I am a big fat sucker for a new book.  I love how pretty the covers are, how the pages smell when they are still crisp, and the overall sensation of curling up with a book and a dog (or two or eight).  I also enjoy reading “self help” books.  I think there is something to be learned from the trials and successes of other people.  And what can it hurt?

I have started reading “Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life” by Lara Casey.  She lives in Chapel Hill so, of course, I trust everything that comes out of her mouth.   Lara Casey is also the creator of PowerSheets and frequently references Erin Condren who makes Life Planners that are to die for.  I am a big fan of Erin and am slowly getting on board the Lara train.


This image was taken from Lara Casey’s blog – I love the colors!!!

I have only read the brief chapter that comes before the actual first chapter.  Therefore, I’m not entirely sure what this book is about besides what I have read on the back cover.  As best I can tell, this book is designed to “release readers from the pressure to achieve and gives them freedom to move from planning to planting a meaningful legacy…Readers will learn to embrace the season they’re in, finding balance as they interact in fresh ways with their current life circumstance.”   The word that struck me the most was BALANCE.  I am not skilled in managing a balanced life.  I often move at a frantic pace until I crash.  Once I recover from the crash, I pick up the pace again.  My poor calendar is proof of this.  

In the chapter-that’s-not-a-formal-chapter, Lara talks often about how our pursuit of perfection keeps us from a happy and satisfied.  She shares examples from her own life to illustrate the image of a woman that is trying to do everything at the expense of her own happiness   Her dialogue is broken up with opportunities for reflection by asking questions of the reader.  She strongly encourages her readers to write in the margins of the book.  In fact, writing haphazardly and sloppily is highly recommended because it strikes fear in the heart of perfection.  I…can’t do that.  Hey!  I’m just getting started on this journey to self betterment – you can’t expect me to defile the precious pages of literature in a single day!  So, in true nerd fashion, I went to the internet for a unique way to capture my own thoughts.  Piktochart is my sweet jam when it comes to creating posters, flyers, and handouts.  I took a few of the questions from the material that I read and organized them in a way that helped me channel my creative side.  (One of the areas of my life that I recognized I needed to “revive” was my creative interests – those seem to always fall to the bottom of the list despite how good they make me feel.)  

I don’t include all of the questions on this “handout” – you should probably buy the book if you want the full deal.  I will continue to share my thoughts and progress as I read, but I don’t want to take away from Lara’s career by giving away all of her secrets for free.  The book is inexpensive – if what I write intrigues you, offer your support to a business woman, mother of three, wife, and person by purchasing her book/hard work/time/energy.  Or, if you are patient enough, you can wait until I finish and ask to borrow it.  Only catch is you actually have to return it.  I will give you four months to read the book before I start nagging relentlessly.  

My goal is to read a chapter each week and to use my “handouts” as a way to continue to channel my creativity while also nurturing the spirit of Lara’s book.  Well wishes and positive thoughts are encouraged!


I have kept an original draft of the “handout” I made – if you would like an original for your own use, let me know and I’ll send over a copy!  I can also share which Piktochart template I used if you want to design your own!  Piktochart offers limited services for FREE!!!  I find the free templates to be plenty of fuel for my imagination!


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