

She Reads Truth Bible

She Reads Truth Bible

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids10
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids13
Painting in the Bible!

Painting in the Bible!

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids17
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids14
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids12
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids16
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids22
She Reads Truth Bible

She Reads Truth Bible

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids23
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids20
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids18
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids21
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids24
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids26
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids28
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids27
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids29
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids31
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids34
Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids33
Photo by Grace : )

Photo by Grace : )

So, I began doing something that has been surprisingly easy and impactful: Bible journaling with Grace. Now, let me tell you that the whole idea of Bible journaling seemed too scrapbook-y for me. I tried scrapbooking and I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t keep up with it. So, when I saw people posting photos of their colorful Bible pages, I was hesitant. Until I had a life-changing conversation with Illustrated Faith founder, Shanna Noel. She talked about Bible journaling as a way to connect with the Word and worship God with art. She talked about it as a way to plant seeds of legacy.

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids18

It all clicked. This was something Grace and I could do together. Our creative brains could run wild in the pages of the life-giving Word! I gave it a try one night. Grace was instantly hooked and so was I.

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids12

I have gotten a ton of questions this week about Bible journaling with Grace and how we do it.

Here are a few tips and resources!
– We use the She Reads Truth Bible, which I LOVE. It’s beautifully crafted, thoughtfully designed, and it has great wide margins on pure white paper–a great canvas for Bible journaling!
– We also have a bunch of Illustrated Faith supplies from Dayspring and we use stickers from the Cultivate What Matters sticker book too.
– Having shared those things though, you can use anything! We sometimes just use crayons : )

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids32Photo by Grace : ) 

We have done it like this so far:
– We start simple. We pick a verse and highlight it. I ask Grace if there’s a verse she wants to do (she might recall a song she learned in Bible class at church or a story we read at bedtime that week) or sometimes I pick one that I highlighted from my own Bible reading that morning.
– I read the verse a few times and talk about what it means in words she can understand. Sometimes we talk about the history behind the verse, and sometimes we talk about life application.
– Then I ask her what “pictures” come to mind when she thinks about the verse so we can begin thinking of what do draw, paint, or put on the page.
– We draw or make those pictures on the page. I really try to follow her lead here with what we create together.
– Lastly, we write either what we’re grateful for that day or comments about the verse and what it means to us. One of us writes the date and that’s it!

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids31

– Sometimes I write a little love note to Grace in the margins too. (There’s much more about that in my upcoming book!)
– We leave the pages we journaled open on the kitchen counter to see the next day till we do a new one. We have a stand for our Bible in the kitchen. The one we have isn’t available anymore, but I found this one as a suggestion for you to try.
– An essential tip: make it easy to get your supplies out at the drop of a hat. We have an Illustrated Faith bag in one of the kitchen cabinets that we can easily bring out and easily toss all the supplies back into when we’re done.

Bible journaling with Grace has helped us have meaningful conversations about the Bible while engaging her full attention with a creative activity. One of the best benefits for me, besides having good conversation about God and closeness with Grace, is letting a smaller portion of scripture really sink in. I end up memorizing most of what we journal.

When Grace is older, I’ll give this Bible to her as a gift–as a way to always remember the way Home.

Lara Casey Blog Bible Journaling with Kids33

I hope this post has encouraged you to give this a try–whether with kids or yourself. Have you considered Bible journaling? I’d love to hear from you!

To help you get started, I have a great giveaway for you today! Win a She Reads Truth Bible, a copy of my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases June 27th!), a Cultivate What Matters sticker book, Illustrated Faith supplies from Dayspring, and one of our SOLD OUT Write the Word journals (we will have more in stock in August!). Enter below:

bible-journaling-giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

96 Show Comments

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.

lara casey handwriting

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?

Welcome to the Ultimate Fruitful Summer Giveaway! We brainstormed all the things we would want to have an intentional and joy-filled summer, and we’re giving all of these things away to one lucky winner. This summer prize bundle includes everything you see here including our NEW Fruitful Friendships Workbook, a fresh set of PowerSheets, our new Fruitful Summer encouragement postcards, and even a copy of my upcoming book!

Enter below…

fruitful summer giveaway

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!). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

230 Show Comments

This is the story of a girl who was teased about her hair.

So, she tried to fix it.

She did what all the cool kids in the 80’s did and she permed her already curly hair. Not only was it fried and more frizzy than before, but her hair now smelled like a chemical factory. And it was slightly green.

Somewhere in the 90’s, when she was in high school, people started ironing their hair. Like with an actual iron.

And then, come the 2000’s, every time she went to a salon to get a quick hair cut, the stylist would try to convince her to get an expensive all-day hair straightening treatment to strip away any sign of her curls. She didn’t ever get one, but she considered it.

Apparently, curly hair was something to hide, so she did. Unknowingly, along with hiding her hair, she hid a part of who she was created to be.

Until one day when she came undone.

She is me.

I woke up one day, in the middle of a very challenging season (the whole story is in my upcoming book, Cultivate) and felt tired of fixing my hair. Always putting it up or straightening it. Trying to control my curls, which was a mirror to trying–fruitlessly–to control my life.

That morning, I washed it and just let go.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/sweetlarafeb2017Photos by my amazing friend, Gina. We had so much fun making these together!

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. It wasn’t about a hairstyle, it was about letting go of what years of feeling imperfect 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.

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

Embracing my curls has been life-changing for me. Apparently, I’m not alone in this desire to embrace what God has given us. It’s not about hair; it’s about our hearts.

Soon after letting my hair down, I discovered Scott Musgrave, a curly hair artist who happened to live right down the street from me. I emailed Scott to see if he might be able to give me a curly cut, and it turned into an amazing friendship. I asked Scott to share some of his best advice, and I think you’ll be inspired!

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

First, what would you say to curly girls who are afraid to let their hair down?

Scott: Our whole lives we’ve been mistreated and misinformed by the hair industry. So we are skeptical. These feelings are understandable. Most stylists have a ‘fix it’ mentality that they pass on to us. When someone says they know how to work with curly hair, that often means, “I know how to fix, flat iron, and Brazilian blowout your curly hair.” So, I recommend you find a curly hair artist. Take a faith step and make the trip to see someone who has great training. The esteem and confidence you get when you are correctly informed and treated properly can be life-changing. When you experience an ‘embrace it’ service experience – that helps you embrace who God made you to be –  it’s a shift in dignity that goes deep into your Spirit. Call most salons and THEY ALL say they know how to work with curly hair. So your next question should be, “Where did you get your training and what method do you use?”Listen to see if they will embrace your hair or if they want to fix your hair. Another option is to go in for a curly set, an appointment where a trained stylist will teach you about your hair and how to make it look nice curly. THEN set up an appointment for a cut if you like what you learned. Read reviews, read testimonies, look at their before and after photos, and research their hair philosophy on their website and social media platforms.

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

What products are best for curly hair, and how do you apply them?

Scott: Ingredients in a product tell me a story of your hair getting worse over time or getting better over time. My method works with any product line, but good ingredients will improve your hair over time. Bad ingredients dry out hair, create breakage and thin hair out over time. If this has happened to you from using bad ingredients then:

1) First, detox your hair and remove the build up.

2) Conditioner is the most important product for hydration and to reduce frizz.

There is no need for shampoo. Harsh detergents are harmful to hair. You can cleanse with conditioner (called “co-washing”), and get rid of build up every few months with some vitamin c powder (detox) massaged into your hair in the shower (if you are using bad ingredients). Go to my website and do a word search for ‘Detox’ for how to do this. Once you learn about water soluble products, you will no longer need to detox after that. 

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

So, what products should you use? It depends on where you live and your hair type. Dryer climates might cause you to need a cream-based product. Humid climates might call for glycerine and aloe-based products.

In general, here is what I recommend:

Cleanser: Innersense, Jessicurl and Long Hair Don’t Care*

Conditioner (hydrates to reduce frizz): Innersense*, Jessicurl

Filler (fills porosity to reduce “halo”):  Innersense Quiet Calm Curl Control*. 

Sealer: Foam or Gel (creates curl formations): Innersense, Mop Top, Jessicurl, DevaCurl*. 

* marks the products I (Lara) use!

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

Filler and Sealer application: Instead of towel-drying your hair when you get out of the shower, leave it sopping wet or somewhat drippy – experiment with both. And instead of scrunching product into your hair, do what’s called ‘roping’. Flip your head over and use a small quantity on your fingers and palms as you run your hands down your hair like you are flattening out ropes AND by squeezing product into your hair instead of coating your hair. This creates even product application, which creates dependability and manageability. Wait till hair is completely dry before you scrunch it out–hair is not supposed to live crunchy but nice and soft.

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

How in the world do people go multiple days without having to wash their curly hair?

Scott: Don’t touch your hair much or when you do and it may create a bit of expanded frizz. If you are using water soluble products, you can learn to reactivate products in your hair with water and a spray bottle with a bit of conditioner left in. It takes some practice to learn this but it is so worth it. Silicone and oil based products do not respond well to water – but water soluble products do reactive nicely with practice. Spray bottle misting and then putting your hair up in a Pineapple at night reforms your (long enough to go up) waves and curls to then take out of Pineapple and tweak in the morning (or after working out or in the garden) with a bit of water or conditioner – or both- to reactivate hair to go another day. Squeezing water into your hair to reactivate with a little bit of water or a lot of water the next day is key to working with water-soluble products to reactivate your hair. This is the hardest part of the journey to get used to but, with practice and proper ingredients, success is possible for most with wavy and curly hair.

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

This is just a start as there is so much more in the full “MAP” method that Scott teaches privately and in his upcoming online course.

Here are some basics suggestions to try:

– Stop using traditional shampoo and “co-wash” with a moisturizing product instead
– Detox your hair if you’ve been using harsh ingredients
– Get rid of silicone-based products and choose water-soluble products
– Don’t towel-dry your hair with a regular bath towel – apply products to sopping wet hair
– Let your hair air-dry or use a diffuser (wait till you see the giveaway at the end of this post!)  on a low setting for a few minutes and let air dry the rest of the way if you can
– Try not to touch your hair until it’s completely dry
– Once it’s dry, scrunch lightly to break the gel cast so your hair is soft and bouncy
– No need to wash every day! Use a spray bottle filled with water and few drops of filler and sealer to dampen your hair before bed. Put your hair on top of your head with a scrunchie (yep!) and then simply moisten the hair lightly in a steaming shower or with your spray bottle in the morning to freshen. Voila! I go 2-4 days at a time without having to wash my hair.

665 LaraMarch2017_0002.JPG 2Scott recently gave me a shorter cut for spring, and I love it!

Thanks, Scott, for sharing your wisdom and heart! Scott is working on an online video course for curly hair, sharing all of his secrets and the full MAP method. It will release in May and I’ll be sure to tell you when it does! I can’t wait to watch the videos myself! For more info and Scott’s MagiCurly Blog go to www.scottmusgravehair.comTo find a curly hair artist near you – go to the Stylist Locator at the top of the page www.curlyhairartistry.com.

Friends, I want to hear your hair story! Whether you wear your hair natural or straighten it every day, you do you. There’s no right or wrong way to do you hair. And it’s just hair ; ) But, if you feel like you’ve been hiding the pain of the past or you just have no idea what to do with the head of hair God gave you, lean in. It might take some time and learning. It took me a good three months to get into a routine with my curly hair, and it took several months for my hair to bounce back from all the damage I had unknowingly done to it. But, it was worth it!

And now for an AMAZING giveaway thanks to the generous teams at DevaCurl and Innersense!

gardening-giveaway-+-curls

Enter to win one of these amazing collections (there will be one winner for each collection!):

The Innersense Collection: 
The Empower Hair Ceremony from Innersense, which includes:
Color Radiance Daily Conditioner
I Create Hold
Awakening Hairbath
Quiet Calm Curl Control

The DevaCurl Collection:
The DevaCurl How to Quit Shampoo Kit
The DevaDryer AND the DevaFuser!
DevaCurl Ultra Defining Gel

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Your turn! Are you a curly girl? What’s your hair story? Any favorite tips or products? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

123 Show Comments