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Goal-Setting as a Business Owner with Kara from the Barn of Chapel Hill

One of our favorite things about our PowerSheets Goal Planners is how versatile they are! Whether you're a stay-at-home momma, a student, or an entrepreneur, the PowerSheets are for anyone who needs a grace-filled system that works.

That's why we're thrilled to introduce you to someone who has become a dear friend of the Cultivate team this year! Kara Brewer, Owner of the Barn at Chapel Hill, has welcomed us into her space with open arms and warm hospitality. When filling out our team's 2018 PowerSheets, we realized two of our favorite memories took place at the Barn: Lara's Cultivate Book Launch Party and the PowerSheets Photo Shoot! One of the reasons those two events shot to the top of our list was because of the beautiful and welcoming space Kara and her team have created.

I'm thrilled to have her share a bit more about how she got to where she is now, what her day-to-day looks like, and some of her goals for 2018! -Jess

Did you always want to own an event venue/farm?

Starting a small family farm has been a dream of mine for quite some time–my husband and I wanted to start a business that our kids (ages 8 and 10) could really be involved in. We wanted to get them away from computers, TVs, games, and have them spend most of their time outside, getting dirty, working hard, and learning about agriculture and basic business principals such as how to package, market and sell our products (we specialize in flowers, chestnuts, and honey). They do a little bit of everything: planting seeds and bulbs, weeding and harvesting, creating market bouquets, mowing the grass, roasting chestnuts and checking on our bees. It’s always all hands on deck, all the time!

What types of events do you host at the barn?

We host on-farm weddings, floral workshops, and children's educational programs, and I absolutely love interacting with all of our visitors. Nothing makes me happier than helping a child dig in the dirt to learn about the importance of healthy soil, or watching the joy of a bride on her wedding day, carrying a beautiful bouquet of flowers that we grew specifically for her.

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Tell us about your team:

My team is incredible, and I don't know what I would do without them! Jenn is our Creative Director and Florist, and her floral designs are simply stunning. She's been a floral designer for over 10 years, and she's just so incredibly talented. Gretchen is our Director of Agritourism and Educational Activities. She's a former elementary school teacher, and she's creating outstanding farm programs for kids from preschool through fourth grade–fun, innovative farm-based activities that you won't find anywhere else. Kelli is our Director of Operations (and my sister!), and she truly does it all. From spearheading our preschool story times with Gretchen, to taking care of our pumpkin patch, to helping me package our honey with her beautiful hand-lettered labels, Kelli keeps everything running smoothly. These three women inspire me daily with their talent and creativity, and I'm blessed to have the opportunity to work with them each day.

But I honestly couldn't do any of this without my husband, Chris. He operates all the heavy machinery, digs the trenches, hammers in the T-posts, spreads the compost, builds the deer fencing (and much, much more). Without a doubt, he's the glue the holds our little farm (and family!) together!

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Photo of Jenn, Gretchen, Kelli, and Kara by Danell Beede Photography

What was the most challenging lesson you learned as you started? How do you deal with setbacks?

When I first started out, I quickly learned that everything takes time and that it's ok to start small and grow things little by little. You don't have to farm 50 acres of crops to be successful–bigger is not always better. Don't let yourself become overwhelmed. Just get out there and do your best. I started our apiary with two hives in the spring of 2016, and I planted my first few flower beds soon after. It wasn't much, but it got me started. There's always going to be setbacks, but you just have to keep moving forward. Believe in yourself!

What has been your proudest moment as a business owner?

My proudest moment was when I started selling that first crop of flowers in 2016. The well hadn't been drilled yet, so for months, Chris and I would fill up a water tank and bring it over to the farm on the back of his truck, and we would water everything by hand. I was determined that those flowers would thrive, and I was so proud when they actually did!

How do you start organized? 

I know this is completely old-school, but in order to stay organized, I write things down in planners and notebooks. I'm always making notes and drawing diagrams, which helps keep me focused and on-track (which is why I love PowerSheets!).

I'm a very visual person, so back in 2015, I had an artist sketch out my vision for the barn, and about a year later I had someone else do a rendering of the farm layout. The illustrations beautifully captured what I was trying to achieve, and I put them on a bulletin board in my house as a daily reminder of my dreams and goals. Fast forward to this year, 2017. As I was going through actual photos of weddings that had taken place in our barn, I realized that my visions, those sketches, had become a reality!

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Photo by Kasey Poly Photography

What are big goals you have for 2018?

This is the time of the year when I start planning what we are going to grow for next season, and we have big plans for 2018! We just planted a large field of peonies, and we're getting ready to plant our tulips, ranunculus and anemones. I would really like to expand our u-pick offerings to include a larger selection of flowers, as well as blueberries and pumpkins. I'd also like to put up a high tunnel in 2018 so we can extend our growing season. And we are planning on having monthly flower workshops starting in April of next year.

What does a typical day look like for you as a business owner?

Each of my days are completely different, which is why I love what I do! Today we're digging up our dahlia tubers and storing them in crates, and in the spring we'll divide them and replant. In a few days, we'll clean up the barn, set up tables and chairs, and create flower arrangements for a holiday event. Being able to spread joy and happiness through our flowers and our on-farm events is the best part of my day!

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If you could go back and tell yourself starting out anything, what would it be?

I didn't realize that by stepping outside the box of what is seen as traditional farming---I grow flowers instead of vegetables, my farm is small and new, I don't come from a farming background, I open the farm up to visitors and special events, and I'm a woman in what is primarily viewed as a man's profession--that I would I face a barrage of hurtful criticism and backlash. My farm has been vandalized, I've been trolled on social media, and a county official told me that as a mom, I wouldn't have time to farm because I would be too busy taking my kids to and from soccer practice.

If I could, I would go back and warn myself to be better prepared for this, and to just keep moving forward, that it will all work out in the end. And, that yes, I can successfully run a farm, and still be able to take my kids to soccer practice! :)

Are you a business owner looking to set goals for your company? Join our Business Owners Cultivating What Matters Facebook group, and download our PowerSheets Business Owners Guide to use alongside your PowerSheets Goal Planner.

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Three Reasons MTH Conference Changed the Course of my Life

If we haven't had the chance to get acquainted yet, I'm Catherine! I'm a grateful editor here at Cultivate What Matters, and I'm your cheerleader and guide for all things Making Things Happen!

Long before I ever dreamed I could work on this team, I took the leap and registered for Making Things Happen in 2016. I didn't know anyone else who would be there, and I didn't know what to expect, but I knew this: I wanted a more intentional, more joyful, more purposeful life. What I got was that, plus an entirely new perspective on my days, practical strategies for prioritizing, and a whole lot of peace and grace.

You've likely heard us talk about Making Things Happen, but maybe you aren't quite sure what it is or if it's for you? Well, I'm here to answer all your questions and share the three biggest reasons MTH changed the course of my life!

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See that redhead? She spent two days doing a lot of hard work that continues to have a ripple effect on my life and the lives of those whom I love.

1.  The most important investment you can make in living your best life is TIME. 

If you're wondering how you're ever going to make the life you've always imagined possible when all you can do right now is rush from one to-do to the next with your hair on fire, please, please join me at MTH. The single most powerful step I took was to block off the conference dates on my calendar and say to myself, my family, and my employer: these 2-3 days are mine. At MTH we shut out the emails, the text messages, the laundry, the messes, and all the noise (we will even take your phone from you!), and we devote two full, blissfully uninterrupted days to reflecting, dreaming, and strategizing. Sometimes the most important thing you can do when you feel like you don't have a single minute to spare is to hit pause, take a time out, and devote the time to figuring out how you're going to create real change.

2. Beautiful things grow out of getting messy and doing the hard work first.

Around here, we know that good things grow through the dirt, but how often do you really get outside of your comfort zone? We have so many wonderful resources here at Cultivate What Matters, but there is power in getting out from behind your computer and getting your hands dirty. (It is, after all, why we created the PowerSheets!) Lara is going to ask you some challenging questions at MTH. She's going to ask you to be honest with yourself and use your voice to banish your fears. It's kind of like having a personal trainer pushing you to live a more purposeful life (which makes sense, since Lara was once a personal trainer!). I want you to get in the room with us where there's nowhere to hide and believe that you can do hard things. If you're exhausted at the end of your first day at MTH, that's how you know you've put in the work to plant some good seeds.

3. Sharing stories and encouragement changes things. 

But MTH isn't all hard work. The challenging moments outside of your comfort zone are balanced with a whole lot of community. There is power when like-minded women sit in a beautiful room with a cup of coffee and share their hearts, their struggles, and their triumphs. MTH is your opportunity to connect with these women in person, let their stories inspire you, and make life-long friends to share in the journey of cultivating what matters with you. I was so amazed at how most of the women at MTH really wanted the same things as I do at the end of the day: deep relationships, a vibrant faith, a healthy lifestyle, and a rich legacy to name a few. I can't tell you how many practical and inspiring ideas I got from these women. Plus, MTH is not just about the two-day experience. We encourage you to exchange information and hold each other accountable, start PowerSheets groups in your city, and grow together long after you leave Chapel Hill!

It's time! Take the leap, and join us in Chapel Hill, NC this March! We can't wait to help you uncover your goals and start making them happen!

Our Early-Bird Rate (more than 50% off ticket price) ends on December 31st, and seats are filling up quickly! You can register here! I'm an email away and I'm ready to talk your ears off about why MTH is a good investment for you. Email me any questions you have or for more information on payment plans!

We know many of you shared your 2018 Vision Board in our Pinterest Contest and are crossing your fingers tight that you are the winner! Don't let that keep you from taking advantage of the Early-Bird Rate before it expires on December 31st. If the winner chosen is already registered, we'll make sure to issue a full refund!

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Our Favorite iPhone Apps

We're big believers in boundaries when it comes to technology and social media (have you seen our social media-free weekend tips?) But we also know that when used properly, our iPhone apps can make our lives more efficient and streamlined, leaving room for us to spend time doing the most important things and being with the people whom matter most.

With that said, our team is sharing a round-up of twenty of our favorite iPhone apps!

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Lake: Artists™ Coloring BooksLove the idea of adult coloring books for destressing but don't want to carry everything around with you? This color app has been a long-time favorite of Nicole's!

Pillow: If you're anything like us, we could always use a few extra hours of shut-eye! While Pillow can't add hours to the day, it is an advanced sleep tracking alarm clock that can effortlessly measure and track your sleep quality, waking you up at your most optimal time. Tip: There's no need to pay extra for the features. I made that mistake, and it wasn't necessary!

PoshmarkI can't remember the last time I bought a new article of clothing because of this app! I'm on a strict budget right now, and Poshmark has helped make it easy to buy new-to-me clothes (you can search for new with tags, too) and sell some of the clothes in my closet. Feel free to use my referral code UHUUS if you want $5 off your first purchase (I'll get $5, too!)

Notes: This native iPhone app makes it so much easier to jot down ideas and lists without carrying a tiny notebook around. I keep shopping lists, restaurant recommendations, my friends' favorite Starbucks drinks or treat, and so much more here! My ongoing Christmas shopping list is in my Notes app, and you can lock it with a password in case you have any snoopy people with access to your phone :)

Reminders: This is another native iPhone app I use every single day. I ask Siri multiple times throughout the day to remind me to do something. I love how convenient it is, and it takes the pressure off of me to remember smaller to-dos that I might forget.

SpotifySpotify is a favorite amongst our team! There is a monthly fee, but I've found it worth it for the ability to download music to your phone. There are hundreds of premade playlists, and you can build your own. Each month I create a new playlist on my Spotify account to enjoy throughout the month, and it's been a fun thing to share with friends!

BibleOne of Lara's 2017 goals was to read through the Bible is a year, and she's been making so much progress using the Blue Letter Bible Chronological Reading Plan. What we love most about the Bible app is how practical it is! The read-aloud option makes it great for exercising, drives, or doing other things!

Amazon AlexaAmazon's Alexa app makes it easy for Lara to add things to her grocery list as she's prepping dinner for her three children. If she's out of something, instead of finding a list, she can simply say "Alexa, add eggs to the grocery list" and it's all in one place!

ThingsHave multiple to-do lists floating around your desk and computer? It might be time to invest in the Things app. There is a one-time fee, but Lara has been using this for years and loves it. It syncs seamlessly across all her devices, and it helps keep her on track!

FitBitOur office participates in a weekly fitness challenge each Monday using our FitBit trackers. FitBit also has paid exercise plans that are agreat for exercising at home or on the road. I have an annual subscription, and I use it on days when a barre class won't fit into my schedule!

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StarfallStarfall is a fun and educational app that Lara's 6-year-old daughter loves. It requires an annual membership, but it's affordable and has already made up for the amount of time Grace has used it!

Chick-Fil-AWith the ability to earn free treats, order ahead and much more at your favorite fast food restaurant, it's easy to see what Chick-Fil-A One app is a company favorite.

Pic-Tap-Go Pic-Tap-Go is one of our favorite photo editing apps because it's fun, easy to use, and can transform your images in seconds. It saves your favorite combinations to make it even easier in the future!

Venmo: Venmo is the simple to send and request money from friends. Whether you're splitting a dinner bill, the rent check, concert tickets, or the cost of a road trip, Venmo removes the awkward talks over who owes what, and it syncs directly with your bank account.

Starbucks: The Starbucks app stores all your gift cards so they aren't floating around in your purse, and the app makes it easy to run inside, skip the line, and pick up your order. It's a great timesaver on busy mornings or if your hands are full with a few littles.

HotelTonightTaking a last-minute trip somewhere? HotelTonight is a great app to find hotel rooms at a discounted rate. I've used it a few times for spontaneous getaways, and I've always been thoroughly impressed with the customer service experiences as well as the accommodations. You can book up to one week in advance in most cities!

First5The First5 app is an easy way to start your day with Scripture and a mini-devotional. It's available in email format, but if you're anything like me, I don't need another email in my inbox. Turn on notifications and it will alert you each morning!

ShiptFor those busy days where grocery shopping just isn't going to happen, the Shipt app makes it easy to have groceries delivered right to your door. Amber has been using it for the past few months, and she's found that not only is it freeing up her time, but it's saving her money because she isn't taking two children to the grocery store with her!

Asana RebelLove the idea of exercising on a regular basis but unable to get to a gym or yoga studio? This app is perfect for you! There are new workouts each day that help you work towards achieving your personalzied fitness goals!

Endless Alphabet: Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app for preschoolers. Marissa's daughter has a blast learning her ABC's and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. A great option for screentime with children!

What apps would you add to this list? Leave a comment, and let us know if there are any we should try!

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Using PowerSheets in College

When Jess asked me to write about how to use PowerSheets as a student, I jumped on the opportunity because I benefitted from using them during my senior year! I am a proud University of Kentucky alum, and I’ll take any chance to relive the glory days.

One of my favorite thing about PowerSheets is that they aren't limited to a certain season of life, but they grow with you—PowerSheets can be used by anyone, anytime. I started my 2017 PowerSheets as a college student, and looking back at graduation in May, I can see how although my goals have changed quite a bit, my PowerSheets are still working.

One important thing to note is that my PowerSheets weren’t a homework, studying, and project to-do list.

While those things are important for success in college, I used PowerSheets as a means of uncovering what mattered to me—whether that be inside or outside of the classroom. College is a great time to grow in areas of your life that will last beyond student life—this could be community involvement, relationships, finances, healthy habits, etc. I'm delighted to share what I learned using PowerSheets as a student, and I'd love to hear from you!

1. Keep your Tending List visible.

PowerSheets only work if you use them. And to use them, you have to see them! I kept my backpack pretty much packed with the same items—my planner, a binder (that I used for all classes), a calculator, and a snack for the day, so there wasn’t a whole lot of space to bring my PowerSheets.

That's where the perforated Tending List comes in handy! Simply tear out your Tending List and tape it to the inside of your class binder or planner. You can consistently check in on a weekly basis and make adjustments without having to add another book to your school bag.

2. Use semester breaks to complete the PowerSheets Prep Work.

I received my 2017 PowerSheets as a gift over the holidays, and balancing family and friend time over the holiday break made it hard for me to start the Prep Work before my spring semester. Whether you’ll be using a Dated One-Year Workbook or a Six-Month Undated Workbook for 2018, I highly recommend starting as soon as you can leading up to winter break. This gives you enough time to enjoy the break and thoughtfully work through the Prep Work before filling out your January Tending List.

3. Focus on what matters to you.

Being a college student doesn’t mean life outside of class is put on pause. As I completed the Prep Work, I found that a lot of my focus for 2017 included uncovering what I wanted to do post-graduation, cultivating relationships I had built, and spending valuable time outside of class in a way that refreshed my soul. If you were to look at my Tending Lists from the beginning of the year, you will find a lot of goals focused on the student organizations I had leadership positions in and my community in Lexington, and that was a good thing! I chose the most important things, and I prioritized them on my Tending List each month.

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Many of my favorite college memories came from serving on the DanceBlue leadership team and planning #DB17, which showed up often on my PowerSheets. Marc was a great mentor for the year leading up to the 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon and now, post-graduation!

4. Be specific.

This tip can actually apply to anyone, and it’s been a game changer in how I write out my Tending List each month. For example, instead of “start saving”, I added “open a Roth IRA and invest $x”. The more specific my action steps were, the easier it was for me to make progress on them. It also made it easier to me to translate goals into my daily planner! To learn more about using your PowerSheets alongside your planner, join Lara and Emily Ley for a live class on How to Create a Cultivated Calendar!

5. Set aside time on your lightest class day to do your Tending List each month.

Try to keep your monthly check-ins consistent and mark it on your calendar. Maybe it’s during your Tuesday or Thursday break between classes, or maybe it's during homework break on your Monday afternoon library stints. Either way, consistency is key! One important thing to remember is that you don’t have to wait until the day before to do your Tending List for the upcoming month. I used to try to do it on the last day of each month, and when something came up I would feel guilty about not getting it done. Now, I start my PowerSheets the same time each month (the last Friday of the month), and it's been a game changer! This is why we give you a PowerSheets Prep Day sticker in our sticker book!

6. Give yourself margin during exam seasons.

Is it just me, or does it always seem like your professors met together and decided to give exams all on the same day? I found myself have one week with little projects or assignments due, and then another week with all my exams! Even if you aren't a student, I'm sure you can relate. In the “What’s Ahead” section, be sure to note if you have a busy month ahead in your classes and include dates. Writing out dates will help you see if certain weeks are heavier than others, and it will allow you to build in margin and avoid trying to do too much. In this case, feel the freedom to leave some of the lines on your Tending List blank!

7. Find inspiration from others! It was always helpful for me to see what goals other students were setting, so I flipped back through my PowerSheets to pull some examples for you below:

Monthly

  • Create a list of prospective companies I would like to work for (and why)
  • Research and open a Roth IRA + deposit summer savings
  • Create study plan for Finals week
  • Submit application for school organization leadership team

Weekly

  • Attend office hours for (insert your most difficult class here)
  • Encourage girls in bible study
  • Meet with career mentor/professor
  • Prepare well for DanceBlue meeting
  • Work on homework from a coffee shop - Breaking up my homework routine was so refreshing each week!

Daily

  • Pack a snack
  • Encourage a friend
  • Charge laptop
  • Pack backpack
  • Skip the bus and walk

Are you a student? Do you use PowerSheets? I'd love to hear any others tips you might below in the comments!

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How To Create a Cultivated Calendar with Emily Ley

Feeling overwhelmed? Like you don't have time for the good stuff in your life because your days are full of the to-do's on your list? Are you exchanging celebrating the people you love and adventures with the things that don't fill you up? If that's you, you're not alone! And we want to encourage you to do something about it!

Join Lara Casey and Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner, for a free class on Thursday, September 28th at 3pm EST on How To Create a Cultivated Calendar. 

We've often asked why we don't include a day planner in our PowerSheets, and it's simple: they are two entirely different products that work together. In order to know what to put in your planner, you must first know your priorities and goals. Lara and Emily will share how to uncover good goals and what matters most, and then teach you how to use your PowerSheets and Simplified Planner (or any planner!) together to get the most out of your time.

We're even planning a special treat for all you sticker lovers out there :)

If you are not able join us live at 3pm EST, there's no need to fret! A replay will be available for all those that have registered, so be sure to sign upto receive access to the broadcast afterwards!

We can't wait to spend some time with you next week!

Leave us a comment to let us know you're coming! We can't wait to spend the afternoon with you!

PS. Our 2018 #PowerSheetsAreComing on October 25th! Sign up to stay updated over the next few weeks and to be the first to see the new collection next month before it goes live!

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