Sep 23, 2022

Cultivating What Matters: A New Season

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Cultivate 2023 Collection

Dear Friends, it is my joy to share that Cultivate What Matters was acquired by Daily Grace Enterprises in June. I am grateful for this new season for Cultivate and a new chapter alongside my family.

This was not an easy decision and is the culmination of years of discernment and prayer. I’ve known for many years that God wanted me with my family more, and I’ve done my best to balance that alongside leading a growing company. I love making beautiful and meaningful things. I love helping people cultivate what matters, and God has asked me to do that here with my family by hanging up my entrepreneurial hat—especially now. I’m grateful that this transition has already allowed me to honor my mother and father for the last few months and to be fully present by my dad’s side as he took his last breath. No expression of gratitude feels big enough to say thank you for the gift of time I’ve had with them and our children.

If you know my joy in the work God gave me to do with Cultivate, you know, alongside my gratitude for this new season, how difficult it has been to take this step of faith. It has taken years of prayer and counsel, pruning, learning, praying on my knees, and waiting on the Lord. Psalm 90:12, about numbering our days, has come to mind often as I’ve sought His wisdom. Saying yes to God’s plans often means letting go of our plans, and two words that mean more to me now than they ever did: having faith.

We all hold seeds: dreams, goals, prayers, words to write, meaningful things to make, love to give. There’s a moment, as a gardener, when you take a leap of faith. For a seed to grow, you must first release it from your hand to plant it. You faithfully place the seed in the nutrient-rich soil and trust the Lord to help it do what it was created to do.

Growing a company has never been my aim, although it’s happened despite my shortcomings and desire to stay small. Helping people live out what matters has been, and will always be, my heart. This is my life’s work—whether with Cultivate, our children, dear friends, neighbors, or my mom and brother in this new grief we’re walking through together.

If I could summarize the last 20 years as an entrepreneur in a couple of words, it’s daily grace. I’ve felt unequipped, desperate for God’s wisdom, and humbled at every turn. God has poured out His grace in allowing me to be a part of Cultivate and Southern Weddings. For this and the many memories, I am profoundly grateful. Most of all, though, I’m thankful for the people with whom I’ve shared this journey. One of the greatest honors of my life has been working alongside Team Cultivate and watching God change lives—mine included. I am not the same person I was when this journey began. In case you ever doubt, God’s grace is a real thing, and it changes everything. I do not deserve to have spent my days with such incredible women, but… grace. Thank you, Team Cultivate, for your love. I can confidently say I had the best team in the world. I consider my entrepreneurial journey to have finished on a high note because of the women I worked with and learned from each day.

You can likely see by now this is not my announcement. I can’t take credit for Cultivate or anything good we’ve grown; it’s the sum of the hearts that have tended to it over many years—yours included. We made something good together, friends, and I’m grateful to see it continue to grow from here.

I’ll still be here to cheer the team on and help where I can. I hope to be live sometime during launch week to say hello and look forward to doing something during PowerSheets Prep Week for 2023. Emily and I poured our hearts and souls into writing this year’s PowerSheets earlier this spring, and I can’t wait to use them myself in this new season.

Thank you, Kristin and Jeremy Schmucker, for your commitment to continuing the mission of Cultivate. Thank you for working hard to get these tools and truths into the hands of women who will hopefully find what we’ve found: a way to see what matters in the big picture and live it out, little by little—no perfection required. May the Lord bless you with His wisdom and joy in this torch (or garden trowel?) passing. I’m grateful for the story that led us here.

Thank you, Cultivate community, for sharing your lives with me over these years. I’ve connected personally with many of you and long felt honored to hear your stories through Cultivate and Southern Weddings. Living out what matters alongside you continues to be a gift. May all your paths be filled with flowers—and I hope our paths meet for an in-person hug soon.

Thank you to my husband, who tirelessly and faithfully endured the ups and downs of entrepreneurship alongside me over these years (with a few rap videos in between to encourage us!), especially this last year of experiencing this acquisition and transition. What a journey. Ari prayed for our team, community, and the path here for many years. Many of the Cultimates have as well.

Thank you to John Thomas, Brandon Kloess, John Armstrong, Rob and Beth Ayer, and all of our team’s gents, moms, dads, kiddos, aunts, mothers-in-law, grandparents, roommates, and friends who generously supported us and joined us in this work and in celebrating many milestones. You have been just as much a part of this journey as we have. One of my favorite memories over the years has been each team dinner, where we enjoyed our usual tradition: going around the table to share what we’re grateful for and looking forward to. I’ve savored these times together.

This change is bittersweet. There is so much good and I’m also at a loss for words in much of this—a time of double grief, many close friends have told me. The depth of sadness felt in this change is in direct proportion to the joy shared over many years. What a gift to have experienced all of this with so many incredible people. I often miss my time with the professionals who helped us do our best work for so many years—vendors who became friends as we worked hard for what matters each day: Stephanie, Rebecca, Jessica, and the team at Steadfast Bookkeeping; Stephanie at 100 Degrees; Gary and the team at CODRA; Allen, Garrett, and the Givingtons team; my C12 group that I was a part of since 2017 and who has cheered me on at every step; Sherpa Collaborative; Annette Stepanian; Catapult; Gina Zeidler, Traci and every photographer we’ve had the joy of creating with; every mail carrier(!) who has hand-delivered happy boxes to our customers and so many more.

To my close friends, many of whom are also faithful leaders of their own companies, you have buoyed my journey with prayer and generosity. You know who you are. I am cheering you on as you continue to make much of the Lord in the work He has entrusted you with.

I’m thankful for this blog and for many of you who have shared this space with me for the 15 years I’ve written it. Sharing my goals each month and my big-picture goals each year has been a joy. I hope to continue this and love hearing what you’re up to each month as we goal get ’em together.

And a special thank you to Emily Thomas and Marissa Kloess for trusting me to be their “boss” for 13 years and teaching me each day. I put “boss” in quotes because I never loved the word; I’ve genuinely worked alongside these women, learning from them and savoring the gift of their love and leadership. We’ve known each other through engagements, weddings, southern doin’s, Southern Living, eight babies, 11 years of PowerSheets, 10 beautiful annual launch parties, thousands of prayers said together, approximately 239 moves for Marissa, and all the life in between. I treasure our time making beautiful things for others with your wisdom and heart, EAT + MAK.

My cup overflows with gratitude. Thank you, all. This has been the journey of a lifetime.

So, now, what’s next?

You may wonder if Cultivate will change without me there. Likely. There’s so much good ahead and, as you can see, Cultivate has never been just me. It has been a reflection of my story, my garden, and God’s grace in my life, but I’m just one of the many reflections you see. It has never been one woman (except when it was just me and my cat making a magazine in my tiny apartment – that was a brief and hilarious season!). The women of Team Cultivate and the community are what has made it what it is. The truths we teach don’t exist because of a brand or a person; they exist because they’re true. They will exist long after all of us:

Good things grow little by little.
Small things are the big things. They add up.
Legacies grow from one small seed planted in faith.
And, among many, this truth: We can’t do it all and do it well, but we can choose to cultivate what matters each season.

Many people ask me, “What’s next for you?” My answer is two-fold: I’m living what’s next already, and I also don’t know. All I can think about is my dad right now. Making this announcement took every last bit of energy, but I’m grateful to share it with you now. I’m taking it one day at a time and trusting the Lord to lead me. I’m doing the work of grief while continuing to homeschool my kids, which I love. The hymn we’re studying this month is “He Leadeth Me.” I’ve felt led these last years, and God’s mercy has covered the many times I’ve tried to go my own way. I am grateful to be right here, trusting His lead.

I’m sure I forgot something in what I’ve shared, and I also trust I’ll have the energy to share more of this story in the months ahead. For now, know that your support and love mean the world.

My dad had a motto for life, and his own business of 50 years, from Galatians that I shared in his eulogy: ‘Do not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’

Have faith, friends. Keep growing good things. Take steps of faith for what matters most. Know that your small steps add up over time—even with many missteps along the way. My dad’s life displayed this truth to me so clearly. The little things done in love over time were the big things in the end. They were the things we all remember most — the things we want to take with us to help cultivate our own lives: the little traditions, notes of encouragement, words of love, funny things done in joy, quiet kindnesses, and steps of faith taken. They matter. They add up to a legacy.

May the Lord bless you as you take leaps of faith as well—and may He give you joy as you cultivate what matters right where you are.

Photo by Gina Zeidler

24 Comments

  1. Jennifer Teubl on September 23, 2022 at 2:01 pm

    Thank you Lara for all you’ve given and poured out and entrusted to the Lord. God has used you to change my life and I’m forever grateful for you, the Making Things Happen Conference and the intentional tools you’ve created. Praying for you as you grieve the passing of your Dad and the season that has been all that leading Cultivate What Matters entails. Your Dad would be so honored by the beautiful tribute you wrote of him in your last blog post and I’ll be praying for you as you hold both the grief of no longer getting to be with him and joy of knowing he’s with Jesus. This morning in my quiet time I was reminded of Romans 1:17 “…the righteous shall live by faith.” You’re a living example of that. Blessings to you.

    • Lara on September 23, 2022 at 3:50 pm

      Jennifer, your words are generous and felt deeply. Thank you for being a part of this journey all these years and for your love. It means so much to hear these words.

  2. Amy on September 23, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Wow!! There is so much to look back on over these years! I have loved watching you grow and take each leap of faith! Also to be a part of SW and CWM in a small way! I know what it feels like to take leaps and make change. God never said it would be easy but He makes all things good! Grateful for you Lara and praying for this next season for you!

    • Lara on September 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      I am so grateful for you, Amy. What a journey this has been! Thank you for your prayers.

  3. Quantrilla on September 23, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Lara, my dear. Holding space for you in this time of double grief. Thank you for all you and Team Cultivate have poured into my life in this last year. Sending so much love and prayers in this transition!

    • Lara on September 23, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      My friend. Thank you for your love and kindness. This means so much!

  4. Teresa on September 23, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    Lara, it sounds like a new book is coming! I share much of what you are going through right now. My dad passed away 9 years ago and I am still grieving. Ever since we started homeschooling, God has pruned many branches of my ambitious dreams. He also took away my business so I now can have the space to homeschool my three kids and give them my best (not leftover). I’m hopeful and excited for your new season. Praying for you and your family.

    • Lara on September 23, 2022 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you so much, Teresa – your words ring true for me in so many ways. Homeschooling my children fills me with such joy and the thing I’ve always wanted to do is give them my all, not what’s left over. Thank you for your prayers. And… I do want to write. All in God’s time. I’m thinking of you in your grief with your dad. Thank you for sharing all of this.

  5. Chelle on September 23, 2022 at 4:58 pm

    So, a week or two ago, I decided I needed to find a different source of Bible study. What I was doing just wasn’t feeding me any longer. I googled daily bible studies, and The Daily Grace Co came up. I had never heard of it, so I took a look. Ended up taking a plunge into one of their Bible studies. I had no idea this was coming, and I feel like now two of my favorite sites will be together. My Powersheets and Jesus! 🙂 Thank you so much, Lara!

  6. Ashlee Little on September 23, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    Sending hugs and love during this transition! I know from experience that walking away from something that you’ve poured everything into can be overwhelming and doubt creeps in around every corner. BUT the JOY on the other side is abundant because walking away from one thing means walking toward the Lord’s will for you NOW! Little by little, you’ve got this. Love!

    • Lara on September 23, 2022 at 7:33 pm

      You know this means so much. I’ve watched you walk into your own new season with joy and been so encouraged. Thank you so much for all of this, Ashlee! It has been hard and I am grateful for your encouraging words.

  7. Kim on September 23, 2022 at 6:02 pm

    Lara,
    Thank you for your sincerity, poise, and strength under all of the hats you’ve worn over the years. You will be missed at CWM, but I am sure that I will carry the lessons I gained through these pages for a long time. I wanted to send my condolences as well as wish you and your family the best of luck in this next chapter. I hope we’ll be able to continue to follow your reflections and share in your joy in some way in the future.

  8. Heidi on September 23, 2022 at 7:26 pm

    The careful thought and prayers you’ve put into this decision is made beautifully evident through your post. Thank you for sharing the “behind-the-scenes” and the why with us so we can be encouraged and reminded that growing good things is hard—but worthwhile—work.

  9. Brooke on September 23, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    So much love to you, friend. It has been so inspiring to watch you not only listen so intently to God and but also act upon what He is calling you to do. I don’t think I’ve been witness to anyone who has been led in this way, and it is amazing to see. After the dust settles, let me know if you’d like to go for a nature walk one day. : )

  10. Denise Bailey on September 24, 2022 at 12:59 am

    Congratulations on choosing to do what matters most, to you. You have built a legacy that will forever be one of the most powerful tools I have ever come used. Thank you for your courage, your vulnerability, and your grit. You are a true inspiration. I will miss interacting with you and your brand but I am grateful for your books that continue to motivate me. It’s not going to be the same without you. A new chapter for sure. I will forever appreciate you.

  11. Jess on September 24, 2022 at 8:21 am

    Well done, good and faithful sister. This is nowhere near the end of your story as it pertains to equipping and encouraging women, but at this pause: we cheer and clap and say THANK YOU JESUS for Lara Casey Isaacson!

    You have served so many of us, and helped so many of us serve God. We bless you, we send you to rest and renewal with so much anticipation of what God is going to keep growing in your life. We love you!

  12. Ashley Wells on September 24, 2022 at 11:00 am

    Tears flow as I read this. As an outsider, watching, what a journey of faith and trust. I’m encouraged by your story as I have been encouraged by you for many years.

  13. Chrystal Hurst on September 24, 2022 at 5:50 pm

    Lara,

    I have no words for the admiration I have for the way you graceful way you both live and share your life. Thank you for letting me watch and learn and be blessed by your obedience, your struggle, and your raw, honest truth. I’m sorry about your recent road of grief, but I’m so grateful for the beautiful memories you have and the lovely way you have cared for these previous recent days. I’m sure I will read your blog post over and over. Even in this tender departure, you are teaching and showing the way by the way you choose to make hard choices and press into God’s best. Praying for you friend! I’m here if you ever want to talk homeschooling. Life goes on in so many other ways, doesn’t it? 🙂

  14. Jae on September 24, 2022 at 11:50 pm

    brave Lara, cheering for u

  15. cyndi on October 10, 2022 at 10:56 am

    For all these years, you’ve reminded me of what’s True North. Strangely, it seems our lives and businesses have paralleled, and whenever I’ve felt overwhelmed or up against the wall, or just hopeless, your words and vision have always recalibrated things for me. I completely understand the shift in life and business for you (and while I’m very happy for you, I’m also envious…. I’m starting to look for exit strategies for my own business as well. The days of being able to do everything and grow and live the life I want are just gone, so there needs to be a next chapter to my business too. But there don’t seem to be any exit strategies right now. You’ve reminded me that prayers need to continue). Thank you for all you’ve given and for sharing your heart as you have. You’ve made quite a difference to lots and lots of people whos names you’ll never know this side of Heaven.

  16. Cati on October 10, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Hi Lara, I just wanted to jump on and say THANK YOU – thank you for listening to the Lord and for exemplifying the message of Powersheets: “Do what matters most.” I have such deep respect for your choice and your courage to let go of business to be a blessing to your family. In today’s world, we moms are often told that such a choice is a waste of our potential, but it is such an incredible gift to give ourselves fully to our husbands, our children, and our homes.

    Your journey has inspired and challenged me countless times since I became a Powersheets user 7 years ago. By God’s grace, Powersheets has been an incredible tool in overcoming depression and anxiety and stepping into new things. As a homeschooling mom of four, this past year, God told me to cut back on work (I am a small business owner too), so beginning in June, I jumped from working 30+ hours a week to working only 10-12 hours per week. I am so grateful, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually . . . this release enables me to give my best to those hearts in my home. I have suddenly realized how fast it goes. Our oldest will be 9 in a few weeks, and he is half-way to adulthood. I want to cherish every moment of these sweet children in our home.

    So, thank you for continuing to be an example, in doing what matters, in being faithful, in listening to the Lord. Thank you for showing us that a strong woman doesn’t have to be one who is running a business or “doing something” with her life; a strong woman can indeed be a woman who stays at home and cares for, raises, and educates her children.

    You are a gift, Lara. Thank you for your honesty, your humility, your hope. I look forward to continuing to hear about God’s faithfulness in your life through your blog. <3

  17. Tamra Forrester on October 12, 2022 at 12:31 pm

    You are an absolutely gift of to all of us, Lara!! Thannnk you to you, Emily and Marissa and your CWM Team and family for the many years of life-giving encouragement, hope and “go-get-it-fire” that you have offered and invested into each of our lives! We support you 1000% and pray for you and your family during this new season! So much love, gratitude, appreciation and admiration for you always!

  18. Sarah Lancaster on October 16, 2022 at 7:43 pm

    Oh, Lara,

    I want to say something about how deeply you will be missed in PowerSheets, but more importantly, I must tell you that I’m praying for you as you walk through the grief of saying goodbye to your Dad. My father went home in August of 2020. For him, it was the culmination of a life filled with love and lived for his Heavenly Father. For me, it was devastating. I lost my best friend and #1 cheerleader. That first year is like walking around with an open wound. It does get better, though. I still miss my dad every day, but I cry over the memories less and smile over them more. I’m praying now that your Heavenly Father will flood you with peace, uphold you when you crumble, and be your safe place to let it ALL out. He can take it, and He promises to bring good out of it all in the end. May God uphold you with His strong right hand and comfort you with His tender care.

  19. […] of you who have followed closely may be aware that Cultivate was acquired in June of this year. My decision to go part-time was not in response to the acquisition, but it […]

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