Have any goals you’re feeling “blah” about?

Maybe you’re craving refreshment in your faith—fresh motivation in Bible reading, or prayer, or perhaps, like me, in trusting God over your worries!

On January 1, we did something together that changed us! We started the year with 31 days of writing the Word. Here’s what happened:

We opened our Bibles together. Yes!
We started a new consistent habit we love.
We had FUN together—making progress on what matters is fun.
Little by little, word by word, our faith grew
.

I’m ready to do it again and I’m inviting you to join me!

Sign up now for the Fresh Faith Challenge!

Starting August 1, with one single verse, we’re going to refresh our faith together. How? A simple and impactful way: writing the Word.  

No devotionals. No study guide workbook homework. We’re going to get right into the Word. (This 1 simple habit has been a game-changer in my faith this year!)

Join me for 31 days of writing out scripture with the Fresh Faith Challenge, starting August 1st!

It’s simple:
1. Order your Write the Word Journal by Monday (July 22) to get it in time for the Challenge to begin—I’m going to be using the new Garden journal if you’d like to join me! (You’re also welcome to go the DIY route—grab some scrap paper and you choose your own verses alongside us!)
2. Register for the free challenge today, and I’ll send you encouraging emails and updates as we go—plus I’ll give you access to our private Facebook group (if you use Facebook)!
3. Get ready for a refreshing month ahead!

When you write the Word in your own messy handwriting, something happens to your brain. You start making decisions about what you’re writing (as opposed to typing it digitally or just reading it and forgetting it five seconds later). When you write scripture, it gets in your heart, no distractions—it’s just you, the Word, and your pen and paper.

The Fresh Faith Challenge: 31 Days of Writing the Word kicks off August 1st and I can’t wait to do this with you! Just enter your email below and you’ll be all set!

Tell me in the comments below if you’re joining in the fun! I’m excited to start this challenge with you!

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You’re more than halfway through 2019!

Have you set any goals you’re feeling “blah” about right now? Perhaps you’re wishing you’d been more consistent in your faith—maybe in Bible reading, prayer, or perhaps, like me, in trusting God over your worries.

Ready for a fresh start with your faith?

LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— I start with a few very special shout-outs from listeners. So glad to have y’all here!
— I tell you a little bit about my story of faith: how I felt so far away from people who talked about “reading the Bible in a year,” or even reading the Bible at all.
— I share some hope: that my turning point came from something very small and very doable, and thousands of other women have grown their faith because of it, too: writing the Word of God.
— I share some scripture that shows us that the Word is all we need: Psalm 119:105, Hebrews 4:12, Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and John 1:1.
— We chat about the stats around handwriting and comprehension. Good news! What you write out yourself, you retain and understand better, which leads to action!
— I give you a scripture to try out writing the word: Psalm 119:11: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Grab a piece of paper and a pen right now!

Interested in some of the things I mentioned throughout this episode? Here you go!

New Write the Word journals launch TODAY! Choose one of our new special edition volumes—Fruit of the Spirit, Worship, or Garden—or one of our refreshed classics: Hope, Joy, Renewal, Contentment, and Faith.
— If you have kiddos, don’t miss our NEW companion Write the Word Kids volume: Fruit of the Spirit!
— Join me for 30 days of writing the Word this August with another round of our popular Fresh Faith Challenge. It’s so easy! Just grab your Write the Word journal of choice (I think I’m going to start Worship!) and join our newsletter list below for encouragement throughout the month. You can join the Cultivate Your Faith Facebook group, too, if you’d like!

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!

WANT AN EMAIL WHEN A NEW EPISODE GOES LIVE? Enter your email address below, and I’ll send you a note when a new episode is up!

I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! Come say hi on Instagram! I love sharing my life with you! And if you loved the outro, don’t miss the “Ari Raps” highlight on my Instagram!

SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Cultivate Your Life podcast on iTunes so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, please leave a quick review on iTunes—it helps other women find this free encouragement! Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the podcast is. I’ll be featuring some of your reviews in a future episode!

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Hooray!!! So many of you have asked if I was going to do another homeschool planner (I’m so glad you loved the first one!) and I’m delighted to share that it’s HERE!

Enter your email below for your free download! It may take a few minutes to land in your inbox! 😊NEW in this year’s free planner download:
—The new planner is UNDATED so you can start anytime, print one month at a time if you like, or set up your whole school year the way you love it.
—New artwork throughout—it’s so pretty!
—Just like the PowerSheets Goal Planner, simple and intuitive pages created to help you focus on what matters most. Pick and choose which pages work best for you!

How to print your planner:
Download your free planner. Once you enter your email above, you’ll get access to a folder with all the pages you need! Click the sections you’d like and hit “download.” Voila!
Print what you love for your homeschool needs. Some people love having just an attendance record and monthly pages, and some people (me!) love all the fun pages, too. Choose what’s best for you and you can always add pages in as you go! (Keep in mind: if you want a year of teal monthly divider pages, print 12 of that divider page. If you want 9 monthly sections, print that section 9 times—you get the idea! Organize your pages the way YOU want them and enjoy!)
Printing tips: I had mine printed and spiral bound at a local printer which was significantly less expensive than FedEx Kinkos, and much better quality. I had them size mine down to 7.5 x 10. Printing on a home printer and using a three-ring binder is a great option, too. You could also print on your home printer and have it spiral bound at your local print shop!

Curious about how we homeschool? Read my post from last year—we’re still on the same path!

I hope this free download gives you great joy—and helps you focus on what matters most to you and your students!

Your turn! Do you homeschool? Considering it, but not sure where to start? Have tips or favorite resources for newbies? Share below!

P.S. Mark your planners: NEW Write the Word Journals are coming in 13 days—including a brand new volume for KIDS! We use Write the Word for Kids in our homeschool and Grace can’t wait to use the new one! 

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We’re 3 days away from the half-way point of 2019!

Does that fact catch you a little, as it does me?
Maybe time feels like it’s flying and you aren’t where you want to be at this mid-point of the year.

You’re craving refreshment, but you feel like it’s too late.
You’re too overwhelmed to get motivated again! You just want to take a nap.

I know these feelings! Traditional goal setting would tell you to WORK HARDER, strive, wear yourself out, or try to convince you that it is too late.

Cue the CRAZY TRAIN BRAKES!

Making the most of the second half of 2019 doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. In fact, it’s quite simple! It starts with one small step. Then another. Then another. (And you can totally nap in between!)

This month, we’re going to focus on the power of little by little progress together—it really does add up. And taking small steps forward is FUN! Making progress on the things that matter to us feels really good!

Hehe. These words make me giggle!

We don’t need any more towels added to our laundry piles, do we, friends!? 😁 We’re going to make the most of the rest of 2019—no matter how it started. We’re going to take it slow and act intentionally, knowing we’ll be so thankful for our small steps forward come December 31!

A quick progress update from my June PowerSheets goals and what I learned. I hope this encourages you to celebrate even the tiny victories!

Little by little progress on my June PowerSheets above!

June Monthly Goals:
— Seek His wisdom, ask for His wisdom, pass on His wisdom. / Progress! From our Summer Team Summit to teaching to speaking at a conference this month, I was very grateful for the opportunity to be stretched as a leader, rely on His strength instead of my own, and pass on good things!
— Enjoy the garden. / Listen in to Episode 21 of the podcast for an update!
— Train leaders—pass on wisdom. / Yes! We made some great strides in our company this month putting people in new leadership positions. It has been hard work, but so worth it.
— Dig into summer homeschool. / Yes! We are taking it slow this summer and have enjoyed it!
— Do all of the new goal guides! / I thought I’d be able to do these in the long car rides through the mountains with Ari, but the mountains were so captivating, I couldn’t look down at anything! We did complete the Couples Goal Guide, though, and it was AWESOME! We had the best month of marriage ever in June! Praising Him for this.
— Learn to number my days (life is short—play in the sprinklers!) / Yes! We played in lots of creeks and had a ton of fun on our hiking trip!

I was so grateful to be asked to be a judge for the Children’s Business Fair in June! These young ladies and gents were SO inspiring!

June Weekly Goals:
Sabbath rest / Yes, we have loved this.
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging things to grow! Ha! / You all laughed at this goal, but it was so fruitful! I did lots of small little things to spread joy, like getting peaches from the Peach Truck for the ladies I work with on the first day of summer and surprising the kids with ice cream on our hiking trip! I’m continuing this goal in July, too!
— Love people well. / We had many opportunities to do this in June—hosting my women’s small group, giving peaches away to neighbors, praying for friends, and small steps I took in relationships to make people feel loved.
— Simplify + systemize my work. / SO MUCH PROGRESS HERE! When you get clear about your goals (like we do with PowerSheets!), your efforts become more simple and streamlined. There’s not as much time wasted because you are using it well!
— Finish reading Letters to the Church, Rocket Fuel, and The Out of Sync Child. / I finished Rocket Fuel, am one chapter away from being done with Letters to the Church, and I’m continuing The Out of Sync Child in July.

We celebrated Emily Thomas‘ 10-year working anniversary last weekend!

June Daily Goals:
Write the Word (P.S. Brand new Write the Word journals are coming July 17 and they are so good!) / Yes, progress!
— Bible reading. / Still my number 1 goal! I can’t wait to celebrate at the end of the year with the group of women I’m reading with! I love texting with them every morning about what we’re reading.
— Run!! / I am so pumped to say I made progress here! I ran maybe 5 times this month, and I call that a big win!
— Read aloud to the kids. / Yes! Little by little progress here, too.

So many of you took steps forward on your goals at this mid-point of the year—and we loved adding you to the Goal Getters wall in our office!

Don’t miss these from June:
Two of your favorite podcast episodes launched in June: 10 Things We’ve Made Happen (And Some We Didn’t!) and How To Say No were two of the most popular episodes! Be sure to listen to them in order—they go together and they are so fun.
Learn how to make the second half of 2019 count—no matter how it started—in MY FAVORITE LIVE CLASS I’VE EVER DONE (thanks to YOU bringing the party!).
Join me for the ultimate way to set yourself up for success in 2020! Cultivate Your Year LIVE Tickets went on sale this week and close in a few hours. I can’t wait to see so many of you there!

On to July! It’s a new month and I’m so grateful for the PowerSheets summer refresh—it was right on time! I’m excited to dig into these July PowerSheet goals.

New goals for July!

July Monthly Goals:
— #GoalSettingIsFUN! — Moving forward on the things that matter feels great and it can be a lot simpler than you think! Follow Cultivate What Matters on Instagram for easy #GoalSettingIsFUN tips all month long.
— Write the book with JOY! — Yes, I’m writing a book this month! After two years, it’s finally happening. Sometimes, you just have to wait and wait and wait some more for the Lord’s timing. I’m so grateful for the waiting that got me ready for this month! Any guesses what book this is??? ☺️
— Summer fun with the kids. — We’re working through our summer bucket list from the Cultivate shop and it has been so simple and fun. Next on our list: picking blueberries today at a farm we love!
— Be a generous host. My mom AND Gina are coming to visit this month for big chunks of time and I want to love them so well! (Gina is coming to photograph our 2020 PowerSheets Collection that launches in October! Yahoo!!!)
— Finish The Out of Sync Child. We have a sweet kiddo with Sensory Processing Disorder and this book has been incredibly helpful so far.
— Release the NEW Cultivated Homeschool Planner. SO MANY OF YOU have asked about this and emailed me wondering if there’s a new one coming. We are only days away from releasing the new one and it’s so good! Stay posted—it’s coming so soon! UPDATE: The NEW Homeschool Planner is HERE!!
— Make our fall homeschool plans.
Work heartily for Q4. — I’m working ahead so I can do work with excellence and clear out my time around the holidays.

July Weekly Goals:
— Sabbath: surrender and be renewed
— Lead the kids to the Word
Write the Word for Kids with Grace (there’s a new volume coming for kids on July 17th! (Text CULTIVATEFAITH to 55222 for sneak peeks every week!) UPDATE: The NEW Write the Word Journals are HERE!
— Spread joy around like manure—encouraging young things to grow! : )

July Daily Goals:
— Bible reading
— Run! Praise!
— Slow down and soak in the summer
— Write the Word at night. — And mark your calendars, friends! The Fresh Faith Challenge (31 days of writing the Word) starts again August 1 and I can’t wait to do it with you!

Your turn! Do you have goals for July? Comment below and I’ll pick one of you to send a special surprise box of goodies to from the Cultivate What Matters Shop! I love sending real mail, and I love hearing your thoughts! 

P.S.  Now is the PERFECT TIME to start a 6-month set of PowerSheets. Buy yours today for 30% off—no code needed!

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Need a quick fix for a flooded inbox? Climbing Mount Email can be daunting—it feels at times like you’ll never actually get through it. Just when you think you’ve reached the summit, you receive a dozen more emails and have to keep climbing. Argh!

I know how you feel! We just went on an epic hiking trip in the [non-metaphorical] mountains with our kids. The one catch? No cell service. This has its great advantages, but there was one disadvantage: no way to take 5 minutes during our trip to flag things, quickly reply where needed, and delete things to make it easy for my return.

Here’s how I quickly got to 0 in my post-vacation inbox this week—and how you can conquer your inbox every week using 3 simple email hacks!

  1. Speak your emails instead of typing them. This will cut your reply time in half! The free voice to text plug-in for Gmail (for Chrome) is magical! I dictate most of my text messages and email replies on my phone (faster and hands-free) and I do the same on my desktop. It takes a short period of getting used to speaking your words and adding punctuation (“Hi comma Emily exclamation point”), but once you get the hang of it after a couple of tries, you won’t go back! I sometimes correct a couple of things or change formatting here and there manually, but using the text-to-type function cuts my typing time in half. Big win!
  2. Canned responses in Gmail. There’s nothing canned about them! When I bake, I start with a recipe and I add various things to it depending on what sounds good—or what the kids like! A little extra cinnamon, allspice, almond extract to pancake mix makes them doubly delicious. This is how I look at Canned Responses for Gmail. You start with a structure and customize it to suit the needs of the relationship or situation at hand. For example, I still get tons of press releases for wedding things from our days with Southern Weddings. I have a canned response handy to let these agencies know about our transition and thank them kindly for their note. This helps me love people well and quickly—with links and text ready to go!
  3. Give your replies a personal touch—and reply faster—by sending a voice memo. I have done this for years! I get a lot of longer-form emails from friends and readers. This is one of the joys of my work to be able to send a personal response, not just through a typed email, but using my voice. Using the voice memo app on my Mac gives a personal touch and it’s faster than typing an epic response to personal life and goal challenges. Just open Voice Memos, record, and attach to your emails!

Bonus tip: If you don’t know about keyboard shortcuts on your phone, DO IT NOW. For instance, I’m often thanking readers and telling them, “I’m so grateful you’ve been encouraged!” in comments. I made a short code. I just type in “ggg” and that sentence populates. These are words from my heart and I can spend less time on my phone by using this shortcut!

I have long said to myself in times of inbox overload that email is just a bunch of decisions to make, so make decisions! I’m passing that same encouragement to you. I hope these 3 tips help you to not just get your email done, but to love people well as you do!

Your turn! Do you have an email hack that helps you? I’d love to know!

P.S. I have a LIFE hack for you, too!

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