Thank you Lara Casey & Cultivate What Matters team for providing me with an advanced copy of your new book, launching Tuesday June 27th. Below you’ll find the affiliate link to purchase through Amazon as paperback or Kindle
As you know, I’ve been working on my PowerSheets all year long. I’ve been working, month after month, to adjust goals, meet goals, discover new goals. I’ve had to give myself some grace cuz as I’m half way through the year, I’m seeing how short I am on a few of them. But that’s ok. In going through all these, I’m (very) slowly realizing it’s not checking all that off – it’s determining what matters in our lives.
You see, in the PowerSheets section, there’s a part asking to envision where you’ll be at 80, and looking back, what you’ll focus on. Will it matter if you’ve hit billionaire status cuz you worked your bottom off in your prime years? Is it setting out travel budgets to visit the globe with your family and/or significant other?
Every time I’ve hit that section, I pause. I am so in the thick of life with 3 littles that I have a VERY hard time looking 5, 10, 15 years down the line. Thinking about life at 80 is overwhelming.
Last year, Jon decided to our family needed to book a vacation to celebrate his graduation and Aubrey’s as well. He found us a little amazing house in Carlsbad, CA and we booked it for a week. We made plans to visit theme parks, friends, family, and just enjoy life. No work, no obligations (other than feeding the kids. lol). I was nervous because it was a lot of money, and we’d be going without any family. Just us. In charge of 3 kids.
We made it to May and started working on the trip. The house he found was super kid friendly and we didn’t need to bring a lot of the usual kid stuff we’d need for Ryan & the bigs. That was so helpful. When we arrived, the kids had fun exploring and the backyard had a huge grass area, huge sand area, a little clubhouse for them and a swing set. Every kid’s dream!
I started reading Lara’s book – Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life (available for pre-order and shipping June 27th) at the start of the trip. I read it in the morning with my coffee, a few pages here and there between the kids running around, and after they went to bed.
So here’s where the funny twist on how God works in us starts.
Prior to this trip – we were completely content in our home. We knew, down the line, our home might be too small with 3 adults and 3 growing kids (My mom lives with us). On that trip, some discussions about home searches started. Anxiety mixed with excitement ensued. When we returned home, we thought we found the perfect solution and decided to move forth with that process.
A new home, bigger home, meant a lot of changes. A lot of changes for some of the goals I had outlined in my PowerSheets and some would bring disappointment as a sacrifice for our family. Jon and I talked a lot, emailed a lot, texted a lot. The first round of rejection brought relief. We’d stay put. But there was a constant nagging to return back to the plan, make adjustments, more sacrifices, and see if it would work.
It was 2 weeks of chaos and I hadn’t cracked open Cultivate due to everything. Jon and I were praying and we just wanted a sign of what to do.
One night after the kids were in bed, I just crawled in to bed, overwhelmed, and finished the book. At the end, I realized the book was speaking to me and I had no idea. I recalled our trip, how much fun we had, and how we had more dreams to travel with the family. I kept thinking about cultivating what matters, returning all things to that phrase. When I’m 80 – do I care if we lived in a house that could have used another bathroom? Or would I remember all the family events we hosted, small groups we planned to share God’s word with other families, and the laughter (and tears) the walls contained?
Would I want to look back on photos of our family taking adventures because we had the flexibility, financially, to make it happen instead of being strapped to a big house?
The answer I needed was in that book. No joke, 2 days later Jon and I had a big talk on what mattered to us in a few years. We talked about what limitations we’d have staying in this home and one with the other. At the end of the conversation – tears ensued and we popped a bottle of champagne.
Our toast? To not moving. To staying here, making memories, being content. Making memories and enjoying the holidays we hosted. Learning to live with less, and make more with what we have.
Lara Casey is a wonder with words. She will tell you again and again, it’s not because of her, it’s because of Him. She’s had a life full of twists and turns and her enthusiasm for life, for focusing on family and God is so inspiring. I’m grateful that when she realized she couldn’t, He did. That’s what I took away and that’s why I think you should read this book.
Thank you Lara Casey for your words and your impact on our lives.