Apr 1, 2020

What I Want to Remember, April Goals

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Oh, March. What a month you were.

Life changed more than we ever expected. Our world has changed, our daily rhythms have changed, and we’re wondering how to move forward—or if we even can. We’re grieving for life as we knew it.

As you try to adjust to this new normal, perhaps part of you doesn’t want to. This “new normal” doesn’t feel normal at all, and you want your life back!

I felt that, too. On Sunday, out in the garden with the kids, I felt a sting of unexpected sorrow as I watched them play. It came on slowly, and I couldn’t shake it. I sat in the kitchen with Ari later that day and wept for our world, for New York, for life as we knew it. The tears and sorrow bubbled over. Together, we processed through many questions you may be asking yourself right now, too:

What if I don’t survive this? Am I ready to pass my legacy on to my children? What if life never returns to normal? How do we adjust to this? How can we give and serve and rise to this occasion to be a light on a hill? How can we look back on this time in our family as a powerful and positive turning point? What will we want to remember about this time years from now?

For some of us, this grief will come in the form of tears. For some, it will come in words. For some, it will come in unexpected ways and at unexpected times, as grief does.

Taking a much-needed walk in the neighborhood with the kids to get out of the house and smell the flowers together.

But, I want you to know it is good.

It’s hard—so very hard—and it’s also good. Whatever you are feeling from day to day and moment to moment, is part of this collective human experience. You are not flawed for feeling a myriad of things; you are human. And we are in this together.

From the one and only Fred Rodgers: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.”

In letting the tears fall and not judging my emotions or words, something welcome happened. I felt acceptance. Life has indeed changed. We’re going to be here for a while. And in that acceptance—painful as it was and will continue to be at times—I opened the gift of perspective.

If we’re going to be here for a while, what am I going to DO with this time?

Grieving life as we knew it has given me the opportunity to see life differently and God has given me the opportunity to see life with great hope!

We may be cooped up this month, but we’re not held back from cultivating what matters. Let’s lament and process and let’s live this life with hope—right where we are, with what we have.

Listen in for more here…

Farmers plant seeds in faith, not knowing exactly how they will grow or what the weather will bring, but taking the risk to plant them anyway, because what if they DO grow?

I’m settling in here and believing in what I can’t yet see. The good we sow here matters more than ever.

Hunting for earthworms in their “Garden School.” : )

When you look back on this time, what will you want to remember?

I want to remember the resilience this grew in our kids.
I want to remember learning how to cut hair for the whole family – Ari included!
I want to remember how I’ll never take a loaf of bread or bananas or hugs for granted ever again.
I want to remember how winter turned to spring right as this pandemic unfolded—a reminder of His faithfulness and that this season will not last forever.
I want to remember the deep connections and rich conversations this experience offered.
I want to remember the flowers and birds and delights in the garden—spring is not canceled!
I want to remember how God led me in this time and led our team. Never have I felt His presence more.
I want to remember Josh telling a friend, “God walks with you.”
And Grace telling me, “Maybe God is just trying to tell us to trust Him.”
I want to remember the creative meals we’ve made from frozen field peas from 2 years ago (!) and whatever we have found deep in the recesses of the freezer!
I want to remember how this experience stretched us and grew us.
I want to remember how this time made us number our days and spurred us to choose what matters.

I want to remember the revival, hope, and connection that began here.

Let’s look back at March with a recap of my PowerSheets progress and how things changed. My April goals are below as well.

March Monthly Goals:
Rest / I needed this more than ever this month. While I was up a lot in the night talking to God, that nightly wrestling led me here. For that, I am grateful.
Plan our summer hiking adventures / To be determined.
Make our summer homeschool plan / Calling this a win. We got online school set up yesterday and I have another goal for this in April.
Prepare the garden / I’ve never planted the garden earlier than I did this year. Every part of my soul just had to do it right now. Seeds are in and we’re excited to watch this Victory Garden grow!
Foster curiosity in our kiddos / Grace made a “Garden School” for the little ones during this time and it’s the cutest thing. My job is to simply foster time there and provide whatever odds and ends they need from the garage!
Love my family, neighbors and team extra well during COVID-19 / I am grateful for God’s power to lead me here.

March Weekly Goals:
Sabbath Our new Sabbath practice during this time is to not look at the news. We’re intentionally resting from our work and the world.
Enjoy reading We finished Heidi and now we’re on to Little Britches with the kids. This nightly rhythm is a respite for us all.
Music in our hearts and home Music has sustained me and lifted me in this time. In the first few days of this experience, I made this playlist and I hope it fills you, too.

March Daily Goals:
All four of these daily goals below have been the most important things I’ve done to thrive in this time. I finished the Write the Word Worship journal early in the month and dove right into the Hope journal. It has been PERFECT for such a time as this. The verses, the space to pour out my thoughts, the gratitude and one word each day—I praise Him for this every night.
Bible reading
Run with Him
Write the Word
Physical Bible time

You were grateful for these resources in March:
— Listen to the most-listened-to episode of the podcast, How to Number Your Days.
— Read Cultivate’s response to COVID-19 and why we are not afraid.
— Learn how to use your Tending List to live intentionally right now (our most popular blog post this month by FAR).
— Listen in to the April PowerSheets PrepCast.
— Get the 3 steps to Thrive in this Season of Uncertainty.
— Browse Cultivate’s new Resource Page full of free tools to help you navigate change during this time.
— Give the new Girls Goal Planner, coming in May, a try with this sneak peek PDF!
— I highly recommend listening to this! How to Refresh Your Goals Right Now. This is about so much more than goals. Leave this live class refueled and equipped to make the most of this time—right where you are.

Onto April. I have 2 goals for 2020 (each with 4 mini goals under them) that are focused on growing something that matters to me in the big picture. Each month, I’m breaking my yearly goals down using my PowerSheets®. Here’s what’s on my Tending List for the month ahead.

April Monthly Goals:
— Thrive in these days. I’m using this new planner notepad to pray on the hour and use this time well. I have LOVED this practice.
— Get Grace’s homeschool + planner set – we’re using her advance copy of the Girls Goal Planner as her home base for thriving in this time, writing out her plan each day for homeschool, fun, and connecting with friends!
— Celebrate Passover and the resurrection
— Start our Legacy Journal for the kids – Ari and I decided to use this journal to document this time for our children. We’re writing what this time was like and how we thrived together through this, with whatever challenges are here and may come. Stories are important and this will be such a gift to them one day—their story of perseverance and overcoming an unprecedented time in history.
— Finish writing notes from books I read in Q1 in my commonplace book

April Weekly Goals:
— Look at the birds – this time has turned my attention to this verse and the songbirds that have been waking us each morning. We bought a couple of bird feeders last month and have been watching the cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, mockingbirds, and one very brave squirrel with awe and wonder!
— Enjoy the garden and growing seeds
— Sing with Ari – he plays the piano and I’ve been singing this with him – this has been a time of worship for us both!
— Build up our children’s confidence and trust in Him in this time

April Daily Goals:
— Write the Word
— Read the footnotes
— Bible reading
— Run, stretch, lift!

Your turn! What are you doing with this new month you’ve been given? How are you doing? How are you redeeming this time?

May God bless you and give you His peace that passes all understanding!

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  1. Maggie on April 8, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Thank you SO much, Mrs. Lara, for taking the time to give much encouragement and words of hope to others.

    Before I share some of my April goals, I want you tell you that I am so grateful for the absolute treasure your words and PowerSheets have been in my life. I know you probably get messages like that a lot, but I wanted you to know that God is using you to make such an impact in lives. Just the other day I was thinking about how God has brought me from virtually-hopeless-that-anything-could-change to vibrantly living out small, but amazing things. He has empowered me, He has revived me, He has lifted me from the miry pit of what I was, and has changed my heart, opened my eyes, and given me purpose. And He worked through you, Mrs. Lara. Thank you so much.

    Among other things, this April, Lord willing, I’ll be working on:
    – Writing about and seeking Him about a decision that I must make (I’d appreciate your prayers ♥)
    – Catching up on letters – I love keeping in touch via snail mail!
    – Completing and submitting two already-queried articles to a homesteading magazine
    – Working on preparing and painting a room in our new house
    – Planting flower seeds and dahlia tubers! So excited! 🙂
    – Writing in my journal, at least weekly
    – Contacting elderly family members/friend weekly
    – Continuing walking for our 100-mile spring walking challenge
    – Seeking to encourage someone daily
    – I’ve also added “Look at this list!” to my daily goal and so far it’s helping to stay on top of checking things off. 🙂

    Thank you again and may God bless you!

    • Lara on April 9, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Doing a little happy dance with you, Maggie! Love hearing how you’ve been vibrantly living out the small things! Little by little, day by day–we’ll see a difference!

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