We’re entering what we’ve historically called our “busy” season. On the calendar: my site re-launch in a few days, a conference in a week, another site launch that same week, all of our 2017 products launching the week after that, and a magazine coming out the week after that. (And my book manuscript is due in the middle of all of this.) But let me tell you something. Last December, in the thick of Busy Season 2015, we sat together as a team with our PowerSheets and dreamed about what it would be like to do this season differently. To do it well, from full wells. All year, we’ve fought to live out our Year of Well. Living intentionally can be a fight, can’t it? Because it sometimes means you choose to say no, and you choose to grow slow, and you decide that you’re going to do things differently than the rest of the world.
We’ve already faced some things that weren’t in our plans (like PowerSheets being printed incorrectly—not our fault—and having to get everything reprinted), and we’ve set some ambitious goals in launching a new site and completely new shop name and brand. We don’t have it all together, done, and ready to go yet.
But, I sit here and notice that I feel worlds different than I did this time last year. I learned through doing my PowerSheets last year that my worries are always fruitless. Worry was the number one thing I wasted time on. And here I am, writing to you a year later. Something has shifted. I keep landing on this fact: God does not call us to be a mess of stress; He calls us to peace and trust. And not for no reason. When you see someone at peace—truly at peace—in challenges, doesn’t that make you wonder where their peace is coming from?
Photo in my attic office with the “IsaacSonAndDaughters” by Olivia Wolf.
Yes, there’s a lot of work ahead. If you saw my Instagram story a couple days ago, you know my list is long. Yes, our plates are full. But, those plates are also far more balanced than they’ve literally ever been. We planted our Year of Well seeds a year ago, and they are beginning to sprout. The little by little progress, hard conversations, daily decisions, times we’ve fallen flat on our faces and gotten back up, and the many times we’ve decided to do things differently have started to be fruitful.
So, I’m re-titling this season, and not because it’s not a full season. This year, we’re stepping into Harvest Season 2016. Before you cringe, let me take this a level deeper. I do not love the word “harvest” many times. Outside of the farming metaphor, it can have a connotation of sitting at an abundant table and enjoying the fruits of your labor. That’s a small part of it, but to gardeners and farmers the harvest is hard work. My sweet potatoes don’t land on our plates after growing them; we get your hands dirty and dig them out of the ground. We sweat. We muscle into it.
Too many years in a row, I grew grew grew, and got so tired growing things that I didn’t have any time or energy left to get to the finish line. To the gathering at the table where we get to savor and share. I’ve had years where I planted too much, and my tomatoes shriveled up on the vine before I could get the them. Harvest Season 2016 is a season of working with full wells, gathering up what’s been grown by the grace of God, and sharing it with the world—with you. And when we get fall into the busy trap, and lose sight of the big picture, we’re gonna grab hands and get right back to the good work of the harvest together.
If you need someone to come alongside you too, or have no idea were to start in hushing the hustle, we’re going to finish this year well together friends. No perfection required. Remember: it’s in the imperfect mess of the dirt where good things grow, little by little.
I’m making little by little progress on my pressed flower project from garden treasures in every season. I shared more about it here.
Here are this week’s 10 Things to Help You Make Progress on What Matters (In no particular order!)
1. Tell someone they matter. Each week in our team meetings, we give what we call “Golden Eggs.” Our office mascot is Henrietta after all. Golden Eggs are words of encouragement given to the team member who did something you thought was remarkable that week. This has been transformative for our team—and for my life. I got several eggs in my basket last week, and it gave me courage to keep going, keep leading, and keep working hard for what matters. Words have power. Just take a look at what happened when these teachers told students how much they appreciated them.
2. Overcome the hustle. My friend Jessica Turner from The Mom Creative is about to launch a new online course that I’m excited about! Stretched Too Thin: A 10-Day Course on Overcoming Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom will help you unpack your struggles and find practical advice to live with more fulfillment and intention. I was grateful to be asked to write a special bonus for the course about Fruitful Friendship. Get a peek and sign up here.
3. Own your accent. What does the way you speak say about where you’re from? This NY Times quiz was shockingly accurate for me. It put me on the map in Mobile, Alabama, which is 30 minutes away from where my parents live and where I grew up. Where did you land on the map? I can’t wait to hear your results!
4. Get after it. It’s not death that most people are afraid of, it’s not really living. Watch this. Oh so good. If you “kinda” want something, you’re going to “kinda” get results.
5. Goal get ’em! On the last Friday of each month, we’re doing our PowerSheets live on Instagram stories for you. You can watch Jess, Amber, Laura, and me do ours here—tons of helpful tips in each video. And here are my October goals. The new 2017 PowerSheets will be open for pre-order in a couple weeks, on November 1st!
6. Stand alone, even when you think no one is watching. He stood alone, prayed, and… God sure did answer. I love what his mom said about imperfect motherhood.
7. Go on a date. Kirsten from Exit Event came to our office a couple weeks ago to interview me about our company culture. Required date nights? Yep.
8. Use your money for something really good. Rhiannon finished her time with us over the summer and started her Young Life ministry. As someone who spent more time with her than anyone over the last two years, I know for sure that God has equipped her to help high school students know God. I wish I would have met a Rhiannon when I was in high school : ) Please consider a monthly donation to her ministry. Your donations will help her continue to do what she’s been called to do.
9. Get unstuck and motivated. Every Wednesday, I’ll be live on Facebook doing Grace-Filled Goal Coaching. This last Wednesday was so much fun with many of you! Catch the replay and join in here. If you “like” the page, you can get notifications when I go live so you don’t miss it each week. We’ll pick up next Wednesday with more!
10. Tell me who you are. I get fired up knowing what makes other people fired up. That’s why I studied music theatre in college: I loved telling people’s stories. And it’s why I became a personal trainer after college: I wanted to help people live their stories well. I’d love to know who you are, or if we’ve met before what’s new in your life, or how you connected with me. Tell me here or in the comments below. I can’t wait to get to know who you are!
P.S. Notice anything new here? : ) Um…. we finally have a mobile version (yes, I’m a little behind the times on updating my site)! Lots more updates happening behind the scenes, a new home page coming, and lots of surprises when my site officially re-launches next Thursday. I’m not planning a huge launch, but I will be telling you our new shop name and plans next Thursday too. I’m excited. It feels like finally coming home.
Lara, thank you for sharing these! I can’t wait to meet you at MTH so so so soon!!!! It’s going to be GREAT!!! 🙂
The map put me in California, and I’m from Columbus, Ohio!! Ha! But my parents are from Pittsburgh, and we spend a lot of time there, so I probably have a crazy mash-up of stuff in my patois.
Oh my GOSH! I can’t explain how timely this is! This year is the first one in many years where I am CHOOSING to not get completely overwhelmed by the Fall busy season. I love the fall, but it is always a challenging time of year. But not this year! I’ve decided I’m going to lean into this season, lean HEAVILY on Jesus , do what I can, be thankful, prayerful and leave all the rest to grace! Whew! Bring it Fall 2016!
The test gave me three cities, and one of them is 45 minutes from where I grew up/currently live! So crazy!
Also, JOSH!!!! So adorable!
Hi Lara! I’m Kelly and I am from Montgomery, Alabama (the quiz nailed it) and I currently live in Mobile, AL with my husband, dog, and two cats. We moved here this summer for my husband’s general surgery residency training. A while back, during your Facebook live with Ari, I asked Ari for some advice for getting through residency. He kind of dead panned to the camera, “Pray…” which made me laugh out loud. But he went on to share some profound truths – that I would have to look to God to fill me up. That only He (not my husband) would be able to satisfy me. Of course that’s easier said than done, but I took that advice to heart and have pondered over it. And over the last couple of months, I’ve come to realize that this distance from my husband, this loneliness, this isolation, is actually a BLESSING. Because I’m looking to Jesus more than I ever have in my life. This might sound small but this has hugely influenced my walk with Christ, my attitude, and the way I interact with my husband. This is just one small way you and your husband’s ministry has impacted my life in a profound way. There are so many others, but this is one of my favorites.
ALSO, I won the extra sticker sheets tonight and screamed when I found out!! Thanks so much!
Lara, I love your new title of Harvest Season 2016. That is a absolutely beautiful way to look at this season you are approaching.
Also thank you for your daily bits of joy, wisdom and love that you share on Instagram. God is beaming out of you sweet friend and I am blessed to get to see His beautiful light through you.
Read this on my phone today. Looks great!
So excited about the new name and the way that it captures your company and ministry!