First, black lives matter.

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The halfway point of the year is coming and—maybe you’re feeling the same way?—I’m craving a life refresh. The first half of this year has been… a lot: tragic and difficult and beautiful and life-changing all rolled into a few very unexpected months.

I’m ready to mark a new start—to refresh my mind, my focus, and my next steps. I want to finish this year cultivating what matters more than I ever have before. Join me and thousands of women for The Mid-Year Refresh, starting June 8th. I am so ready for this and already brainstorming how I’ll refresh my and my family’s lives that week!

Mark your calendar for The Mid-Year Refresh and let’s get you ready for June. Listen to the June PowerSheets PrepCast below. Be guided step-by-step to prepare for the month ahead—with great music and time out in the garden:

Here’s a quick recap of my May PowerSheets progress and what I’m focusing on in June!

May Monthly Goals:
Renew my mind / I needed this! I continued listening to this audiobook, consistently listened to the Dwell app, stopped reading the news as much as I had been, and started talking to a local Christian counselor. In such a time as this, keeping our minds focused on hope and truth has never been more needed. I will continue this focus in June—and forever!?
Enjoy the garden / Things are growing! Listen in.
Continue writing in our Legacy Journal for the kids. / Yes! Learn how to make yours here.
Prepare for the book launch. / After two years of this sprouting and growing, I’m sharing the title and cover with you on June 9! HOORAY!
Share the hope I have / Yes, namely with our children this month. I spent many evenings sharing stories with them of God’s faithfulness and writing to them here.

Mid-month progress!

May Weekly Goals:
Pray over it all—give it to God / I have certainly cried out to God a lot this month and studied what it means to rely on Him. Reading Psalms (and listening to them on the Dwell app) has been a way to do this well.
Look at the birds / YES! As evidenced by my confession in this episode.
Make our quarantine scrapbook / I’ve made a little progress here (read how to make your own and get a printable list of prompts!) and set an hour on Sunday to do this with the kids.
— Organize our family photos (I bought this course from Nancy—my first course purchase ever!) / I have made 0 progress here because I wanted to be away from my computer as the month went on. I’ll resume this later in the summer!

May Daily Goals: progress on all below, especially writing the Word! I finished the Hope journal and just started one of our brand new Write the Word journals that comes out on June 24th!
— Bible reading
Write the Word
— Read the footnotes
— Workout + worship

In case you missed these!
— Listen to how you can cultivate what matters with your kids this summer.
— Read all about the basics of building a legacy with smalls steps that build over time. Learn practical ways to cultivate legacy with your PowerSheets, in the garden, with legacy journal prompts, and keeping a simple quarantine scrapbook during this time.
— Check out the NEW Homeschool Planner Pre-Order. I’m thrilled we’re offering a printed version mailed right to your door this year!
— Shop the whole NEW Summer Collection and Girls Goal Planner in the Cultivate Shop!
— Listen in to the June PowerSheets PrepCast and kick off your 2020 2.0 with me.
— Browse Cultivate’s Resource Page full of free tools to help you navigate change during this time.
— Download new Wildcard pages to re-energize your goals this summer

On to June! I have 2 goals for 2020 (each with 4 mini goals under them) that are focused on growing something that matters to me in the big picture. Each month, I’m breaking my yearly goals down using my PowerSheets®. Here’s what’s on my Tending List for the month ahead.

June Monthly Goals:
— Do the Mid-Year Refresh! Get ready—I’m excited to do this with you!
— Start new work hours—happening Monday! Today is my last official day working full-time hours. I’ll be finishing work at 4 starting Monday for the foreseeable future (I’ve worked till 6 most days for the majority of my career). This feels like a monumental change for me and our family and I’m grateful the Lord led us here!
— Prepare for our week in the mountains. We don’t know if trails will be too crowded to hike, but we’re going to try our best to get out there!
— Reveal the book! I can’t wait to share on June 9!
— Prep for 2021 shoot. This year’s big collection shoot will obviously be a little different logistically and we are up for the challenge. So far, we’re planning an all-outdoor shoot with only solo shots and lots of creative fun!
— Create a new homeschool rhythm. I can’t wait to use this to do some dreaming for all of our kiddos!
— Lead our children to DELIGHT. More in this episode!

We did a FaceTime photo session with Gina!

May Weekly Goals:
— Shabbat
— Continue writing in our Legacy Journal for the kids
— Renew my mind
— Enjoy the garden

May Daily Goals:
— Bible reading
Write the Word
— Read the footnotes
— Take care of my body and mind

Your turn! How are you doing? What goals—big or very small—are you focusing on in June? I’d love to hear!

P.S. Join me on June 9! : )

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Summer this year is going to look a little different than it usually does. Camp may be canceled, vacations postponed… but you still want to make it a season to remember! Does that mean more plans, more activities, more circus-directing from you, the mom? No, my friend, it does not. Today’s episode is all about what it looks like to cultivate what matters with your kids this summer—let’s talk!

LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:
— We begin by acknowledging that summer feels overwhelming to many of us right now. Accepting where we are is helpful—we can move forward from there!
— I encourage you to think big-picture about even something as simple as the summer ahead. Knowing what matters and acting accordingly is your recipe for success this summer (instead of disappointment over what you didn’t do, or the weeks passing in a blur).
— If you start with what matters, you have the freedom to be creative about how you live it out. Even if your plans don’t go exactly as planned, you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction.
— What do you want to cultivate this summer? What do you want this summer to feel like? Write your answer down right now—then tack it up somewhere you’ll see it every day!
— For example, I’m focusing this summer on “delight” with my children, and I give you a few examples of what that might look like for us. Maybe your focus will be on reading together, or getting dirty outside, or telling family stories, or kindness, or developing connections with loved ones.
— We talk about what our kids will learn from watching us roll with the punches as we focus on the big picture. Hint: it’s good things!
— I encourage you to keep summer fun at the ready—this will lessen your need to make plans. (I tell you about my Shabbat basket, too!) What would you put in your summer basket? Or a summer basket for your kids? Remember: make it easy, easy, easy!
— We talk about making this the summer of noticing—of the quiet around us, and the tangles in our own hearts. I’m hearing in my heart what matters so much more. Take notice of that in your own heart. What do you want to keep from this time?
— We talk about the opportunity presented by “The Great Pause.” As you move back into “normal” (whenever that may be), think carefully about what you want to bring back into your life. I share some of my thoughts on this, too.

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!
— Start with this post in the legacy series (this one is my favorite!).
— More about my Word of the Yeardelight!
— Looking for a good book for your summer fun basket? Here are a few picks from Team Cultivate.
— My PowerSheets®—where I get clear on my big picture! Start your undated set today (and grab a Girls Goal Planner for your little one, too!)
— Some of the things I’m keeping.
— Our quarantine scrapbook, and pandemic journal prompts for you!
— The viral essay I quoted from is Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting* by Julio Vincent Gambuto. I’m not going to link it because it has some language, but it’s easily Googleable!

LOVE THE PODCAST? SHARE IT! Text, email, carrier pigeon—share this episode with friends however you like! This episode is really special, so I hope you’ll share it with someone you love! Feel free to grab one of these graphics to post about it, too!

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If you have kids who are old enough to be aware that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, navigating and shepherding their emotions and questions adds another whole layer to your family’s experience of COVID-19. It can feel defeatingwill they grow up anxious? Are they being permanently harmed by this?

I have really good news for you today, friends. Research has shown that exactly the opposite is true, if you’re able to frame this current challenge in the big picture for our kids! I’ve got an easy and fun way to do that to share with you today, but first, a little backstory:

In this fantastic article, the author explains that psychologists have found every family has a unifying narrative, and those narratives take one of three shapes: the ascending narrative (the family trajectory proceeds upward without any road blocks), the descending narrative (“we used to have it all, then we lost everything”), and the most healthful narrative: the oscillating family narrative. “We’ve had ups and downs as a family,” this one goes, “we’ve had setbacks and triumphs, but through it all, we stuck together and came out stronger.”

In that same study, researchers found that the more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. How much kids knew about their family stories turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

WOW! Not friendships, or extracurricular activities, or grades, or life circumstances, or genetic makeup. Telling family storiesthat’s something we all can do! A willingness to tell family stories might end up being one of your most important legacies of all.

Why you’ll love making a quarantine scrapbook:

Claiming the narrative of your days right nowtalking to each other about what’s hard, where you’re thriving, and how you’ll come through this stronger as a familyis part of building your legacy. In doing so, you’ll show your kids that their best years don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they won’t be! Their best yearsand yoursare built on character. They are marked by resilience. They are filled with gratitude and grace (for yourselves and others).

A really easy way to tell the story of this time is through a quarantine scrapbook. I’m not really a traditional scrapbooker, but we’ve been working on one with the kids for the last few weeks and it has been a sweet way to cultivate gratitude, talk through how everyone’s feeling, and notice the good all around us. In that way, our scrapbook is both a time capsule AND a helpful tool for today!

My best tips for making a simple quarantine scrapbook:

Gather easy materials—perhaps things you already have! You can use a binder and regular printer paper (with page protector sleeves or just loose!), a college-rule notebook (decorate the cover!), a mini handmade “book” with craft paper and a stapler, or a regular scrapbook album and sleeves. Use whatever is easy and accessible! You’ll think less over time about how perfectly crafted it is and more about how meaningful it is.

Keep it simple. Use these prompts and let your kids run with them. If you are making this yourself for younger kids, let them doodle to decorate some pages and help you paste photos in.

Make it easy to access. Assemble a box with supplies that you keep out near your table or wherever you have space to work on it in your fringe hours or on the weekend.

Choose a regular time to do it. Maybe Saturday morning or late in the day when everyone needs a snack and some time at the table to relax with a craft—or once a month! Pick what works for you and you’ll be so grateful for that forethought!

Include bonus materials. Photographs, pressed flowers or leaves from neighborhood walks, cards from friends, newspaper clippingsall will add a fun textural twist! Social Print Studio does a great job printing Instagram photos or quick snaps from your phone (use code 0LARACHLN1 for $5 off your first order!).

Remember: you don’t have to do this forever, or for the duration of this pandemic. Document several weeks or months OR a single month of “pandemic life”— that’s plenty to capture what this time was like!

Your turn: if you have kids, how have you helped them through this pandemic? I’d love to hear what’s worked for your family!

Previously in this series:
The Basics of Building a Legacy
Cultivate Legacy: In the Garden
Cultivate Legacy: Using Your PowerSheets to Plant Legacy
Cultivate Legacy: How to Make a Pandemic Legacy Journal

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They did this.

They lived through a pandemic, and went on to live meaningful lives after! Oh how I would love to hear their first-hand encouragement as people who have been in our shoes.

I wish I could call them right now!

I want to gather their strength.
Soak in their wisdom.
Feel their faith and have them build up mine.
Get a good talkin-to when I need it : )
And hear their stories to give courage to my own.

Grandpa Cecil and Grandma Celeste planted many seeds of legacy in our lives: a Bible with scribbled notes to each other jotted in the margins. Memoirs typed out by my grandfather (on an actual typewriter!). Photographs passed down to us that say more than a thousand words.

These mementos likely felt like small things to them at the time, things that didn’t take much effort or time. But, these small treasures have made enormous impacts on my family from generation to generation—and they’re still resonating today!

When this pandemic began, I knew just what to do. I wanted to capture this time. I wanted to give today’s strength, wisdom, faith, and courage to our children—and their children—as we were living it in a Legacy Journal.

You know now: cultivating legacy is simple. It starts with small steps that add up over time. Cultivating legacy can happen in so many ways, which is part of the fun of it! It can be grown in the ground (literally), through intentional plans, in photographs, kindness witnessed, and, among many things, through stories told and written.

How to make your own Pandemic Legacy Journal:

It’s so simple!

1. Choose a journal. Here’s the one I’m using!
2. Decide if you’ll include photographs. We’ve been using our Fuji Instax Mini, but the prints were a little thick, so I started using these photo strips, too. I’ve loved this company for years! (Get $5 off first order with code 0LARACHLN1)
3. Choose what you’ll write. To help make it simple for you, we made a free, downloadable list of pandemic journal prompts. No more hesitation over what to write, whether you consider yourself a “writer” or not—just follow our prompts!

Why you’ll love making your own legacy journal:

Ari and I have loved writing in this journal, especially on the weekends when we’re spending more time than usual watching the kids play in the front yard.

Adding to this simple journal has brought us unexpected refreshment. We’ve cultivated gratitude and noticed the good as we’ve written these pages for them. You’ll love doing this, too!

Those memoirs about farm life and faith typed out by my grandpa? I read part of them to the kids last night. They loved it, and asked so many questions. I imagine them doing the same with this special journal and their own kids one day, too.

Your turn! Have you been recording this unique season in any way? I’d love to hear!

Previously in this series:
The Basics of Building a Legacy
Cultivate Legacy: In the Garden
Cultivate Legacy: Using Your PowerSheets to Plant Legacy

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I never thought I’d see the day, but suddenly, almost every one of my mama friends is in the same homeschool boat with me—at least temporarily! School closures due to COVID-19 have upended many-a-plan this spring and beyond. While I’d never wish these circumstances on any of us, it’s been a joy to field questions from friends and offer a few tips and suggestions from our last few years together at home.

Whether you’re leading your kiddos’ education at home temporarily for the first time or you’re a committed and experienced homeschool mom, I’m excited to share today’s announcement!

Yes, the Cultivated Homeschool Planner is back in the shop, along with our whole summer collection! While you can still download the digital version for free (here!), we’re thrilled to now give you the option to save on printing costs with a copy mailed to your door in the NEW print version!

Isn’t this year’s cover BEAUTIFUL!? I love it so much!

So many of you have asked if we were going to create another homeschool planner (you loved the first two versions!). More than that, though, you’ve asked if we would also make a printed version… and that day has come! Printing things at home or through a local printer works well sometimes, but for a large planner like this, it’s expensive to go the DIY route!

This pre-order is for the complete set of printed loose-leaf pages. Choose your favorite binder, and voila! You can organize the pages and sections however they work best for you and your students.

When I began our homeschool adventure, I needed a simple system to stay focused on our big picture goals while getting the day-to-day learning done, too. Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by homeschool planning or, you’re unexpectedly a new homeschooling mama (!), this planner will bring clarity, focus, and ease to your days during this season.

Wishing you so much JOY as you grow the hearts you’ve been entrusted with and as you learn together!

Pre-order now and your printed planner pages will ship the week of June 8!

Your turn! Have tips or favorite resources for new homeschoolers? Share below!

P.S. Check out the NEW Girls Goal Planner (launching today!) and Write the Word for Kids. We use both in our homeschool and Grace loves them!

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