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