I had the privilege to be a part of the “book launch team” for Lara Casey’s book “Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life”. I loved her first book, “Make It Happen” and have been anxiously waiting for “Cultivate” to come out (and today is the day!!!). I have been following Lara on her social media outlets for a couple of years now. She is so genuine in all that she does. She writes from her heart with authentic transparency and vulnerability about growing in her faith and cultivating a life of intention.
I have been pondering what to write in this post for the past month since receiving my advanced copy and there is just so much goodness throughout the book that I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start out by saying I received an electronic copy of the book and once I began reading it, I promptly ordered the paperback (which should be arriving today, yay) because there is so much I want to highlight and I want to write notes in it as well. And let’s face it…it has such a pretty cover, who would not want that on their bookshelves?!? Lara begins every chapter with a “Lie” and a “Truth” and then expounds on that by telling personal experiences in her own life. Pretty much every “Lie” is one that I have told myself at one time or another in my life…it’s like Lara got in my head and wrote this book directly to me. This (and her first book, “Make It Happen”) will be books that I will want to read every year from here on out and I do not say that lightly…there are few books I like to reread over and over again.
I love how through the whole book, she stresses the importance of it is okay to grow slow. “Celebrate progress, not perfection!” For me this is something I struggle with…I want to be perfect right now, but in so much of life that is not feasible due to the season we might be in at the time. I am learning that in this season of small kids, I am not able to do “all” the things I want to do and I need to pick one or two items and cultivate those little by little. Slow growth is what is sustainable and is what matters. She likens our lives to a garden that needs to be cultivated. You don’t just plant something and grow a garden overnight…a garden takes time and work. The same is true of our lives, if we want to bloom and flourish in our dreams and goals…we need to take time to tend to it. “Little-by-little progress adds up.”
Okay…here goes nothing, I am taking a rabbit trail here, but trust me it all relates back to the book…well, at least in my head it does, so please indulge me.
I have always wanted a garden/plants and have tried numerous times to grow plants and have failed. No green thumb here. However, after starting to read “Cultivate” and following Lara (through Instagram and her blog) as she tends and cultivates her garden, it renewed this interest in me. I figured since I am home on maternity leave…this might be a good time to try again. I went to Lowe’s and bought a few flowery plants and some succulents and decided to try my hand at it.
This picture above are the flowers I bought on May 31st in their original containers…the picture below is the picture I took today (June 27th) of the same flowers that I repotted and have tended to daily.
They are still alive and blooming!!! This is a significant “win” for me. I have never been able to tend to plants this long and have them still alive and looking pretty. Granted a couple of the plants I bought died and I have had to do a lot of pruning of dead leaves/stems and such…but for me, I say this is a job well done. I am enjoying this so much, that my parents brought over a couple of tomato plants and houseplants (my mom has a great green thumb and has plants ALL over her house) last week and I am enjoying tending to those. The tomato plants even have a couple of little tomatoes popping out already. Anyways…I guess why I am sharing this with you is this book has struck a chord with me. So much so, that I decided to go out and buy plants and practice this idea of “cultivation” in person in hopes that if I saw how tending to those adds up, how much more so will tending to things in my own life add up and blossom out? Does that make sense? In all honesty, tending to these flowers/plants has renewed me in wanting to set up goals for intentional living and helping me to believe that achieving them is possible. I want to see progress…I might mess up along the way (like losing those couple of plants), but in the end it will be worth it and I will see results like I have with my flowers still blooming a month later.
This is probably going to be my top book recommendation for the year. Please do yourself a favor and go read it. By the end of the book you will be so inspired and so freed by what you have read, that you will want to go out and live life intentionally and with grace.
Until next time…keep it simple.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher. The reviewer was under no obligation to offer a positive review.