Sep 1, 2023

September Goals and a New Year

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Golden in the garden,
Golden in the glen,
Golden, golden, golden
September’s here again!

– “September” by Annette Wynne

Thank you for your kind words on my last post. I’m grateful for you, friends, and for your genuine words of encouragement in this last year—and always. August brought the hardest days of grief and, as I anticipated, an entrance into a new season on the anniversary of my Dad’s homecoming.

A few highlights from August:
—I got through this first year of grief, praise the Lord, surrounded by love and support from Ari, family, and friends. We celebrated my dad‘s life with a free flower stand for our neighbors. It was my hardest month of grief but the most fruitful. As I planned, I also took time to paint in his honor—all his favorite colors and some meaningful elements that represent his life.
—Our trip to Iceland was an adventure! Take a peek here.
—The homeschool year started with joy. This year, the Ambleside Online community and Charlotte Mason’s principles have been especially life-giving for our kids and me. Many of you have asked me how we homeschool and what we do, and I’m finally ready to start sharing about it. In all things, it has taken me this year to get quiet and process my first half journey to consider intentional next steps in this second half. Stay tuned.
—I made strides in my health and fitness. (I’m working on a post today with updates!) Little by little progress adds up. I completed 129 strength training workouts so far this year and didn’t want to do approximately 100 of them in those few seconds before I started. The smallest and most important step of simply beginning each workout is like having a cup of coffee. I get energized and grateful I took that step instead of giving up at the start. Sometimes, the hardest part of getting started is getting started, right? But it just takes one little movement toward your future self to get the momentum going. Then, guess what? You’re doing it!

You know all those books you’ve always wanted to read? You should go READ them. <- on repeat to myself lately, as I work to set a new habit. A la Atomic Habits and the work we did for over a decade with Making Things Happen, I named the type of person I want to be in present tense: I am the kind of person who consistently reads great books and puts them into practice. Yes!! Affiliate links are below – enjoy!

What I read or listened to:

Sacred Rhythms – This has long been on my TBR list, and it was been a balm for my soul this last month. I plan to read it again, it was so helpful!
Every Moment Holy: Death, Grief and Hope. I would buy this book for the world if I could. My friend, Nancy, gifted me a copy, and it met me right when and where I needed it. The writing is beautiful and I plan to return to it throughout the year at various milestones.
Falling Upward – I resisted reading this, and while I don’t agree with much of his core theology, this is mostly a poignant study on mid-life. It has enlivened me in this second-half journey.
—A desk full of Autism research from our OT, specifically about Sarah’s presentation, PDA.
The Common Rule. While I learned a lot from this book and plan to try kneeling prayer this month as a liturgical habit, it felt like a warm-up to Habits of the Household. The author finds his voice more in book two. A favorite quote: “Failure is the path; beauty is the destination. We walk toward beauty on the path of failure. Formation occurs at the interplay of failure and beauty. … We can become ourselves only by gazing at the words of the Bible. Once you know who you are in God, you will turn to the world in love.”
—I went back into the archives and listened to several Tim Keller sermons. His voice is a familiar friend, as I attended his church after college in NYC. We lived in the same building and said hello at the mailbox several times. His teaching illuminates life and faith in new ways for me.
—Josh and I also decided to begin our fourth (?) listen of My Side of the Mountain on our drive to pick up Grace from her weekly literature and composition lessons. I love it so much and he can’t get enough of it either. Acorn pancakes, anyone?
—The kids have also been working through the What to Wear Bible Study at night with Ari, thanks to my friend Catherine Parks. An excellent study for kids in bite-size devotionals.
—Lots of BRAND NEW BOOKS came in the mail last week – I shared them here (Hi 🙂 First video in a year which felt a little awkward at first – good to see you all.)
—Just for fun, Gerry Brooks. He makes me laugh out loud. I was grateful to connect my literary agent with him for his first book!

In progress:
Gentle and Lowly
Mere Christianity in honor of my Dad. This was one of his favorites.
Parenting by Paul David Tripp is still punching me in the gut every time I pick it up. Some good wisdom in these pages.

What I’m looking forward to in September:
—School starting in full swing. Our kids go to homeschool school a couple of days a week, and they cannot wait to see their buddies.
—Enjoying the cooler temps. I love fall! This month, the garden turns magical with butterflies, sleeping bees, and a long-awaited harvest. We will be pulling more carrots and already harvested the rainbow glass gem popcorn.
—A trip to the mountains. I’m attempting a solo 8-mile hike tomorrow that I’ve always wanted to do. I will report back, Lord willing! 🙂
—The start of the Jewish holidays.
—I went searching for faithful affirmations for Sarah to listen to each day, given what we know now about her PDA and anxiety. I found a lot of fluff, so I plan to record my own for her—and share it with you, too, if it’s helpful for your kiddos.
—Doing new things. I have always loved home design and spent many years curating meaningful decor for Southern Weddings and Cultivate product shoots. I am a deep researcher when it comes to trying new products. A small thing I’ve always wanted to do? Gather all my favorite home, kitchen, health, and homeschool items into one place for friends to easily shop. Find all my favorites here. I’ll be adding to this a bunch this month—click “follow” for updates.

Lara Casey PowerSheets Goal Planner

My September goals were fueled by the Mid-Year Refresh in the PowerSheets. The process never fails to clarify my focus and make me want to take action—no need for forced motivation. My goals matter to me in the big picture, so I want to take action. I’m grateful for another month to tackle what God has given me to do.

What are you focusing on in September? Do we share any goals? I’d love to hear!

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  1. Em on September 1, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    The affirmations for Sarah – so sweet! 🥹 And I agree about The Common Rule!

  2. Jennifer Teubl on September 6, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Your posts are always a joy to my heart. Know that throughout the month of August as you would come to mind I’d pray for you and the anticipated one year mark of losing your Dad this side of heaven. May the Lord continue to wrap you in His love and give you peace. Thank you for continuing to share your heart and life. Also, read Habits of the Household in January and I still think it’s my favorite read of the year! Blessings.

    • Lara on September 6, 2023 at 7:11 pm

      You are so generous and thoughtful to pray for me. Thank you, Jennifer. That means so much. Your prayers were felt.

  3. Karis on September 9, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Absolutely loved your Iceland IG post, Lara. Was that you all getting suited up to snorkel at Silfra? I only learned about this small space between two continents this year and it’s captured my imagination and made me wonder more about hard and beautiful in-between spaces <3.

  4. Julie on September 14, 2023 at 8:47 am

    I just started to read Atomic Habits. I’ve tried several times to listen to it, but I need to hold a hard copy! I loved Mere Christianity and CS Lewis books in general. I finally, at 46, read through all of his Chronicles of Narnia books. My current fiction read is Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. We are a literature-based homeschool family and I am determined to read through *most* of the books that I made my kids read. 🤣

    I am curious about the Falling Upward book. Middle-aged–okay all of my 40’s thus far–has felt like a train wreck! A word that God keeps pressing into my spirit is Purpose. I have yet to see what that all entails, but for now, I will stay faithful to schooling my last kiddo and serving my adult children and their families.

    Has your family read Lost on a Mountain in Maine yet? It’s a true story of a 12-year-old boy who gets lost hiking on Mount Katahdin in the 1930s. It is a family favorite of my older kids.

    I am looking forward to reading your health series and learning more about your homeschooling journey. This is year 15 for our homeschool and I am still learning! (and incredibly grateful that God has allowed me to educate my kids at home!)

    I hope your hike went well!

  5. Melissa Q on September 27, 2023 at 12:10 am

    I just flipped through your Amazon recommendations and would like to suggest Paul David Tripp’s Christmas advent Devotional, especially since you are being so impacted by his parenting book (it is worth reading again and again and it’s about time I pick it up again) His expressions of the gospel are so fresh, they move me. And his daily devotional New Morning Mercies is excellent.

  6. Lara on October 25, 2023 at 10:30 am

    Testing a new comment feature here : )

    • Lara on October 25, 2023 at 10:31 am


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