There’s something in your life you’re considering letting go of.

But something is holding you back from making a decision.
You want the perfect plan, outcome, or path before taking that leap.
You want assurance that you’re making the right decision—and that everything will work out well when you do.

I’m pulling back the curtain today on the story of letting go of Southern Weddings, about the day we were going to be at $0—and the surprising thing that happened next.

It’s okay to let go of a dream to make room for a new one! Listen in to learn how.

In this episode:

— I begin by telling you a story – the story of Southern Weddings Magazine. It’s a story that’s deeply entwined with the story of my life – my grandparents’ legacy in the South, my husband going to war, my marriage, and so much more.
— I tell you about the crossroads we came to in 2017 – with two growing, successful businesses, both doing good work that was changing people. I answer the question, “Why couldn’t you just do it all?”
— I walk you through the questions we asked to decide whether this was the right decision, the one God desired for us, and then, once the decision was made, how we prepared to tell our audience – and what the announcement day was like for our team.
— Then, I tell you about the season that followed – possibly the hardest one we’ve ever faced as a team. I tell you about the one bow I REALLY wanted to place on the top – and about the fruit we received instead.
— Are you walking through your own season of transition? I’m grateful to share with you seven simple steps that might help you move forward if you’re facing an important decision.
— I also pass along three tips that gave me the strength to keep going in our difficult season. I needed them all!
— By the end of the episode, I hope you’ll see that endings can be new beginnings, and that it’s okay to have more than one dream. You can do hard things, and you can write a new story!

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

Here’s the post I shared on the day we announced the new chapter for Southern Weddings.
— The Southern Weddings archives are still alive and well – visit them here!— I mention my books – Make It Happen and Cultivate (buy them both together!).
— I also mention PowerSheets – a crucial tool that helps me uncover my best decisions and then walk them out day by day.
— Here’s a peek at the “peach shoot” and the “strawberry shoot” – two of my favorites!
— The Sweet Tea Society manifesto.
— I share my love for Fearrington. Visit if you’re ever in North Carolina!
— Here’s where you can find more information about C12. Meeting with my group is a highlight every month!
— Many of you have asked about the beloved (and now sold-out) Southern Weddings Planner. I’m thrilled to say we are working on a solution to get it back in your hands. Sign up to be the first to hear more:

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!

6WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

You’ve done a lot so far this year.

You’ve faced a lot of challenges.
You’ve checked a lot of boxes.
You’ve gone to many places (even if just to the grocery store many times over!).
You’ve made a lot of decisions.
You’ve made progress on your goals!

But, there are a few things that don’t seem to be moving forward, no matter how hard you try. In fact, it feels like you’ve gone a few steps backwards.

And that’s frustrating—to want something so much but feel like you’re making reverse progress! Like there’s nothing to show for all of your effort.

Let’s step into my garden for a minute. When I plant a seed, I often come out the next day hoping to see that it’s sprouted. I can’t help it! I’m so excited to see that little hint of green in the soil, signifying new life. But, many times I run outside to check on my seeds, and do you know what I see?

NOTHING.
Dirt.
After all that work of cultivating the soil, and getting on my knees planting those tiny seeds, and watering them, there’s nothing to show for it.

But, if we went below the surface of the soil together, you’d see something miraculous. Do you know what’s happening beneath the surface when you plant a seed? EVERYTHING! It’s letting go of its outer shell. It’s soaking up water and nutrients to be able to throw out its first roots. And it’s getting ready to press toward the LIGHT at just the right time.

Whatever it is for you that you wish would happen yesterday, imagine this: what if waiting is a time of ripening? Perhaps your trials are the very things that will bring you to a day where you can’t help but stand in awe and say, All of that time waiting—I was actually growing, even though I couldn’t see it above the surface! Thank you, God! Thank you!

In April we had a Spring product shoot, the Gardening 101 class, our team summit, welcoming 3 new team members, planting our office garden—the list goes on!

This month was a turning point for me. I didn’t manufacture it or plan it or expect it. I really wanted the turning point to happen months ago. But, no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t happen. Until last week. That seed you plant—that step of obedience to say no to something or close a chapter or start something new—may not grow above the surface right away. Give it time. It’s okay to grow slow.

I’m at the Carolina coast with our family right now, typing this to you during nap time, so in lieu of my monthly video update, I’ve noted my PowerSheets progress below!

April Monthly Goals:
— Pray over everything—ask God / There were larger decisions to be made in April, from hiring three new team members to products and projects—and many personal things, too. I may think I have the best answer, but He always does! Even in times when it seemed like I was constantly stopping meetings and interrupting decision-making, I had to stop to pray and ask Him first.
— Do my Making Things Happen action items. / You may only see a little progress marked on this one above, but rather than say, “I didn’t make much progress!” I’m claiming PROGRESS! Little by little adds up.
— Make our home come alive. / I played more great music for the kids, we read more books, we got outside more (when #Pollenmageddon wasn’t in full force here in North Carolina!), and generally enjoyed the warmer air and blessing of our home and each other.
— Teach the Gardening 101 live class! / Yes! Done!
— Plant our garden. / Not done. I decided to wait till we get back from the beach next week to get started.
— Train leaders. / Our Team Summit was Spirit-led and a turning point for all of us. Praising Him for this!

April Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath.
— Read Letters to the Church with Ari / We hit pause on this book temporarily in favor of another book Ari wanted to dig into. I’m excited to get back to it!
— Sing for joy to the Lord. / From our church’s singing night last week to many hymns sung over the kiddos, I’ve so enjoyed this!
— Read lovely words to the kids. / Yes, we’ve read lots of great stories and I purposefully brought a giant stack of books on vacation with us, too! This will be my summer focus, as well.
— Sabbath: renew our hearts and minds. / Yes, I’m still loving “Shabbat naps with Josh,” and Passover was especially sweet this year.
— Pray for the Lord to use us to meet needs. / We opened our NCF fund! Progress!

April Daily Goals: / Little by little progress was made on all of these below. not perfect progress, but perfect isn’t the goal!
— Old Testament Bible Reading (Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan? :))
— Write the Word at night before bed
— Sleep
— Analog evenings
— Work it out!

April’s podcast episodes you don’t want miss:
How To Start A Garden
You have to Pull Out Old Plants From Last Year Before You Can Plant New Ones
You’ve Planted Seeds But Haven’t Seen Anything Above Ground

The Gardening 101 Class may have included an unexpected introduction to a chicken! Learn how to grow your own garden in my NEW class!

On to MAY!
—Need help prioritizing what to spend time doing (and not doing!) in May? Download this FREE Yes/No List.
—Looking for inspiration to kick start your goals? You’ll love these stories.
—Need some reassurance that your hard work will pay off? This episode is for you!

It’s a new month and I’m grateful! I forgot to bring my Goal Setting Sticker Book on vacation, though, so color-coding my PowerSheets goals will happen when I return! 🙂 I’m excited to dig into these May goals!

May Monthly Goals:
— Love the Word (above all else!)
— Make our family summer plans
— Train team members (2 Corinthians 3:2 is my verse for this!)
— Make our summer homeschool plan
— Plant the garden + Josh’s farm

May Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath.
— Sabbath: renew our hearts and minds
— Do something for the joy of it—HIS joy!
— Be in the Word with Ari

May Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading
— 10k steps every day
— Read aloud to our kids
— Write the Word 
— Exercise it out!

Your turn! Do you have goals for May? 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! Congrats to April’s winner, Victoria!

P.S. Get FREE SHIPPING on orders over $50 today through May 6th (no code needed)! There’s nothing magical about January 1—get your PowerSheets and Write the Word journals today! Here are some of our favorite Mother’s Day picks to help you choose the best gifts, too.

Affiliate links are used in this post.

4WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

So, you want to start a garden. Plant lady that I am, I’m thrilled for you! But, do I sense a bit of overwhelm? There’s just so much information out there, and so many resources. You just want to be told how to get started, in plain language. You want to know:

what to plant
when to plant it
how not to kill it.

I may be an unlikely gardener (I’ve killed plenty of plants in my day!), but over the years I’ve kept trying and trying again. The lessons I’ve learned, and the beauty I’ve experienced with my family in the garden, have kept me moving forward. No matter how far from green your thumb is, YOU can become a gardener, too. Let’s talk! LISTEN NOW!

In this episode:

— You’ll hear a little bit about my history as a gardener (dead plants and all), and why I love getting my hands dirty.
— I tell you about the Gardening 101 LIVE class we’re offering for the first time ever. I’ve helped hundreds of people start and tend to their first gardens, and I want to do the same for you! Register here. We’re going to have so much fun, and by the end you’ll be ready to get started with a garden of your own and – best of all! – you’ll know how NOT to kill your plants.
— You’ll hear about my first year of gardening, and the classic mistake I made – and how I’ve course corrected since then.
I’ll tell you about my gardening WHY and help you find yours. Is it for food? Teaching? Fun? Beauty? Filling vases? Attracting butterflies, birds, and bees? Let’s find out!

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

— You can learn everything you need to know to start your own garden in my new, LIVE Gardening 101 class. It’s on April 16th, and if you can’t join live, the replay is yours to watch whenever you’d like! Register now.
— I wrote a whole chapter in Cultivate about all the plants I’ve killed. There’s hope for you, too! : )
For Garden’s Sake is my favorite local nursery. If you’re in the Triangle, pay them a visit!
— We chatted a bit about how our garden fuels my homeschooling with Grace. Here’s my homeschool planner – a free download!

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!

0WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

Feel like you’ve been working hard but you’re not seeing the results that… let’s just say it… that she has?

Imagine what would have happened if the flowers in my garden took a look at themselves and thought, “Hmm. I’m not growing as straight or tall as that flower next to me. She sprouted faster. My leaves aren’t perfect. I GIVE UP! Maybe I’ll just go back in the dirt!” OR if I gave up on tending to them altogether. We would miss out on the blooms to come—blooms that were set to unfurl in their own unique and perfect timing.

It’s okay to grow slow. Keep taking steps toward what you can’t yet see. Your breakthrough might just be one more step away. And if it ends up being twenty steps away, it will be worth it, too!

—Here are 18 pep talks on how to embrace little by little progress.
—It’s never too late to start! This video series will help you make progress on your goals whether or not you’re a PowerSheets user.
—How to Get Unstuck with Your Goals.
—If you haven’t already, complete your Spring PowerSheets Goal Refresh (page 96). We walked through these pages LIVE in the PowerSheets Facebook community.
—Join April’s Little by Little Challenge!

My March PowerSheets progress

And now… a recap of my progress on my March PowerSheets® goals and what I learned! The 56th Making Things Happen Conference was the BEST YET! In place of doing another MTH in the fall like we typically do, we have a surprise event up our sleeves set for early December. Ahhhhhh just wait!

Photo by Rachel Coffey

Be sure you’re on this newsletter list so you can be the first to know details and when early-bird tickets go on sale!


That was fun! In this video I share how I made progress on my goals with my PowerSheets Goal Planner. Links I mentioned in the video:
—My husband went viral in this video
— I love the color coding system in the Goal Setting Sticker Book.
— Many friends have great books coming out: The Middle Matters, Letters from a Big Sister, A Love Letter Life, The Next Right Thing, Grumpy Mom Takes a Holiday, and Empowered.
—We celebrated 13 years—here’s our story.
My interview with Jamie Ivey on The Happy Hour.
—The Carolina Inn is magical.
—I’m hiring for a very special position

We enjoyed an unforgettable meal at Crossroads at the Carolina Inn with friends (Ashlea and Chavez just got married and Ashlea shares her story in the latest podcast episode!).

March’s podcast episodes you don’t want miss!
Why I Stopped Straightening My Hair
Moving From Planning To Planting
How To Plan Your Year
Garden Planning and Dreaming

I was so grateful to be featured in Chapel Hill magazine this month. This has been a neat opportunity to have neighbors stop and tell me they saw the feature—it has opened many doors for meaningful conversation and telling them about our mission at Cultivate.

On to APRIL!

My April PowerSheets goals

All the details on my April goals are in the video! I’m excited for this month.

April Monthly Goals:
— Pray over everything—ask God
— Do my MTH action items
— Make our home come alive
— Teach the Gardening 101 live class!
— Plant our garden
— Train leaders

April Weekly Goals:
— Weekly family Sabbath.
— Read Letters to the Church with Ari
— Sing for joy to the Lord
— Read lovely words to the kids
— Sabbath: renew our hearts and minds
— Pray for the Lord to use us to meet needs

April Daily Goals:
— Old Testament Bible Reading (Need a great 5-day Bible reading plan? :))
— Write the Word at night before bed
— Sleep
— Analog evenings
— Work it out!

The Spring Goal Refresh in the PowerSheets gave me such clarity and motivation for the next 3 months!

Your turn! Do you have goals for April? What are you cultivating in this new month? 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! Congrats to March’s winner, Kinsey!

P.S. Join us for 30 days of progress during the Little by Little Challenge! The Cultivate team will kick off each day in April with a prompt or resource in the PowerSheets Facebook community and Instagram to guide you to take the next step toward your goal. Start with today’s post!

Affiliate links are used in this post.

7WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()

UPDATE: Thank you for your interest in this role! We are so grateful to the Lord—this role has been filled!

We’re currently hiring for several roles in our company, and this one is the most special to me personally!

We’ve been so blessed by the last two years with Mackenzie in our family. She has become one of my very best friends and the person I trust the most besides Ari! What a gift these years have been to me and the three sweet kiddos! Our faith has grown together over many naptime conversations and adventures we’ve taken together. It has been a gift to pour into her and she has certainly done the same for me in spades.

Mackenzie brought their favorite fruit and treats for Valentine’s Day!

I’m so happy for what’s ahead of Mackenzie in a new season of taking the next steps in her career in education (what a blessing she will be to more kiddos!) and I’m especially grateful she’s not moving to another city just yet. : ) Mackenzie has blessed our children, us, the ladies in this office, our neighbors, our friends—I could go on. What happens in this house is pretty unique, and Mackenzie has been a ray of light for all of us!

Summertime fun!

As you can see in these photographs, she’s pretty amazing. She works hard and loves God passionately. We trust that God will bring us another great fit for our family!

We are looking for someone special, and perhaps that person is you! We are seeking a full-time caregiver and House/Office Manager, starting July 15th. Please apply if you meet ALL of the following requirements.

We’ve had so many fun adventures together!

Who you’ll care for:

3.5-year-old boy (Joshua)
3-year-old girl (Sarah)
Soon-to-be-second-grader girl (Grace)
A handful of fishies and a bevy of houseplants : )

One of our kiddos has special needs. A patient and resilient spirit is a blessing to this sweet soul who needs a little extra love and care. 

We’re looking for:

Joyful Caregiver
Hard Worker and Self Starter
Health-Oriented (non-smoker, etc.) because this job takes a ton of energy! One of our kiddos has special needs. A patient and resilient spirit is a blessing to this sweet soul who needs a little extra love and care.

At the Southern Weddings launch party together.

We need someone who can commit to two years with us. Must be able to start training July 15th. If you are applying from out-of-state (the majority of our previous caregivers did this and moved here from out-of-state for the role), you must be able to relocate to the Chapel Hill, NC, area by July 15th. The ladies in my office and I will gladly help you settle in and we have housing available as well. We love this area!

Picking local blueberries!

Must be extremely organized, energetic (three kids will keep you on your toes!), joyful (we love to be silly), and experienced in childcare. A background in early childhood education is a plus. College graduates preferred, but we are open. Must have own transportation (although you’ll use our minivan to cart the kiddos around!), and a clean driving record. In addition to caring for our three children while I work, you will also be responsible for managing this unique building we call my home and office. There are not only three kiddos who look forward to meeting you, but lots of ladies too!

Another reason I love Mackenzie: she loves being silly with Grace! Cow Appreciation Day goodness above.

I run my business from home for the most part so I am here most days as well. I also homeschool Grace a couple of days a week. We will spend a lot of time together, loving on these children alongside each other during the day.

And now I’m getting teary-eyed. We love you, Mackenzie!

Our faith is a cornerstone in our home. We are seeking a caregiver who can teach and reinforce Christian principles and lead by example. We are looking for someone who has a strong faith, is calm under pressure, confident in their faith, and is willing to develop a passion for shaping our children’s hearts alongside us. More than that though, Ari and I hope to pour into the heart of whomever steps into this role.

Please pray about this position and only reply if you meet ALL of these requirements. We’ve had many wonderful caregivers over the last 7+ years, and know the qualifications fit our family well. We will be doing several interviews with potential candidates.

Please APPLY HERE by April 24th. This is a full-time salaried position – Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm and some nights and weekends (a small handful) throughout the year. We will begin video interviews ASAP. Please read through this post and the application thoroughly. Your attention to detail is part of the interview. : ) We are praying for you as you apply!

P.S. If you know someone else who this would be a great fit for, please pass this post along. Thank you!

0WordPress Comments , Facebook Comments ()