Transcription of Cultivate Your Life Podcast Episode 017: Take Back Your Summer

Episode 017 of the Cultivate Your Life Podcast was released on May 29h, 2019. Listen here!

Do you feel like you need some fresh air? Let’s go into the garden together.

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them. The things that last longer than you, the things that run deeper and are more thrilling than skydiving. The things that make you come alive. Welcome to the Cultivate Your Life podcast, where each week we talk about how to uncover what matters to you in the big picture and start acting like it today. Whether you’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed or in need of some refreshing truth today. I’m Lara and you are in the right place. Let’s cultivate what matters together.

Well, it is so good to be out here in the garden with you today. It’s been a little while, and you know I always say you can’t do it all and do it well and I live it. You can’t, I can’t do it all and do it well, so it took a couple weeks off from podcasting to sink my teeth into other things that you will find out about soon. But it is so good to be out here in the garden with you, a lot has happened.

Guess what we are looking out at together right now? We’re looking out at possibility. We finally, finally planted our seeds and they are nestled into the dirt right here and I’m seeing tiny, tiny little green shoots pop up here and there. We finally did it. And you know I felt like it was too late, I usually plant my seeds right around April 15th and there was just so much life that seemed to get in the way.

My neck was hurting me, my schedule was full, never seemed like we could find a really good weekend, where Ari could be with me to help watch the kiddos and for me to be out with the kiddos to be able to do this. It just never really worked out. And I started to feel depressed about it, I really did, I started to feel like, well maybe this year we won’t. And that was too much for me and here’s why, this is not just about having a garden, this is part of the memories that we are creating with our family and our kids and I wanted this.

I wanted to make space for the kids, I had a vision for what our summer could look like and not having a garden would not have helped us to achieve that big picture vision of where we want to be in our ’80s, in our ’90s when we’re a hundred. It all starts with these tiny little memories that we’re making here of smelling tomato leaves, planting seeds, dancing around the garden when things pop up and when they sprout. And so I put on my big girl panties and we finally had a window of time open up. I feel like the Lord just said, “You know what Lara, it’s time and here’s the best part. It’s not too late. It’s not too late.”

I kept repeating that to myself over and over as we went to the garden store to go get mulch and as Grace and I opened the refrigerator and pulled open that bottom drawer that’s full of seeds, I thought it’s not too late, it’s not too late to grow something good in this soil. And it’s not too late to grow something good in your life either.

So what do we plant? We plant it all a lot of fun things out here. You know our original list if you go back a few episodes we talked about how Josh wanted to plant if I’m getting this correct mops, gops and golden glops something to that effect. And I think we might have planted some of those, we planted some love, we planted some kisses, we planted some hugs, we had a lot of fun getting out in the dirt but we did plant some brand new things.

This year we’re trying chamomile, never done that before, might have been motivated by my kids having a little trouble going to sleep at night. So you know, sometimes a mom needs to plant what she needs to plant out in the garden. But Grace is excited to make flower crowns out of that. We planted peppers and tomatoes and basil and all kinds of flower seeds from amaranth to zinnias to love in a puff, which is one of our favorite vines that we get seeds for it from my friend Erin at Floret Flowers. We planted lettuce and you better believe we planted the greatest thing of all.

Do you remember what we grew last year? Her name was big Rita, and I’m not sure what the name of this one is going to be if it will even be a male or a female, we will find out. Time will tell. But we did plant another giant pumpkin. I might have jumped up and down after Grace and I stuck that giant seed into the earth and I cannot wait for that thing to sprout. But I’m here to tell you that I thought it was too late to plant a garden, it was a really a metaphor for my life. There were so many things that were creeping out. Have you been feeling that? You feel like there’s so many things that we’re getting to the halfway point of the year and I haven’t done them.

Maybe it’s too late, well that thought just made me frustrated. You know what? When I get frustrated I actually it’s a really good thing, and if you think about it in your life the times that you have had a vision for your life or there was a goal you set out to accomplish or there’s something you really wanted to do and in your life just wasn’t aligning with that for some reason.

It can leave you feeling really frustrated or overwhelmed or defeated or hopeless even. And there was one night in the kitchen a couple weeks ago where I was feeling that, I was feeling frustrated I was like, “No, this is not the way I want our lives to go, I don’t want to claim defeat in this because I’m a month “behind” in planting my garden.” So I said to myself the words I’ve said to myself since Grace was born, “You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do. You should go do with them no matter what day of the year it is, no matter how far behind you feel, you should go do them get out there and get your hands dirty.”

I really wanted to make this space for the kids. It’s like setting them up for memories that I don’t have to force or craft, I just give them the space to do it. I had a vision for not just our summer but beyond and you know there are 93 days in the summer, we’re not even officially the summer yet but I think some of us feel like it’s too late to plan a meaningful summer.

We already feel behind them that, summer doesn’t officially start until the end of June. Did you know that? There are 93 days in summer, almost 100 days. How are you going to use them well? How are you going to plant what matters? You want this summer to be different, you wanted to be refreshing, you wanted to be purpose filled, you wanted to be joy filled but maybe you felt like I did for a bit, life just keeps happening, you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re feeling afraid that you’re going to miss what’s right in front of you.

That’s what I felt, I just felt like no, I don’t want to miss what’s right in front of me. I don’t want to coast through life. You’re afraid you’re going to miss what’s right in front of you opportunities, and here’s the kicker that you can’t get back. You know like we talked about together in episode eight of the podcast, you know that your days are numbered and now you know too that, that is actually a really great thing it motivates you to make the most of them. You want to use your time with no regrets. And you know what, it’s time. It’s time to take back your summer.

And for me, I really followed three steps to get there, three simple steps. As I was in that moment in my kitchen a couple of weeks ago. I knew number one, but I had to decide, I had to decide what is it exactly that I want out of this season? What is it exactly? Because sometimes we think we know what we want, we think we know what the goal is but we haven’t really gotten clear about it like what really is most important in this season?

So that was number one, I had to define that for myself. Number two, I needed to get the garden planted, I needed to do something about it. The garden was part of what’s important to me in cultivating the faith in the hearts of my children and togetherness and our family narrative. And so just flat out very practical. Okay, Lara, you need to get the garden planted, no matter how far behind you feel. And you know what, that felt really overwhelming, maybe there’s something in your life where you do get clear on what the goal is. You know exactly what it is you want, you know what that next step is but wow that next step feels really overwhelming. And that’s where you got to break it down, you got to break it down into the tiniest little elementary steps.

Do you know how big some of those seeds were that we planted out here? I mean, I’d put some of them in the hands of our kiddos because I don’t want to do all the work out here, I want them to feel it and see it and experience it and even if they mess up even they drop a seed in the wrong spot whatever. But some of the seeds I put in their hands, they were so tiny that it was even hard to see them with the naked eye.

Some of those seeds are just, I mean you could sneeze and they’d be gone. But it’s the same with action steps. You know God didn’t make most seeds to be enormous. He knew that great things grow out of small things, it’s the same with your life. If there’s something that you want in your life you want to grow maybe it’s your faith or a relationship or a project that’s just been lingering or maybe you just feel like you know this year is not gone like I thought it would. I need to start fresh with my goals, or maybe you’re in a new season of life than where you were on January 1st and you just want a reset button.

Break those things down into the tiniest little steps. You know what that stuff was for me? Number one was opening up my refrigerator. The first step in planting a garden is not planting the garden. The first step is open the refrigerator, pull out the seeds and see what you have. That was it. And you know what, the best part about breaking your action steps down into tiny, tiny little pieces is they build on each other? I knew once I have finished that what the next step was.

Okay. Now, we need to get some scraps of paper and write down what we have and start to figure out maybe where it goes. The next step, we probably need to see like how is our dirt doing, and the steps become clearer and clearer and clearer. You don’t have to know the whole path forward, you don’t have to write down a plan for all of time. Just take the next best step.

I got clearer on what mattered, I decided what needed to happen and then I broke that thing down into the tiniest little action step. Just the first starting step so I could get the momentum going, and I just needed to start. And I knew that those steps would fill themselves in after that. Now, what happens if you don’t do that? So you’re right there right now there’s something that you want to change. What if you don’t? Let’s just consider that, really this motivates me so much. I’m out here looking at these dirt beds, looking at the tiniest little glimmers of green starting to come up in various places.

And I think, what if I didn’t? What if I didn’t? I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you about any of this first of all. What if I didn’t? What if it was all the same? Then that’s really the answer to the question. What if I didn’t? Everything would be the same. If you don’t maybe this summer is going to feel like every other season, but if you do take that next best step you’ll end this summer knowing that you didn’t miss a thing. It didn’t have to be perfect but you chose what matters.

You made memories, you felt real joy, you cultivated what matters. So let’s get to it. Me and you together we’re going to take back our summers, take it back from distractions, take it back from all the should’s, take it back from the guilt, take it back from not choosing anything and instead choose what matters. We’re going to take it back from inaction and complacency and comparison and all these things that hold us back from really growing what matters in our unique gardens. Your summer, it doesn’t have to look like everybody else’s and it likely won’t.

I was just talking to Emily Thomas in my office who I know in our last podcast episode I told you that you were going to hear from me and Emily in the next podcast episode, but we switch things up. So you’ll hear from her in a couple of weeks but I was just talking to her this morning about how for most of my life I felt like you know, goal setting is just not fun, it’s just not who wants the pressure, who wants all that stuff? And you may be feeling a lot about pressure right now and that overwhelm and that didn’t do the things I thought I was going to do by this point in the year, by this almost halfway point in the year.

And here I’m talking this morning about how the way we do goal setting is fun, like I can actually use that word because making little tiny steps forward not necessarily giant leaps all the time but the tiny steps forward, it really is fun, it feels so good. I mean think about it. You know the feeling you get when you get a few things checked off your list. Where are my checklist lovers? That feeling of accomplishment of moving forward, it’s ingrained in us because God wants us to move forward on good things.

So goal setting is fun and I felt that thrill of fun when I looked at my PowerSheets Goal Planner for this month and one of my monthly action items was plant the garden. And I remember when I wrote that at the beginning of this month feeling like, I don’t know how that’s going to happen, I already feel behind, I even feel silly writing it on this tending list but it matters to me. I’m going to write it.

And when I finally sat down a couple days ago to mark progress on my attending list progress not perfection, and to mark a little bit of progress on planting the garden. Here I am on the other side taking a big deep breath, I’m so grateful that I mean quite literally dug in. I’m so grateful that I just got over myself and got over the fear and the feeling like I was behind and I wish you were literally standing right next to me, I wish I could just look you in the eyes and help you to believe the same about right where you are.

And next week, I am going to walk you through three ways, three steps to make the most of the next six months in the year, no matter how your year started. So stay tuned for that. But that’s the beauty of the garden. That’s the beauty of what I’ve learned in the garden that we have really written in to the fabric of the PowerSheets process, is that little by little progress adds up and it’s actually the journey to get to your goal. That’s the fun part. I love, love, love this stage, I mean I’m staring out here with you and there’s not much to see but I love it, it’s this feeling of possibility of planted the seeds, I’m going to be out here, I’m going to attend to them little by little, and little by little over time not all at once not overnight good things can grow, no matter what day you started, no matter how imperfect your start was.

It’s not too late to grow good things, and I have some fun in store for you next week, besides that new podcast episode where I’m going to walk you through the three steps to make the most of the rest of 2019, no matter how it started. Next week is mid-year goals week, so if you don’t have PowerSheets yet, now is the time to get them. And if you do, we’re going to get refreshed on our goals.

We’re going to start fresh, I’m going to give you so many good practical things next week just follow along at, and do grab your Cultivate What Matters Six-Month PowerSheets. Now’s a perfect time to start a brand new set. Use the code CultivateYourLife for 10% off your Six-Month PowerSheets. Use that code CultivateYourLife at checkout for 10% off your Six-Month PowerSheets and so many of you have expressed to me wanting to go deeper on just one goal or two goals. I want to really focus this summer because there’s so much going on in the summer, whether you’re a working mom or you’re off for the summer or whatever it is. There’s so much going on.

Again, like you heard me say earlier, you can’t do it all and do it well. But you can choose to cultivate what matters. We have 11 brand new PowerSheets accessory products in the shop brand new, and my favorite ones are our new downloadable digital goal guides. These are like mini goal workbooks that focus on specific subjects like finances, wellness has been our most popular goal guide so far. The couple’s goal guide, Ari and I are going to do our couples goal guide this week and I’m so excited.

You have a parenting goal guide and you have a friendship goal guide, it’s called our Community Goal Guide. And these are instant downloads, so use that code CultivateYourLife for 10% off your order at We also have some adorable summer postcards. I actually just addressed one to my dad and I have it out here with me because I’m on my way to the mailbox as we pass through the garden together and the front of it says I love you from my head to my toes and spilled tomatoes, get it? I love you from my head till my toes. My dad’s going to love this.

Well, you know we’re just getting started out here in the garden. We might be almost halfway through the year but this is just the beginning, I’m excited to get out here with you more over the next few weeks, and I feel so relieved having finally started this thing that matters to me, I mean it’s a huge project. Let me just say that too.

I hope you know that gardening is no casual hobby, I was sweating. I think I had 18,000 steps the day that I planted the sucker. So it’s good because gardening also, there was a new study recently done that said gardening is actually just as good as exercise. So I know that duh, I could have been your study subject but I’m excited to get out here with you more, and I hope that this encouraged you to get started on the thing that matters most to you just declare this your fresh start.

If you need more help, grab your PowerSheets at, use that code CultivateYourLife and stay tuned for next week for Mid-Year Goals Prep Week at, and also to that episode where I’m going to give you the three ways to make the most of the rest of us here. No matter how it started, until next time, lettuce celebrate. You know I love a good garden pun, lettuce celebrate. And as always, step outside, smell the roses and get your hands dirty.