While Lara is working heartily on preparing for our 2017 PowerSheets preorder launch on November 1st, I wanted to pop in and personally invite you to what will be one of my favorite broadcasts for the year: our 2017 PowerSheets Reveal Party!
As the Customer Delight and Shop Manager for both the Southern Weddings Shop and Lara Casey Shop(soon to be the Cultivate Shop!), one of my favorite parts of my job is getting to chat with each of you on a daily basis! Whether it’s via email, social media or the telephone, I love hearing stories about how you are using PowerSheets to cultivate what matters in your own lives!
Your honesty, your bravery and your excitement leaves a genuine smile on my face each and every day, and it’s the best reminder for our team of why we do what we do! In fact, I love it so much that I’ve recently created a folder in my inbox entitled “Kind Words” where I file these stories away!
We’ll be revealing our 2017 PowerSheets covers, giving you the inside scoop on what’s new in this year’s PowerSheets, and answering all your questions!
But this is about so much more than which cover you’ll choose or new PowerSheets accessories–our time together will be a celebration of everything that we (and yes, that includes you!) have accomplished in 2016, and a celebration for what is to come as we (yes, that still includes you!) enter this new season as the Cultivate team.
If you can’t watch live, that’s okay! Registering will give you access to the replay, and it will be an excellent resource for you to decide which PowerSheets Workbook you will purchase come Launch Day on November 1st!
We can’t wait to celebrate with you, and share why we wholeheartedly believe the 2017 PowerSheets are the best product we’ve created thus far.
We’re even planning to pull out the tambourines and ukulele for you to make this the best celebration yet!
We sat in a team meeting, trying to come up with an answer to this question: How do we help people more often than just once a year with our annual print magazine?
Social media is great. Blogs are great. But, holding something in your hands is a different experience. It has the potential to become part of your everyday life.
That was a powerful realization for us. If we could get good words, and meaningful tools into people’s hands, maybe they would sink more deeply into their hearts. A domino effect of change could happen. Big change. World change, even. We are a tiny team, but we believe that what we have is good, and something the world needs: hope.
Our fifth-anniversary issue of Southern Weddings was a landmark issue for us. My marriage had recently come back to life, and our theme for the issue followed-suit: love never fails. Long before there were thousands of shops offering prints (and this was just four years ago), we took what felt like a big risk and made a gold foil print of those words to match our issue: Love Never Fails. Our hope was that couples would hang it in their new homes together and remember what matters most. We quickly sold out, and people began to understand and live out those words.
A few months later, in the Lara Casey Shop, we released this print, and this desk card, with the same hope: inspire people to cultivate what matters. Help people shift their thinking from distractions, comparison, and lies we tell ourselves too often, to truth. Life-giving truth. We sold out again. Having meaningful words in people’s homes, tucked in lunch boxes, on desks, and written on family room walls, was doing something.
Over the years, we have done notepads, prints, water bottles, original artwork, T-shirts, desk cards, sketch books, and lots of prints with my handwriting. We were up for creating whatever was going to help people get truthful inspiration in their hands. And then, we took a big risk and released the first PowerSheets, hoping that these goal-uncovering worksheets, filled with thoughtful questions and prompts, would help people uncover good goals–and take action. Four years later, thousands of people from literally all over the world are continuing to cultivate what matters with them. From one woman losing 90lbs and taking back her health, to students finding direction in their paths, marriages being strengthened (praise Him!), businesses being launched, moms finding fresh contentment right where they are, people being able to better navigate seasons of transition, and the simple things in daily life being savored more intentionally, the impact was–and is–happening.
But, two years ago, I started to feel restless. Like the feeling you get when your clothes don’t fit well. I had just gone through a miscarriage and we were beginning to pray about adoption. God was opening our hearts to things we never imagined. Lots of change was in motion in our family, and in our company, and some things didn’t match that heart change.
My website felt too flashy.
We were selling too many different products, which was a lot to manage.
And shop name felt too, well, about me.
We kept running into walls when we wanted to share more good words with the world. Using our Instagram name @LaraCaseyShop felt like we were selling things, even when we weren’t trying to at all. For instance, earlier this year, after I posted this about wanting to quit my business, and we started telling more of our new story, having the word “shop” in our Instagram name didn’t feel like the right home for what we were sharing. Now, don’t hear me say that having “shop” in your name is a bad thing. It’s not at all! This is just what we personally felt in these four walls with our specific story. For us, our name began to make us feel confined, like we had to talk about shop things since that’s what our name was. But, this shop wasn’t created to just sell stuff; it was created to help people. My friend Lindsay and I share a heartbeat. She recently did something similar with her company name and I love what she shared:
“I love making art. I love making it for me, for you, and for the Lord. I believe that He’s given me this gift to bless Him, others, and to steward well. So the solution cannot be quitting. The solution, it seems, is a mind-shift. The solution has to be found in perspective.”
She shifted her perspective from selling art to blessing others with art. And her shift has made a greater impact.
Is selling bad? No way Jose. I believe that God has given us tools and words to help change lives, and the money we make is a tool to help change lives too. We are given all these things to steward well. And for us, to steward what we’ve been given well, we came to the conclusion that we needed a new hometo do it from. We wanted to break free of the title trap, and have a home that fit. We wanted to tell other people’s stories, too–YOUR stories. We wanted to simplify, live well, give big, and help you do the same. We wanted a home that was bigger than just a shop. Because we didn’t start this to run a shop; we started this to run this race of life well and help you do the same.
But, renaming a shop is a big deal. There was so much we’d have to change, and what would the new name be anyway???
Here’s how this conversation went for all of us:
Well, “Cultivate” is our ideal choice. This word has defined the last few years for us. We’ve tilled up the soil, gotten our hands dirty, planted meaningful things, tended to them little by little, and in the last couple months we’ve started to see the fruit. We are cultivating what matters, and the intentional decisions—and little by little imperfect progress–has been worth it.
BUT! Someone else has that domain name, and someone else has the Instagram handle.
So, that’s out. If it’s not perfect, we shouldn’t do it.
I prayed. We mulled. We discussed all kinds of other names. We slept on it (for about five months). But, Cultivate just wouldn’t let us go.
And now I’m in tears typing this. I wasn’t at all expecting them, but I believe this is confirmation from the Lord, once again, that He is in this. This isn’t about a company name; it’s about our lives. Little by little, change has happened. Little by little, God has been teaching me to grow what matters, in whatever season I’m in, with what I have, and that I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting.
‘So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow’ (1 Corinthians 3:7).
God’s three answers to prayer: yes, not yet, and I have something better in mind. His answer to my prayers about our company name was a combo of not yet and I have something better in mind : ) When I let go of chasing “perfect,” I finally found freedom and truth. The name became abundantly clear.
In a meeting, I said it out loud:
Cultivate What Matters.
We all got still.
CultivateWhatMatters.com and CultivateWhatMatters on Instagram just happened to be open. Would it be easier to tell people Cultivate.com? Sure. But, that wasn’t God’s plan. And God’s plans are always better than ours.
Because, you see, it’s not about just growing any old thing. It’s not about doing more or being more. It’s not about striving for perfect, or having it all together. It’s about growing the right things. It’s about growing what you’ve been given right where you are. It’s about growing what lasts longer than you. That’s what matters. And we want to help you get there.
My friend, Andrea, sent me this note a few months ago as I was in the beginning stages of writing my upcoming book, Cultivate (releases next May):
This past Sunday our pastor said something that made me think of you. His sermon was about work and how we serve the Lord through our work. One of his points was that we were designed for work. Work was part of God’s plan even before the curse of the fall. In discussing this he referenced Genesis 2:15 “the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” Then he pointed out that the Hebrew word used here as “cultivate” is `abad and that it is the same word used for “serve” in Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This just really struck me and made me pause and think. I love the idea that the hard work we are doing in cultivating our faith, our lives, our businesses, our children is serving the Lord. I immediately thought of you and your work on Cultivate.
Cultivating what matters means serving, blessing, giving, and finding deep contentment knowing you are right where you re supposed to be, mess and all. Flaws and all. Flowers grow through the dirt, and so do we, friends. And they don’t grow for themselves; they grow to bless others.
So, there you have it. Our new shop and company name is Cultivate What Matters, and we’re so grateful! In sharing this with you, we feel like we’re all coming home.
What’s ahead and when this change will officially happen: In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching the 2017 PowerSheets, the Cultivate What Matters sticker books (these are arriving as I type these words—wait till you see them!), and most importantly, CultivateWhatMatters.com (right now it redirects to the PowerSheets site). The new site will be home to a new inspiration blog, goal accountability groups, live coaching, downloads, and much more. Along with the Cultivate What Matters site launch, we’ll be changing over our Instagram name and social info to match.
And more change to share today—the relaunch of this here website! : ) These past two years have been a season of transition and change, and the glitter and flashiness of the old homepage just wasn’t me anymore. We’ve simplified it and included new photographs thanks to my friend Amy (now that I’m embracing my curls and have a few more kiddos around the house!). On the new home page you’ll find three free guides on Goals, Faith, and Marriage, to equip and encourage you to live out the words of our soon-to-be new company name.
The blog has been revamped, too. I’ve been blogging every week for the last six months, and I wanted to be able to connect with you more easily. A mobile-friendly version of the blog has been needed for a while; no more zooming in to read things. We’ve also made it easier for you to interact in the comments by using your Facebook profile if you choose.
There’s more and a few surprises, but I’ll let you poke around to find them : ) And we know a bunch of stuff isn’t done and there are glitches we need to still fix, but we’re launching anyway!
More about our new company name and our changes on Facebook Live.
There’s more to say and share, but in the name of done being better than perfect, I’ll end with this little prayer that’s on my heart right now:
Thank you, Lord. Oh, Lord, you are GOOD. I just took a big deep content breath. I feel You with us. May these changes, our work, and our imperfect words bring you joy. I’m so grateful for this change, what you are growing in all of our lives, and most of all, for Your transforming grace. AMEN
By His grace my marriage was redeemed.
By His grace we have helped women uncover clarity and direction—and found it ourselves too.
And now, by His grace, we share this story, and invite you to join us to Cultivate What Matters.
Thank you, friends, for all of your love and encouragement as we’ve travelled this journey!
To celebrate, I’m giving away a set of our new Flair pens (for you to use to write meaningful words in lunchbox notes, post-its, in your PowerSheets, or wherever!), and five of our new sticker books that are full of colorful, and genuinely meaningful stickers for your planner, PowerSheets, or wherever you want to use them (for example: put down your phone, drink water, take a day off, rest, and many more). Tell me below: what do you want to cultivate in your life?
We’re entering what we’ve historically called our “busy” season. On the calendar: my site re-launch in a few days, a conference in a week, another site launch that same week, all of our 2017 products launching the week after that, and a magazine coming out the week after that. (And my book manuscript is due in the middle of all of this.) But let me tell you something. Last December, in the thick of Busy Season 2015, we sat together as a team with our PowerSheets and dreamed about what it would be like to do this season differently. To do it well, from full wells. All year, we’ve fought to live out our Year of Well. Living intentionally can be a fight, can’t it? Because it sometimes means you choose to say no, and you choose to grow slow, and you decide that you’re going to do things differently than the rest of the world.
We’ve already faced some things that weren’t in our plans (like PowerSheets being printed incorrectly—not our fault—and having to get everything reprinted), and we’ve set some ambitious goals in launching a new site and completely new shop name and brand. We don’t have it all together, done, and ready to go yet.
But, I sit here and notice that I feel worlds different than I did this time last year. I learned through doing my PowerSheets last year that my worries are always fruitless. Worry was the number one thing I wasted time on. And here I am, writing to you a year later. Something has shifted. I keep landing on this fact: God does not call us to be a mess of stress; He calls us to peace and trust. And not for no reason. When you see someone at peace—truly at peace—in challenges, doesn’t that make you wonder where their peace is coming from?
Photo in my attic office with the “IsaacSonAndDaughters” by Olivia Wolf.
Yes, there’s a lot of work ahead. If you saw my Instagram story a couple days ago, you know my list is long. Yes, our plates are full. But, those plates are also far more balanced than they’ve literally ever been. We planted our Year of Well seeds a year ago, and they are beginning to sprout. The little by little progress, hard conversations, daily decisions, times we’ve fallen flat on our faces and gotten back up, and the many times we’ve decided to do things differently have started to be fruitful.
So, I’m re-titling this season, and not because it’s not a full season. This year, we’re stepping into Harvest Season 2016. Before you cringe, let me take this a level deeper. I do not love the word “harvest” many times. Outside of the farming metaphor, it can have a connotation of sitting at an abundant table and enjoying the fruits of your labor. That’s a small part of it, but to gardeners and farmers the harvest is hard work. My sweet potatoes don’t land on our plates after growing them; we get your hands dirty and dig them out of the ground. We sweat. We muscle into it.
Too many years in a row, I grew grew grew, and got so tired growing things that I didn’t have any time or energy left to get to the finish line. To the gathering at the table where we get to savor and share.I’ve had years where I planted too much, and my tomatoes shriveled up on the vine before I could get the them. Harvest Season 2016 is a season of working with full wells, gathering up what’s been grown by the grace of God, and sharing it with the world—with you. And when we get fall into the busy trap, and lose sight of the big picture, we’re gonna grab hands and get right back to the good work of the harvest together.
If you need someone to come alongside you too, or have no idea were to start in hushing the hustle, we’re going to finish this year well together friends. No perfection required. Remember: it’s in the imperfect mess of the dirt where good things grow, little by little.
I’m making little by little progress on my pressed flower project from garden treasures in every season. I shared more about it here.
Here are this week’s 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters (In no particular order!)
1. Tell someone they matter. Each week in our team meetings, we give what we call “Golden Eggs.” Our office mascot is Henrietta after all. Golden Eggs are words of encouragement given to the team member who did something you thought was remarkable that week. This has been transformative for our team—and for my life. I got several eggs in my basket last week, and it gave me courage to keep going, keep leading, and keep working hard for what matters. Words have power. Just take a look at what happened when these teachers told students how much they appreciated them.
2. Overcome the hustle. My friend Jessica Turner from The Mom Creative is about to launch a new online course that I’m excited about! Stretched Too Thin: A 10-Day Course on Overcoming Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom will help you unpack your struggles and find practical advice to live with more fulfillment and intention. I was grateful to be asked to write a special bonus for the course about Fruitful Friendship. Get a peek and sign up here.
3. Own your accent. What does the way you speak say about where you’re from? This NY Times quiz was shockingly accurate for me. It put me on the map in Mobile, Alabama, which is 30 minutes away from where my parents live and where I grew up. Where did you land on the map? I can’t wait to hear your results!
4. Get after it. It’s not death that most people are afraid of, it’s not really living. Watch this. Oh so good. If you “kinda” want something, you’re going to “kinda” get results.
5. Goal get ’em! On the last Friday of each month, we’re doing our PowerSheets live on Instagram stories for you. You can watch Jess, Amber, Laura, and me do ours here—tons of helpful tips in each video. And here are my October goals. The new 2017 PowerSheets will be open for pre-order in a couple weeks, on November 1st!
6. Stand alone, even when you think no one is watching. He stood alone, prayed, and… God sure did answer. I love what his mom said about imperfect motherhood.
7. Go on a date. Kirsten from Exit Event came to our office a couple weeks ago to interview me about our company culture. Required date nights? Yep.
8. Use your money for something really good. Rhiannon finished her time with us over the summer and started her Young Life ministry. As someone who spent more time with her than anyone over the last two years, I know for sure that God has equipped her to help high school students know God. I wish I would have met a Rhiannon when I was in high school : ) Please consider a monthly donation to her ministry. Your donations will help her continue to do what she’s been called to do.
9. Get unstuck and motivated. Every Wednesday, I’ll be live on Facebook doing Grace-Filled Goal Coaching. This last Wednesday was so much fun with many of you! Catch the replay and join in here. If you “like” the page, you can get notifications when I go live so you don’t miss it each week. We’ll pick up next Wednesday with more!
10. Tell me who you are. I get fired up knowing what makes other people fired up. That’s why I studied music theatre in college: I loved telling people’s stories. And it’s why I became a personal trainer after college: I wanted to help people live their stories well. I’d love to know who you are, or if we’ve met before what’s new in your life, or how you connected with me. Tell me here or in the comments below. I can’t wait to get to know who you are!
P.S. Notice anything new here? : ) Um…. we finally have a mobile version (yes, I’m a little behind the times on updating my site)! Lots more updates happening behind the scenes, a new home page coming, and lots of surprises when my site officially re-launches next Thursday. I’m not planning a huge launch, but I will be telling you our new shop name and plans next Thursday too. I’m excited. It feels like finally coming home.
So, here’s the thing. Yes, you are reading pixels on a screen. But! I’m a real person typing this, and I know you are a real person too–with a story that matters. So, will you tell me about yourself? I’d love to know who you are, or if we’ve met before, what’s new in your life. I’m sharing my thoughts below, and I hope you’ll join me in saying hi too!
I’m Lara. I’m a mom to three (one through the gift of adoption), a grateful wife, and a believer in the “impossible.” I’m the creator of the PowerSheets, a grace-filled goal setting planner, and an unlikely gardener. I am passionate about faith, good goals (here are my goals for 2019!), and helping people get unstuck and un-rushed. I founded the Making Things Happen movement, Cultivate What Matters, and, even though I felt unqualified, I wrote two books. I love the women I work alongside each day, hot boiled peanuts, my garden, exploring local farms, and living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Your turn! Tell me who you are, where you are from, and fires you up.