Hi, friends! I had grand plans to write an inspiring intro for you today about how it’s time for mid-year goals and how the mid-point of the year is such a great opportunity for reflection and redirection. But, it’s time for me to close up shop and get the kids in bed soon, so here are some fun and helpful links for your week ahead. I hope you enjoy them! : )
A little peek at our office on this quiet Friday afternoon. : )
1. Get the first 43 pages of my upcoming book, Cultivate, for free! Thank you all so much for the flood of encouragement about this sneak peek. I can’t wait to share the entire book with the world on June 27th! Download the first 43 pages for free here. Enjoy!
2. Find hope in waiting seasons. I had my first guest post on the blog last week, and it was a powerful one!
5. Don’t just sit there. I have gotten so many great questions this week about my standing desk and stepper, so I made a page for you with all the details. I have LOVED the messages I’ve been getting from friends with pics of them on their pink steppers!
5. Cultivate your prayer life. So many of you have asked about my prayer journal. I love it so much! It’s from ValMariePaper.com.
7. Get growing! It’s not too late to start a garden–no green thumb required. Start here. I have my first-ever garden tour coming to the blog next Wednesday!
8. Climb to the summit. (Ha! I couldn’t come up with a better lead-in to this one!) We had our fourth-annual team summit a couple months ago, and it was awesome! See the photographs and get a peek into what we did on SouthernWeddings.com.
9. Embrace the mess. I chatted with Natalie Brenner last week about motherhood and how I face challenges. Read our interview here.
10. If it matters to you, cultivate it. Did you know that I have three free e-books on the homepage of LaraCasey.com? Get your Marriage, Faith and Goals e-books for free here!
What a week, friends! So much is happening here behind the scenes with products launching soon, babies being announced (!), shoots, team retreat prep, and I recorded the audiobook for Cultivate. Giving voice to these pages was a gift. I laughed, I cried, and at one point I broke out into song. I couldn’t help it. I am so grateful for the imperfect journey of the last two years and for His transforming grace in our lives. I can’t wait to share the printed version and the audio with you on June 27th! You can see the book film and preorder here.
Blooms from the garden that we picked for a shoot last week. I love them all so much!
A few things for your weekend and to help you make little by little progress on what matters:
1. Grow fresh faith. I loved the Cultivate Fresh Faith webinar with Shanna Noel! In leading this webinar alongside her, I learned so much! Do you need a fresh start (or a first start) with faith? Have you tried Bible journaling? Do you feel lost on how to dig into the Bible? Watch the free replay here where I share my 10 Keys to Cultivating Fresh Faith, with lots of inspiration from Shanna along the way.
2. Play in the dirt. I shared some tips for Gardening with Kids on the City Mom’s blog here.
3. Build a house next to your BFF. Okay, this is not so realistic, but fun to dream about. Have you heard of Bestie Row?
4. Make what matters happen. My friend Emily shared a great peek into the Making Things Happen experience with lots of great takeaways that will encourage you right where you are.
6. Fall in love. We’ve been chatting about these 36 questions here in the office. Have you tried them? My favorite part is the idea of staring into the other person’s eyes for four minutes at the end!
7. Come visit! I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, which is part of what’s called “The Triangle” of cities: Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham. If you ever come visit, Emily posted a great Durham city guide this week. I also just love her blog in general (not just because I’ve worked alongside her for 8 years!) and read it weekly. Highly recommend.
8. Say hi. Where are you from? I’d love to get to know you more here.
9. Write the Word. We sold out of the new Write the Word collections a lot faster than expected. But, the great news is that we will have another small batch of journals in two weeks. I highly recommend reserving yours here. Our next shipment after that won’t come till late summer. We have been blown away by the response to the new collection and I’m so grateful to see so many getting directly into the Word with these new journals!
10. Grow your garden. I’m about to dig in over the next couple weeks, planting our spring and summer garden. Read my Gardening 101 series here, and join me LIVE on Facebook this coming Wednesday, April 26th, at noon EST where I’ll be sharing lots of Gardening 101 tips and answering your questions. Mark your planners–I hope to see you on Wednesday!
Till then, have a great weekend and a great start to the new week ahead, friends!
Spring doesn’t officially start until March 20th, but it has been unseasonably warm here in North Carolina. Lots of things are blooming a full month early. We are likely getting snow over the weekend, so you may see me out with blankets and a hair dryer trying to protect all my early-blooming plants. Seriously. My peach tree is in full bloom and I just might have to run a portable heater out there and put a tent over it. (You guys, I have become a crazy garden lady! I do love my plants, and I especially love our Elberta peaches.)
I couldn’t wait to share this month’s edition of Little by Little with you. In these monthly posts, I share 10 things to help you make little-by-little progress on what matters. I hope these encourage and refresh you.
2. Watch an inspiring story unfold. If you haven’t been following my friend Millie’s foster care and adoption story, you must follow along. This was a big week for a very special little girl named Wren.
Breakfast on the back porch with my loves and some dinosaurs.
4. Dig into March. I made progress on my PowerSheets goals in February, but some things needed to get shaken up a bit! Read about my February progress and my March goals here. I crossed off my first monthly goal last week!
5. Grow in the wait. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of two special books this week. First up, When God Says Wait by my friend Elizabeth Thompson. I got to read an advance copy and it’s just so good. Download two chapters for free here.
6. Step into the garden with Erin. Next up, I’ve been counting the days till my friend Erin’s book, Cut Flower Garden, released. And wow did it have a great first day! Before this week’s launch, they were already on their fourth reprint just with pre-order sales. That’s huge! But really, it’s no surprise. This book is stunningly beautiful, practical, and well-written. Erin has been a huge encouragement to me the last several years as an intentional business owner, mama, educator, and gardener. Get the book here, and take a tour of Erin’s flower farm here.
7. Read good words to your little ones. This has been a great week for books! I got three books in the mail for Grace from two creative and kind gentlemen. The first is When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner. Such a great message in this book and the artwork is colorful and fun. The second two are The Lion’s Pride and The Fox Hole by a local author, J.S. Davey. These are longer picture books and both are beautifully written and illustrated. Thank you, Matthew and J.S.!
8. Celebrate little Sarah alongside us. Sarah turned one a couple weeks ago, and I finally shared some thoughts on our adoption story. I love this photo that Gina took of us a couple weeks ago.
9. Retreat. I got together with 10 friends a couple weeks ago for a faith retreat–a time to step away from our normal rhythms and grow in our faith and friendships. Read more about it here (and how you can host one yourself!), and there’s a HUGE giveaway we put together for you!
10. Mark your calendars for March 22! I’ll be posting a special post here with my book cover and film release, and I will be live on my Facebook page that day at noon EST to give you the behind-the-scenes of the cover and the film. I can’t wait to see you there! Till then, I have lots more coming for you here on the blog. Gardening 101 Part 2 goes live on Monday!
Photo by Gina Zeidler at the NC Botanical Garden–we love this place!
I hope these links encourage you! I also shared lots of updates on life lately, and a peek at the new Write the Word journals, in my live broadcast this week.
Cultivating what matters with you, little by little,
Whether we vocalize it or not, we often crave fast results and overnight success. But, what if we’re missing something? What if overnight and instant aren’t the most fruitful ways to grow things?
I was reading Exodus a couple weeks ago and was blow away by these verses (Exodus 23:29-30):
If God did it quickly, they wouldn’t be ready. Instead, He does it little by little so they will be prepared and readied over time! What a powerful story for our lives. Little by little progress adds up, and in the wait, we are ripened and readied.
Here are 10 things to help you cultivate what matters, little by little, in the week ahead!
1. Start writing your book. I felt unqualified to write books, and to share about how to write one! But, I wrote this anyway.
2. Shake on it. Grace and I have a secret handshake we do every night before bed. This simple connecting point for us has grown our bond, and it makes us giggle every time! This teacher made up handshakes with every kid in his class (and more!). Check it out.
3. Spend 40 days cultivating your faith. This Lent devotional from Amen Paper Company is beautiful!
5. Experience fresh faith. IF Gathering 2017 knocked my socks off. I pre-ordered the digital download so I can watch it again. I cheered out loud during almost every session, and couldn’t help the tears listening to Roce, a Bible translator from the Philippines. It was powerful! Pre-order the download here.
7. Win a farm.Really! Even if you aren’t local to NC, wouldn’t this be amazing for someone to win? If you have farming friends, let them know about this.
8. Refresh your marriage. Valentine’s Day wasn’t always one of my favorite days, namely when my marriage was in turmoil. Read more here, get my free marriage guide here, and check out this marriage conference from Jen at Unveleied Wife!
9. Set goals with your significant other. Need some tips to get your sweetie on board with goal setting, or need a place to start? Here you go! These tips have been tested and approved–Ari doesn’t do goals, but he loved sitting down with me to do the Couple’s Goal Guide!
10. Start over, or start fresh.Cultivate What Matters Week was intended as a week of encouragement for all of you, but I have been double blessed by it myself! I wanted to give up earlier this week, and I learned something in that moment. Read all about it here.
Next up is something many of you have been asking for: Gardening 101! Sign up for my email notes below, if you haven’t already, and you’ll be the first to know when the series goes live next week! Have you thought about starting a garden? I’d love to hear any questions you have below so I can consider incorporating them into the series!
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You guys. One year ago today (right as I’m typing this to you), we were talking to Sarah’s birth mom on the phone for the first time. Besides saying yes to following Jesus, it was the most life-changing conversation I’ve ever had. We hope to see her and talk to her again someday. Till then, I’ll keep writing her letters and sending photos of this little muffin. She’s pretty wonderful!
Sarah will be one next month, and we’re trying to think of a meaningful way to celebrate. I’ll keep you posted! For those of you who often tell me, “she’s always so smiley!” (which she is most of the time) here’s another pic from our visit with Ari’s mom last weekend! ; )
Hehe. I love her.
It’s been a great first month of the year. Besides these little one’s growing, our garden has also been blooming. Our plants are enjoying the unusually mild North Carolina winter so far. February is typically ice-and-snow-filled though, so we’re enjoying this while we can!
January has also been a month of steady growth on my 2017 goals. I’ve made progress by pacing myself and relentlessly embracing progress, not perfection. Some things have been easier than I thought (working out at home with the kids), and some things have taken longer than I thought (scripture memorization–post coming soon on that), but what’s been SO freeing is letting go of the race to the finish line entirely. The pace at which we grow something doesn’t matter as much as what we are growing. Little by little progress adds up–and imperfect progress is still progress. Around here we celebrate even the tiniest seedlings popping out of the ground, and we are learning to do the same with our lives. Good things are cultivated over time, not all at once.
Here are 10 Things to Help You Make Little-by-Little Progress in the week ahead!
1. Get yourself some Good Goals (and win some amazing prizes!!). It’s never too late to uncover Good Goals, but the giveaway that goes along with my sixth-annual Goal Setting Series series is almost over (ends Tuesday!). Someone is going to win these prizes. That someone might be YOU if you take the leap and dig in. My hope is that these prizes encourage you to do each step in the series, and cultivate what matters this year–right where you are. Get started here.
2. Come to Making Things Happen! I loved our live chat this week with four of the MTH alum. Their stories are so inspiring! Catch the replay for free here. The early-bird rate for our only Making Things Happen Conference in 2017 ends on Tuesday (save over $1000). If you would like info about payment plans, email Kristin @ SouthernWeddings.com and she’ll get you all set up! Get your seat here before Tuesday!
3. Read good words. The words we say have power, and the words we let into our hearts are powerful too! I shared some new books this week on my Facebook live (which I’m doing once a month now on the second Wednesday of each month–mark your planners for February 8th at noon EST!). The books I shared: Sweeter Than Honey(I love this coloring book and Lindsay’s art and heart!), Different (Y ‘all know I love Sally Clarkson!), Chasing Slow, Cut Flower Garden, and Jennie Allen’s new book Nothing to Provecomes out next Tuesday. So many great reads!
4. Encourage your husband. My friend Kayse is doing an Encourage Your Husband challenge. Join here!
5. Share your progress. What goal did you check off this month? It can be a weekly, daily, or monthly goal. I love hearing your answers! And I love the new progress bars on the 2017 PowerSheets!
6. Get some real inspiration. Hop over to the new Cultivate What Matters blog for tips on productivity, goal setting, choosing your word of the year (it’s never too late to dig in!), and much more.
7. Get organized. First of all, I didn’t know Chick-fil-A had a blog, did you? We love “chicken-fil-a” around here, as Gracie calls it. I’m so grateful to have shared some organization tipswith my friend, Emily!
8. If you want to grow something, tend it. I used to be addicted to instant gratification. I wanted overnight and instant results in everything. But, over time God changed me (and continues to change me). I’ve learned the power of little-by-little progress, hence the name of this series! You can’t soak a plant in water all at once and be done. Good things grow over time with consistent nurturing. PowerSheets friends, here are some great tending tips.
9. Prepare intentionally for February. Look ahead in your calendar, and prepare for a meaningful month. February tends to be a beast here. It’s a weird month of sharp weather, drawing us all inside and making us long for spring. So, I’m preparing ahead of time to make this month joyful! Join the Cultivate ladies on Instagram stories today to dig into your February PowerSheets. I’ll be doing mine on Instagram stories next Tuesday. Also, February 15th is statistically the day when people fall of their goals and resolutions. We aren’t doing that around here, though! We are committed to progress, not perfection. And we have decided to make a new holiday that week: Cultivate What Matters Week! SO much more to come on that, but get ready. We’re flipping that statistic on its head, and embracing little-by-little progress together. No perfection required!
And I’m giving the last spot to my co-worker and friend, Jess…
10. Be like pizza and make people happy! Some encouragement for you to remember if Fri-yay! If you don’t follow Kid President on Twitter, might I recommend it? It’s a guaranteed day-brightener! -Jess
Cultivating what matters alongside you,
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