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Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life Paperback – June 27, 2017
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About the Author
Lara Casey is a mom to three (one through the gift of adoption), a grateful wife, and a believer in the impossible. She created the PowerSheets grace-filled goal setting planner and the Write the Word journals, and she founded Southern Weddings Magazine a decade ago. Lara is also the author of Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live On Purpose. She lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and loves getting her hands dirty in the garden.
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My life has not turned out the way I envisioned. I thought I would attend a Bible University, meet the man of my dreams, buy a home, be a pastor’s wife, have 2.3 kids and a white picket fence. (I’m not even joking. This was my plan.) Instead, I found myself a single mom with divorce under my belt, no college degree and a crappy rental. And I have carried this with me, everywhere. It has permeated every part of my life, and when I meet someone who’s life turned out as I dreamed mine would, it’s salt in the wound. It adds to my shame, my disappointment, my bitterness.
Turns out, I need to stop living this way.
Lara Casey uses her garden to teach us how to live a life of freedom in the Lord. Each chapter addresses a lie that so many of us pick up and live under. For instance, “I have to do it all,” “I have to be perfect,” or…my personal favorite…”My life has to look like everyone else’s.” Ms. Casey then counteracts these lies with Truth, then spends the chapter helping you to understand why those Truths are not only biblically sound, but how she has learned and lived those Truths in her own life. More specifically, she uses her garden to illustrate these points, and my soul. ate. it. up.
One thing that she said in Chapter 2 took a sledgehammer to my perception of myself, and has rang in my ears ever since. She said that there is magic in the dirt. Magic in the dirt, you guys. Think about this in garden terms, and it makes sense. But then apply to it your life…especially a life that is messy, like mine…and suddenly I want to stand a little straighter. My life hasn’t turned out like I thought, no. But there is magic and beauty and wonder and miracles in the dirt, in the waiting, in the mess, in the unseen. I am here because this is where God wants me to be; not because I made a series of wrong turns.
Bottom Line: Give yourself permission to grow; tend your soil, pull your weeds, watch for the magic. Cultivate.
To say that it far exceeded my expectations still doesn't do it justice.
The author's writing style made it relatable, enjoyable, thought provoking and meaningful. It was like sitting with a close friend and sharing all the things that weigh heavily on our hearts that we often don't give a voice to.
It took me longer to read than normal, but only because the pages are filled with highlights and notes. The interactive style she uses helps you focus on the points made and causes you to reflect.
I have share this little gem with everyone who will listen. I was actually a bit sad when I finished it.
Definitely recommended. Keep highlighters and a pen handy. Maybe even a notebook. Allow yourself to really dig in and find out who you are. Cultivate your happiness and success, one little mess at a time ❤
Then enters Cultivate! I just so happened to choose Cultivate as my word of the year this year. I had a goal of cultivating my marriage, my kids, my friendships, my faith, etc...The biggest takeaway I got from this book is that my life doesn't have to be put together or perfect for me to grow. I don't have to let it pass me by. I can grow in the thick of the mess and I will bloom right where I am. "Peonies grow through the dirt, and so do we."
This book helped me tend to my soil, my seeds, and to the life that God has chosen for me right here, right now. I'd recommend this book to anyone who feels like they are chasing perfect or constantly running through the hamster wheel. There's progress in the imperfect. There's hope in the mess. We just have to learn how to cultivate it and that's where this book helped me. I only let the GREAT books take up residence on my nightstand forever, and this one has definitely earned its spot. This book will fill you with all the truths of living an authentic life of grace, gratitude, and hope.
Disclaimer: This book was provided to me by the publisher. My review is my own and I was in no way under obligation to offer a positive review.