Awaken and…Cultivate

I’m starting another series. Because I like to organize things and because the things I write about go in so many directions, it’s nice to feel like there’s some method to it.

This series is going to be an expansion and exploration of all the “ands” God seems to be adding to my word for this year. Already I am encountering a lot of them, and that’s both overwhelming and exciting!

I’m not sure how many years ago I first became interested in my friend Kristine’s goal setting notebook. First, let me tell you about Kristine. Kristine was my best friend in the second half of high school, she was a big part of Scott and my early relationship, most of my guy friends were in love with her at some point, she should have been my maid of honor, and she’s still just one of my very favorite people in the world. Even though we haven’t spent any time together (other than a quick moment outside a concert like 8 years ago) in 17 years, I still consider her one of my best friends, because she’s there and she understands. It’s funny how God will keep someone in your life and keep using them in unexpected ways, and Kristine is one of my favorite examples of that. She has shared her experiences with so many things that have ended up being huge for me in a positive way. Because she’s an intensive researcher like me, I know if she’s into it, it’s worth a look, and often I do. I’m a little embarrassed at how often I check things out because she’s into them, if I’m honest. At the same time, though, that’s the whole point of why we share, isn’t it? I know that’s why I write, because maybe you need what I’ve found, whether a product, a book, a bible verse, or just a truth God has awakened me to. All that said, after drooling over Kristine’s Power Sheets for however many years, I finally bought my own.

I also discovered that the creator of The PowerSheets notebook, Lara Casey, had written a couple of books, and I was going to read one ASAP. I chose Cultivate .

Y’all, reading this book was like reading everything God has been speaking into me the past six months in a way that flowed and made sense. It is so good I’m thinking of reading it again the last week in November or December every year as I prepare to do my goals for the next year.

In the book, Lara uses her own story and a lot of gardening metaphors to illustrate ways we can pursue living fully and intentionally with JOY in the season we are in and in preparation for the seasons to come. I expected a book from this woman with a whole goal setting system to be about go go go make things happen (Coincidentally-or not- she actually has a conference called Making Things Happen…and the title of her first book is Make It Happen) , and I expected to experience a lot of shame, but it was quite the opposite! I found comfort and reassurance that even the most desolate winter season can be and is not only preparation for a beautiful spring full of opportunities and growth, but is full of its own beauty and joy. I found encouragement that it’s okay to grow slowly, and the most beautiful plants often do. I read about not overplanting, because too many plants lead to exhausted ground and less flavorful fruit. I read verses that had never really clicked for me that now seemed written just for my story. (1 Corinthians 3:7, y’all…) I fell in love with her gardening analogies and stories and became inspired and decided that one of my goals for this year is begin to cultivate our own little garden, partly for fun, partly for educational opportunities, and most of all, to embrace the truths of what God spoke into my heart. Expect to read a LOT about our little sunny spots.

So, what am I hoping to cultivate this year? Joy and Freedom. Those are the biggest things I’m asking God to Awaken in me. I spent four or five days after finishing Cultivate working on my Power Sheets Prep work, and it was exhausting, overwhelming, and exhilarating. I won’t bore you with all of it, but here are a few pictures of my scribbling.

And here are the goals that came from all that prep work:

1. Exercise consistently to have a healthy body that I can feel strong and confident in. (Please notice that there are no numbers in this goal.)

2. Spend time with God to replace the lies of the past with the truth of His character and my identity in Him.

3. Create time and space for fun/relaxing activities in my life to feed and refresh me. (E asked me not long ago what I do purely for fun, and I could not think of a single thing. Even the things I enjoy doing have s purpose, and she challenged me to find *fun* )

4. Grow a garden-Herbs, flowers, veggies…

5. Create a weekday routine that gives us fun, full, and free days.

– I want to get the stuff we have to do done early to leave us free to do what we want with the majority of our time-like gardening!

6. Create and maintain a life-giving home without overtasking and absorbing valuable time. (Keep it clean, warm, welcoming, but with minimal time spent. I want to be ready to welcome others, but know that I’m who they are here to see!)

7. Commit to pursuing my writing and expand the reach of my words. (*waves*)

8. Minimize phone and social media usage to make room for what matters. (YAAAAASSSS JESUS!)

9. Fuel my body with nutritious foods that serve my goals, but keep space for enjoyment too (because life is for living and wine and cheese and chocolate.)

10. Curate a schooling environment and routine that is more fun and experiential and less “work we have to do.” (Because isn’t that the beauty of homeschooling?)

You’ll hear a lot about these goals, their whys, and the progress. Starting next week, I’ll share my monthly Power Sheets Prep Work with you, and update in between too.

This goal setting process has been different from any I’ve undergone before, and I’m so excited to pursue cultivating instead of achieving.

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