An Ode to the Best Men in Our Lives

To celebrate Father's Day this past Sunday, I spent almost two hours on the phone with some of my favorite men–my father, brother, brother-in-law, and grandfather–celebrating what they mean to me. My grandfather celebrated his 58th Father's Day while my younger brother was celebrating his very first! Talk about legacy! This past weekend made us extra grateful to the special men in our lives, and we wanted to share some of the things we've learned from them over the years!


Growing up, my dad used to tell me and my sister, "Yangs never give up." It was frequently used whenever we got bored of mowing the lawn, fixing a broken toy, or learning a new skill, so we often just rolled our eyes and finished our task out of obligation. Today, though, that phrase carries the weight of our family's history of working hard even when the odds feel against you, and taking big risks knowing that you can always pick yourself up and start over again. -Nicole


My Dad taught me by example at a young age to be kind and offer help to others no matter their background. As a child, my dad owned an auto shop in a not so great part of town. Homeless people from the shelter down the street would pass by occasionally and ask for help. He would offer them jobs sweeping or little odd jobs here and there. He employed others who were recovering from substance abuse and the cast of characters who gathered around the Thanksgiving table was different every year. He made sure that everyone was welcome and felt like family. I'm grateful to him for the opportunity I had growing up and being exposed to all different backgrounds and seeing the small ways you can care for people who are in hard times. -Amber


Photo by Gina Zeidler

A lesson my dad taught me is to go after my creative pursuits just for the joy of it--even if they led me to not make a huge income. He just wanted me to use what the Lord had given me, and to my dad, music and art were just as valuable contributions to the world as medicine (his field). I know that's a rare encouragement from a parent, and I don't take it for granted. He's pretty special. Thanks, Dad! -Lara


My Dad is famous for having a number of phrases that were on repeat throughout my childhood, and they still regularly ring in my head even though we now live hundreds of miles apart. One that was a particularly hard lesson to learn was, "if you're going to give, give graciously." That meant that it wasn't enough to simply shove a coloring book across the table at my sister if I begrudgingly agreed to relinquish it; no, I was supposed to politely place it in her hands, ideally with a smile. My Dad taught (and still teaches) me so much about going the extra mile AND doing it with your heart in the right place, and for that, I'm grateful. -Emily


My dad is a man of few words, and he always chooses his words wisely. Growing up with three sisters, a chatty wife, and two daughters, he learned quite early on to choose his words wisely, in any situation. The thoughtfulness with which he speaks pushes me to fight my urge to ramble and focus on using my words purposefully. -Jess

I'd love to hear from you below! What have you learned from a father figure in your life! After you leave a comment, download our notecard and write a note of gratitude for him.

We know that while Father's Day is a joyful celebration for some, it is also a time of suffering for others. For those struggling with absent fathers, longing to be a father, those struggling with a family's past. We want you to know that wherever you are, we see you, and we hope this encouraged you to celebrate the men–father or not–in your life who have loved and encouraged you.

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You’re Invited to the Cultivate Book Launch Party

Friends, what a journey it's been over the past two years while Lara has written Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional LifeIn fact, I realized while reflecting on the excitement in the weeks ahead that it's only because of this book that I'm part of the Cultivate team. That in itself makes me grateful that Lara wrote her story down, and I hope so many of you are going to be encouraged by her words!

If there are two things we love to do, it's celebrate and spend time getting to know each of you! We tossed around the idea of a Cultivate Book Launch Party months ago but actually ended up tabling it. However, we kept coming back to what a wonderful opportunity it would be to get together and celebrate the release of Cultivate and all the wonderful things we've accomplished over the past two years.

Yes, this book party is about celebrating Lara's hard work, but we want to make it abundantly clear that the story in Cultivate isn't just Lara's story. It can be your story, too. Our time together is meant to be a celebration of community and progress in cultivating an intentional life, right where you are!

Venue: The Barn at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC

Date and Time: Saturday, June 24th from 12pm to 2pm

We have a fabulous venue lined up that is the perfect backdrop for Lara's book (it's a working flower farm!!), and we can't wait to spend time seeing old and new friends alike!

The event is free, but tickets are limited. Invite a friend to join you, and make haste in grabbing your ticket today! We hope you'll join us to celebrate!

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Now Is Your Time (and a SURPRISE SALE!)

Want to know one of my top life tips?

Ask questions and be open to unexpected answers.

Think about it. How did you learn about the things you love most? You asked questions. You sought answers. When we stop asking questions, we stop growing. I love the questions you all have been asking me lately.

The top three questions I get asked:

1. How do you begin to figure out what your goals/passions are?
2. How do you overcome fear of failing in your goals?
3. How do you stay motivated?

My answers to all three questions? My PowerSheets goal planner. I created them because I kept asking those questions too. PowerSheets are how I uncover goals that motivate me, how I prioritize, and how I take action. And that fear of failing? It doesn't magically go away. Even better: your good goals become more important than your fear.

This might be crazy, but in an attempt to help a whole lot of people finally do the things they have always wanted to do–whether in motherhood, business, marriage, a career, or in cultivating what you have right where you are–I have a surprise for you:

The six-month undated PowerSheets are on SALE for $25.

PowerSheets Quote Image

It's time.
Time to do the things that have been burning on your heart.
Time to dig in, right where you are with what you have
July 1 could be your January 1, my friend.

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The Cultivate Book is Coming!

Do you ever read a quote from a book or see an image on social media and breathe a sigh of relief? As if someone has put to words and voiced your thoughts, hopes, fears, desires, and more? That's exactly what sitting down with Lara's second book Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life was like for me. It's an invitation to be a part of something more meaningful and intentional than chasing the seemingly perfect life. It's an invitation to believe that a flourishing life is possible, right where you are.


Recently I was telling a friend about Lara's newest book and when she asked me to explain what the book was about, I froze. Like, deer in the headlights frozen. The Cultivate Team has been so immersed in the book writing process, that the words Lara has written have almost become ingrained in me (in the best possible way!) I ended up sharing Lara's Cultivate book trailer because it does a fantastic job at sharing Lara's heart for the words in these pages.

Cultivate from Twenty-One Films on Vimeo.

Not sure if Cultivate is right for your season of life? (Spoiler alert: it is!) Sign up below to have the first three chapters delivered right to your inbox!

You might be wondering why we chat a lot about preorders (I actually used to wonder the same thing!), and now I know! Preorders help retailers ensure they have enough copies on stock on launch day!

As a thank you for all our friends who pre-order the book before the release day on June 27th, you'll get these amazing pre-order bonuses listed below:

  • Cultivate Together Leader Guide
  • Quick Start Video from Lara to help guide you in facilitating a group study of Cultivate
  • Gardening 101 E-Book filled with 22 pages of helpful advice and resources for growing a garden
  • Citrus Grove Coloring Page for a restful and fun activity
  • Goal Gardening Worksheet from our best-selling PowerSheets intentional goal planner
  • Phone and computer desktop backgrounds to remind you to cultivate what matters most

Make haste and preorder your copy today, because these preorder bonuses are only good through June 26th! Claim your bonuses here!


On behalf of Lara and the rest of the team, I want to thank you for your genuine encouragement, support, and prayers during this season. If you've been following Lara's book writing journey over the last two years, you know it's been one of imperfect progress. She wrote Cultivate in the thick of one of the hardest seasons of her life and even had to start over half-way through the process. But, like working in her garden, all of this hard work and digging in was worth it. We are grateful she took the time so share her journey and how it has changed her and her family, and we are hopeful it will do the same for you!

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Summer Goals: Why You’re Missing Out By Not Setting Them

Will you sit with me while I tell you a brutal truth? You accomplish 0% of the goals you never start! You can't make progress on something you don't even start.

That dream job you want? You can't be considered if you don't even apply.

That half marathon you want to run? You can't run 13 miles if you don't first run one.

The marriage you want to save? It needs your attention and time.

You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them. Plain and simple.

I know what you're thinking. "That's easier said than done, Jess!" or "Easy for you to say! You work for a company that teaches goal-setting!"

But here's the thing, friends. We (ME!) are not goal-setting experts. There are some months where it's sudden May 15th and our PowerSheets are blank (cough ME cough). Lara has said before that traditional goal-setting gives her the heebie jeebies, and we agree! Goals can be overwhelming when they aren't connected to what matters. They can make life busier. What we do is different; it's grace-filled goal-setting. Powerful goals–meaningful goals–simplify your life and help you take action. They help you live with intention and purpose instead of on accident. Good goals remind you that the little by little you put in each day add up to a flourishing life.


Our Fruitful Summer bundle is available in our shop if you want accountability in your goals!

Doesn't that sound much better? Like something you can get behind? If so (and we sure hope so!), I have a two next steps for you. Remember, you accomplish 0% of the goals you never start!

Download our Summer Goals Printable, and start brainstorming the things you want to accomplish this summer.

Join us for Lara's free live Summer Goals class today at noon EST. Bring that printout or your PowerSheets with you! She's giving you her top ten tips for uncovering good goals, and doing something about them. If you can't watch live, that's okay too! Be sure to sign up, and you'll get access to a replay in your inbox!

That's it! Two steps that will take two hours max.

Oh, and because I'd be a bad friend for not mentioning this, our Fruitful Summer giveaway is live on Lara's blog! We had a blast brainstorming these products to help you have an intentional summer, and I cannot wait to package up these goodies for the lucky winner! Head to her blog to enter to win today!


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