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One of my goals for this year was to reach a book each month (some of you may think that is an easy goal and others may feel like it is impossible). I am finding it to be much more difficult to accomplish than I expected. I have started PLENTY of books so far this year (mostly kids books with Kinsley), but I have only reached the end of a select few (one of which being a baby book that I needed for survival).
Since we are all busy ladies, and we also know that reading is pretty important for your intellectual and personal growth, I want to start sharing book reviews of the things I am reading to make it easy for you to pick out books that you will love!
I was blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the book launch team for Lara Casey’s Cultivate: A Grace Filled Guide for Growing an Intentional Life. The last few months of my life have been so busy, that the only reason I was held accountable to finishing the book was because I was on the launch team. But, y’all, I am so glad I did. This book was SO GOOD.
I had read her first book, Make It Happen, a few years ago and really connected with Lara’s honesty with her struggles to find a good balance between work, faith, marriage and chasing your dreams. So I had high expectations for Cultivate, and the book did not disappoint!
Cultivate covers topics of faith, gardening, adoption and how to feel like you have it all without feeling the need to do everything perfectly. I am not a gardener (I can’t keep my succulents alive) but I loved the life analogies Lara pulled from her garden.
I can’t recommend the book enough and wanted to be sure I shared with you some of the lessons I learned from the book. These just skim the surface, but they really impacted me and I hope they will make an impact on you as well!
You have no idea how the seeds you plant today will sprout and grow long after you are gone.
Get the gardening reference? This resonated with me because I have found it to be so true, but also so difficult to accept. So much of me wants to see the impact on my actions RIGHT NOW. It is hard to do something and then wait to see what will come of it. But that shouldn’t stop us from taking action. You can use this as motivation to share the Gospel with a stranger or to spend more time pouring into your kids. Whatever you do, it is always good to remember that each action, positive or negative, is sowing seeds that will grow into something later on.
To get something done, you just need to start with one small step forward.
Doesn’t this make every big thing seem more doable?! Lara speaks about this in relation to her family starting the process of adoption. A task that might seem unconquerable, is made much more attainable when you take it just one step at a time. A tried and true lesson that I am sure you have heard before, but I need a constant reminder of this in order to help push me forward on my goals!
You CAN do it all. You just need to define what your “ALL” is.
We all know that one woman who seems to be doing everything. She has a great marriage, a fantastic career, an Instagram full of Baby Gap style shots of her kids and a resume of volunteer work that could rival the Pope’s. It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and think that we are the ones who can’t figure out how to ‘have it all’. But we can! We just have to focus on defining what our ‘all’ is. Maybe doing it all to you is running marathons, cooking dinner and always being there for bath time. You can do that! We don’t have to do everything to be successful. We can be successful at the things we really want to be doing.
Sometimes there is no logical step forward, that is when you have to step out in Faith.
I had a friend who said something similar to me right after I found out at my 20-week ultrasound that our first daughter was suffering from some excruciating abnormalities. Sometimes, God doesn’t make our paths clear. And in those moments we get to make choices on the basis of faith that our God is Sovereign and that He will carry us through no matter what comes next.
Stop just planning an intentional life, and start PLANTING your intentional life.
GUILTY! I feel like I get caught up in planning my life all the time, but don’t take action as much as I should. When I read this, I immediately put down the book and send a few emails to take action on some things that I had been dreaming up for a while, but had just wanted to put off till I was ready (when do you ever feel totally ready for stuff?!). Is there something that you have been planning rather than planting? GO DO IT NOW!
Sometimes God leads us through seasons little by little, because maybe if we went through a season too quickly, we wouldn’t be ready for what is coming next. (Exodus 23:29-30)
I think a lot of times, we place success on getting something done first or getting it done quickly. But if you ask the tortoise and the hare (or Lara Casey), faster isn’t always better. She makes a great point about God telling Moses that He would help the Israelites drive out their enemies from the promised land little by little. God could have easily said “Imma snap my fingers and all these enemies will be out of here” (clearly a translation from the Message), but he didn’t do that. He used that time to build up and strengthen the Israelites. Such a good lesson when you are going through a season of waiting!
When you trade your grumbling for gratitude, we will “shine as lights in the world”.
This is MY FAVORITE take away from Cultivate. When you watch someone with unwavering faith in times of trial, think about how inspiring that can be. Currently, I am watching (via Facebook) a connection from college live this out. She recently had a baby that suffered some complications during delivery and is fighting for her life in NICU. The amount of faith that this new mom is showing (just in her Facebook posts) has been so touching and inspirational for me. And I know I am not the only one who is impacted by her words of trust and faith in our God. One of her most recent posts on Facebook (updating friends on the health of her baby girl) was liked, shared and commented on over 3,000 times! In a situation where nobody could blame her for being frustrated or angry, she is choosing to praise God for her blessings. When that happens it is truly incredible and I thank Lara Casey for putting that into words!
You guys there were so many other lessons and takeaways that I wanted to include in this book review of Cultivate, but I would have shared the entire book and that probably isn’t legal. If you have a limited amount of reading time (hello crawling babies), I highly recommend that you put Cultivate at the top of your list!
If you have read Cultivate, I would love to hear your favorite takeaway in the comments below! If you haven’t read it yet, share which lesson I listed above, resonates the most with you!