Sep 9, 2016

LITTLE BY LITTLE / Cultivate What Matters

Share

I often wonder if what I do everyday is helping others. Not in an “I don’t think I have purpose” way, but I genuinely don’t have the ability to know most times. After webinars (like this one and this one) or speaking, or even in writing my first book, people ask me, “How did it go?” My answer is always the same:

I don’t know. I hope it helped?

img_4527

You see, it’s not about me or what I think. I may never know if I’ve made an impact till I reach Heaven. That’s where faith comes in—believing in what we can’t yet see. Dreaming of the fruit that may grow long after we’re gone. Trusting and planting seeds anyway, no immediate tangible reward in sight. I’m an imperfect boss, wife, mom, friend, sister, and writer, and I can only hope that what I share will plant a good seed in your life–all by God’s grace because of my aforementioned imperfection. But, I want you to know that your comments on my last post encouraged me greatly to keep going, keep growing, and to cultivate what matters—what lasts, little by little. I may have written a post about taking the next step forward to encourage you, but you ended up encouraging me, friends!

Thank you. Sincerely, thank you.

I’ll be sharing about some of my own steps forward in the next post. Big changes are coming : ) And I don’t love statements like that unless they are potentially true for the reader as well. I pray these changes will, in fact, be big for you too!

img_4626Speaking of big… This girl is growing so fast! Out on our morning walk : ) 

Till then, here are 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters This Week (In no particular order!)

1. Make it happen. Today is the final day to enter to win the Make It Happen Giveaway. We’re giving away 19 inspiring tools and books, including the first set of 2017 PowerSheets and our brand new sticker book. I’ve loved reading and replying to many of your comments on the post!

2. Bust a move. They were on vacation, ordered water, and just came out to dance. Right around 1:20 is when I couldn’t help but giggle out loud.

3. Encourage a student. We donated all the remaining 2016 PowerSheets from the shop (about 300 sets) to local UNC students. We’re hopeful they will encourage students to cultivate what matters in this season! Take a moment and encourage a student this week. It could make a huge impact. Just think about the encouragement you needed when you were in college.

fullsizerender-6My PowerSheets goals for September above. I talked about each goal in my weekly Facebook Live on Wednesday. I had a cute little assistant with me too : ) 

4. Write the Word. Write the Word orders now come with my NEW Cultivating Faith Mini Book. Grace kissed them all to add extra love to your packages. : ) Use the code FRESHFAITH to get 20% off your order, too.

5. Prioritize. How do I do it all? I don’t. Read my interview with Terra from Earn Spend Live about how I prioritize, and what our mornings are like here.

6. Become an Ambassador. When I was ten, my mom’s best friend was married to the U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. Crazy, right? I spent time with them there when I was little, and his passion for his work made a life-long impression on me. Being an Ambassador was a multi-faceted role that allowed him to teach, lead, serve, and create community—all of which he did with grace and joy. Our shop Ambassador/Affiliate program is tiny in comparison, but I believe it can have a powerful impact on lives. I know many of you are passionate about sharing our mission to cultivate an intentional life with others. Our Affiliate Program equips you to do that, and you’ll get the first look at all the new products in our private Affiliate Facebook group soon. Join our team here.

7. Find your money! You guys. There are millions of dollars of unclaimed money (also known as “unclaimed property”) out there. We recently got a letter in the mail that looked rather spammy, stating that they found $756 that belonged to Ari, and they wanted to help us claim it. I almost tossed the letter, but I got curious. I did some research and, low and behold, there really was $756 that Ari was owed from a student loan thing forever ago! I bypassed the company who wanted a cut, and went straight to the California Treasurer’s office to claim the funds. The check came last week. It was real! My mom did it too and got her check. Bypass the middle men, and go straight to your state’s website to see if you have unclaimed funds. Start here and search by state (try every state you’ve ever lived in too—you never know). Let me know if you find something.

8. Start fresh. Last week, we talked about taking the next best step. We’re really good at this in January, right? Then, come February 1 … you know where this is going. I’ve been right there too, making progress on some goals then weeks later, getting bogged down by inner shame: I failed. I can’t do this. I am not enough. I messed up — all hope is lost! If you need encouragement for your next step, or the one after that, or need start over completely, I wrote this for you.

fullsizerenderAfter a year of not being able to go many places because of nap schedules and feedings, we finally have 1.5 hour windows every day. It may not seem like much, but it’s huge for us. We used our 1.5 on Sunday afternoon to take a walk in the woods near our house! It was wonderful! Little by little, we are getting out more 🙂 

9. Forgive. This is a weighty one, but I’m including it because it’s one of the biggest keys to making progress on what matters: grace. Grace—being forgiven of all my junk (and there was a lot of it) compelled me to forgive Ari for all the hurt in our marriage. And grace compelled him to do the same for me. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing our story of forgiveness as a part of Love God Greatly’s Forgiveness study. Since I’m not on social media on the weekends, I’m giving you the link now in case you want to click over and read it. : ) Join in here.

10. Don’t count the days, make the days count. Remember our code word from last week’s? Today’s code “word”is 113! 113 days left in this year to finish well, to let go, to dive in, to do less, to say no, to say yes, to embrace imperfect progress, to take the next best step—to choose what matters. A tip: define what matters to you by getting it out of your head. Leave a comment here with one thing that matters to you today, big or small. To encourage you to get your thoughts out and do something about then, I’ll give a couple of you our new Cultivate What Matters sticker books (releasing November 1). Tell me one thing that matters to you, big or small! I’ll leave my thoughts below too.

Lara Casey signature

 

P.S. It’s time to fly.

53 Comments

  1. Kimberlie Williams-Feth on September 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Started using (last year’s)PowerSheets again – thank goodness they are undated! It’s amazing the power that comes with seeing small progress on a goal that seems huge. Thank you!

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      Amen to little by little progress-—no perfection (including “perfect timelines”) required! : ) : ) Cheering you on. And I love you and will see you Sunday, Lord willing.

  2. Sarah Joe on September 9, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this, Lara! The PowerSheets have really helped me to embrace imperfect progress, prioritize, and figure out what matters to me. One of the biggest things that matters to me is meaningful friendships . I love learning more about people, encouraging them, and seeing what God has in their lives, as well as the joy that comes with friendship!

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 2:55 pm

      I love your heart for relationships, Sarah Joe. And I’m so glad the PowerSheets have helped you!

  3. Brianna on September 9, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Besides growing a deeper relationship with Jesus (that always is number 1) my marriage matters most to me right now. This season has been so hard and our marriage has been struggling, but we are both committed to keeping Christ at the center of our relationship and working on restoring our relationship! I know it can happen little by little by the grace of God!

    Lara, thank you for your transparency and encouragement, specially about marriage. Your story encourages me so much and always points me back to Jesus, who gives hope and has the power to redeem!

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      I am really encouraged to hear this, Brianna. You are on the right path as you keep your eyes on Him in the midst of challenges. I just prayed for the strength of your marriage, and for you to move into a new season together in Jesus’ name.

  4. Brittani Allen on September 9, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Lara,

    I read your book, Make It Happen, during my media fast from all social media and non-Christian television. I was so moved and changed by your book and left one of my only Amazon book reviews. 🙂 I also find myself turning to your website and social media posts to keep me motivated to “make it happen”, HIS way! Excited to try Powersheets whether I win them or not, they are on my schedule to purchase November 1st. 🙂

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      Brittani! I just checked out your blog, and I love what you are doing! Keep me posted on your journey. I’d love to have you contribute to a project we have coming up. I’ll keep you posted here on the blog! : )

  5. Stephanie on September 9, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Making an effort to be more present with my little one. I allow too many things during my day to distract me from what’s most important – building memories, training, and enjoying her!

    • Lara on September 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Stephanie! You are one of the randomly-selected winners of the new sticker book : ) Email [email protected] with your mailing address and we’ll get it to you when they arrive in November! Yay!

  6. Natalie on September 9, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    One thing that matters to me is my marriage. I have only been married for 2 months but I often hear such sad stories of marriages that are falling apart. I never want that! I always want to be praying about and prioritizing our marriage!

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 3:21 pm

      Yes, Natalie! Hold fast to this beautiful gift you’ve been given. I feel that way even after 10 years of marriage. I don’t want to ever stop cultivating our love, even through the hard days. God is with you and He can make it happen! : )

  7. Marylynn on September 9, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    Lara, I have to tell you that your little seeds have already done so much good in my life. It seems strange to feel so connected to a “stranger on the internet” but so much of what you have shared resonates with me. Like you, I just survived a summer with three kids under five. My son was dairy/soy intolerant, and now I’m on the diet again for my baby girl. All the big five-year-old feelings happen with my daughter. Thank goodness you’ve taught me how to let go of perfect, because the old me wouldn’t have lasted long in this crazy life.

    I’ve been reflecting a lot over the past few days on your “time to fly” instagram post. When my now five-month-old daughter was four weeks old, we found out she may not be able to see anything except light and shadow. I find myself lost when it comes to mothering this sweet girl, not knowing how to fly on these new wings. I simply adore her, but I feel like something is missing, like I’m not doing enough for her. I remember you saying you had trouble bonding with Sarah, and that has helped me feel less alone. So keep planting those seeds and sharing your heart, it is doing so much good! And I am going to start planting some little seeds with my daughter, trusting and waiting on the beautiful fruit that will grow.

    P.S. – So excited about the new sticker books! My older daughter is obsessed with stickers, and every time I have my PowerSheets out she tries to talk me into giving her the sticker pages. 🙂

    • Lara on September 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      Marylynn! Thank you so much for your kind words and wow we have so much in common! You are one of the randomly-selected winners of the new sticker book : ) Email [email protected] with your mailing address and we’ll get it to you when they arrive in November. I hope your daughter loves it too : )

  8. Megan on September 9, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    One thing that matters so much to me is supporting my husband. It’s so easy to get caught up in “my purpose” that I loose sight of the significant role of prayer and encouragement towards him and the things He seeking to use His gifts for the Lord and others. So appreciate your ministry! Look forward to your posts every Friday 🙂

  9. Em on September 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    That money link is so intriguing – I of course will have to check it out! 🙂 One thing that matters to me right now is daily evening walks with my family – one of our most important ways to connect, especially now that it’s a bit cooler outside!

  10. Heidi Maranell on September 9, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I just posted on my Facebook and IG accounts about my new quest for health and wellness. I have so many dreams and ideas, but when I feel sluggish, lacking energy and depressed it is very hard to get any of it done. Starting September 19th I’ll be challenging myself to a one year transformation. My kids are all in school now, so I am taking the time to make myself a priority. My health and confidence matter, and my hope is to encourage others along the way. I have read Make it Happen multiple times, and now, I’m MAKING IT HAPPEN! 😉

    • Lara on September 9, 2016 at 4:44 pm

      This is exciting, Heidi! I’m excited to hear more about your journey. Please come back here and update me as you go!

  11. Cathy Van de Casteele on September 9, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    What matters most right now is loving our friends who lost their house in a flash flood.

  12. Ellie on September 9, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Sometimes I’m working on some little things toward big goals…and a big goal for this year was to prep for my job search, but the season is coming faster than I expected. I’m entering a new season right now…and I think my time is now, so I have to TAKE THE LEAP! I wrote it over the top of my monthly goals yesterday. Taking the leap to apply for the job that made my heart flutter when I read about it, taking the leap over my fears, over my negative self-talk, taking the leap over my self-doubt into the unknown and into the next season that is here. Today, I told someone I was interested in the job.

  13. Wimberley on September 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    One thing that matters to me is discovering how to align my passion with my career and to find freedom from how the world says we should live our lives vs. how the Lord wants us to live our lives for Him! <3

  14. Meg Montgomery on September 9, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Today I’m choosing to be present and open to whatever God would like to teach me at my Time Out for Women conference. I’m so excited for a little timeout to recharge!

  15. Alli on September 9, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Lots of things matter, and I’ve just started teasing those apart with the PowerSheets, but the top two right now: grieving well. The Word says there is a time to grieve, and since now is my time, I want to do it well. Second: being a house boss! I just hired a colleague to sit in my home office with me. HUGE adjustment, and I want to be a great example of a one-piece life.

  16. Michelle B. on September 9, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    One thing that matters to me today is dance parties. This month I am working on more little moments of happiness and undivided time with my children. So in my planner I have time set aside on different days for…. dance parties, silly face contests, favorite song singing… Tonight I’m stopping whatever we are doing, turning on my phone playlist to “Kiddo Dance Parties”, and we will have a silly, laughter filled dance party.
    It’s so easy to forget to do these little things. To look back a month or year from now and realize “we only did that maybe twice this year, why didn’t we do it more?” So this month (and hopefully all months from now on) I am making sure to make time for more happiness and more laughter with my sweet babies.

  17. Jillian Schweitzer on September 9, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    A little by little goal (adding to a big one) is working on my anxiety daily. I’ve struggled with it for most of my life, but 2015 was a real struggle for me, so I’ve made it my mission to try to cut myself some slack and get out of my head whenever possible.

  18. Adelaide on September 9, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Cultivating meaningful relationships with my family and friends. It’s a beautiful process of intentional tending and something I feel grace within, even if it’s not reciprocated (maybe even especially then).

  19. Natalie on September 9, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    HiLara,
    I just to share how you & your book has changed me. I bought your book 3 months ago & it sat for a while unopened. When I finally decided to start reading I could not put it down . I can truly say that your story has inspired me and now I don’t feel alone on my journey , discovering God and finding the way forward for my life. Thank you Lara, I can’t express my gratitude enough . Natalie.

  20. Patricia on September 9, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    This may seem strange, but getting enough sleep matters to me right now. From college, to my first job, to getting married last year, to studying in seminary, to moving from the Philippines to the United States, I’ve had plenty of sleepless nights. Lack of sleep has taken a toll on me and I find myself getting antsy all the time. I think the amount of sleep I get represents an overall attitude of rest for me. Whenever I lack sleep, I get cranky and I’m not able to be fully present throughout the day. Now that I’m settling in a new country, I find myself with a lot of free time and lots of opportunities to catch up on sleep and just rest. Just be. I’m so grateful for this seemingly idle season but I think this is the Lord’s way of reminding me about the Sabbath and about resting not just physically but also mentally and spiritually.

  21. Tristen Lawrence on September 10, 2016 at 2:10 am

    I’m bummed you gave away the 2016 planners, I was just thinking it wasn’t too late this year to start 🙂 but I will make sure to order 2017 in time!! Going through a soul shattering faith transition, this process is just what my heart will need. You do make a difference, every time you open your beautiful world up to share. Thank you so much, from a beleaguered but hopeful sister. 🙂

  22. Kristina on September 10, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Lara, I am so so happy to hear that you donated the remaining powersheets to UNC students. As a university student myself I doubted for a long time that powersheets were useful to me. I thought you at least needed a job to make them count – thank God I realized that’s not true. Actually the powersheets helped me get a job recently by keeping me accountable to sent applications and follow up on them.
    What matters most to me this weekend is getting rest and leaving my apartment. I have had trouble with an anxiety disorder my whole life and even though I am in a fairly good place right now when I get too stressed out anxiety keeps me stuck at home. I’m praying that with the Lord’s strength I will at least be able to go to the grocery store today and to drop of a cake for my friend.
    Hugs to you Lara, you are such an encouragement to me!

  23. Jennie on September 10, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Love your blog, came across it from reading Love God Greatly, where your article spoke to me.

    • Lara on September 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm

      Welcome, Jennie! I’m so grateful to meet you here!

  24. Kailee Weiker on September 10, 2016 at 10:09 am

    One thing that is very important to me right now is loving on my family. We are in the US for a visit to our family from our assignment in China and we have a finite amount of time to connect and love on them before we go back to FaceTime conversations and Facebook message group chats. My daughter is very rightly at the center of most of the loving but I find myself getting frustrated at having to share space with more people than usual. I have been praying that God gives me the patience to love on my family with grace before I am missing out on it again.

  25. Christine on September 11, 2016 at 9:07 am

    My daughter is at UNC, is it too late for her to receive the power sheets you donated to students there?

    • Lara on September 12, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Hi, Christine! Send an email to [email protected] and we’ll be sure to get her a set! : )

  26. Ashley on September 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    One thing that matters to me is self care. I tend to put other people before myself and just push through when what I really need to do is slow down. I’m slowly learning that in order to be the best version of myself and to be there for those I care about, I have to take care of myself first. So, little by little, I’m taking intentional steps to get there. Thanks for always cheering all of us on, Lara!

  27. Shannon on September 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Making our life purposeful because we listened to him

  28. Annalise on September 12, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Hi Lara,

    I’m a freshman at UNC and it has been so good to read your blog and follow along on social media. I so appreciate the reminder that during difficult times of transition, I can trust in God’s perfect grace. Thank you!

    • Lara on September 12, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      Hi, Annalise! I’m so grateful you have been encouraged. Starting school can be challenging, but know that the Lord is with you!

  29. Joanna Hyatt on September 12, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    One thing that matters to me: being a present mama. I’ve been working a full time job from home for the last six months and that balance of being present to the girls while still being faithful in my work and not feeling like I’m failing on SOME front…..hard. Balance is not real. But grace is! This Fall, I’m working on putting my phone away when I’m with my kids so I can be present and attentive to the moment…no texts, no social media.

  30. Lara on September 13, 2016 at 9:32 am

    What matters to me is to know God more than I know anything else. The best gift I can give to Grace, Josh, Sara, Ari, and everyone I encounter is to love God deeply. I often struggle with this, and I want to passionately work to exchange fear for faith. I’ve started by praying about it, asking God to help me focus on Him more and cultivate a deeper faith.

    • Michelle B. on September 13, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Lara, you are a blessing. Thank you for your encouraging posts, your open heart, and for leading us to Christ. I can’t imagine that you struggle with loving God deeply; because you have helped lead me to loving God deeper. You have helped me to see light in hard places and chaos, and helped show me how to take small steps to achieving my goals of growing closer to God and spending more quality time with my husband and babies. Thank you.

      • Lara on September 15, 2016 at 9:47 am

        I’m so encouraged to hear all of this. Keep going, friend : )

  31. Courtney McGarity on September 13, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I’m getting out of the house and finally going on a date with my husband. We’ve really been struggling financially, but got some great news recently that I’ll be starting a job very soon (next week!) so we are going to Chick-fil-A armed with our free sandwich coupons and heading to a movie tonight for much cheaper than a weekend night. We are both so looking forward to spending this time together.

    • Lara on September 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

      This is so awesome, Courtney! I’m so excited for y’all! (We love Chick-fil-A around here!)

  32. Emily DeArdo on September 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    $32! Yayyyy!! Might not seem like a lot, but when you’re a freelancer, every little bit helps! Thanks, Lara!

    • Lara on September 15, 2016 at 9:46 am

      That is awesome, Emily! Yes!!!!

  33. Ashley on September 14, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I’m sure I’m not the first to say you have most definitely made an impact. Especially in my life. I cannot thank you enough!

  34. Emily on September 15, 2016 at 10:52 am

    What matters to me is learning what it looks like to trust God, especially now when I’m not entirely sure what he is doing in my life or what new phase he is preparing me for!

  35. Carol White on September 16, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Sticker book?! So excited!
    Just came home from the hospital and my goal is to rest and recuperate this weekend.

  36. Laura on September 27, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Holy smokes! I checked out the unclaimed money link, and it turns out my husband also has money owed to him from back when he was in college! Thanks for passing along the tip!

    • Lara on September 28, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Yahoo! So glad you found your money! : )

  37. Mary R on November 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks to you I found the Love God Greatly site. Your post was so good. Their site is a great resource. Thank you for sharing your post and their site!

Leave a Comment