Cultivate: a book review

I am a gardener. I didn’t really know that until around 2009 just after I was married and had my own home with a small spot of land. My instincts kicked in and I wanted to make the house a home. As I walked the yard I began to picture what I wanted. I started talking to my Mom and Aunt and we dreamed up a space that would be inviting, produce food and community, and be a place for me to grow things. What I discovered was that I knew a lot about plants, flowers, and gardening in general. I knew way more than I realized, and after some time I recognized that this was something passed on to me by my grandmothers, my mother, and my aunt. I grew up in the garden so knowing when to plan annuals and perennials, or even what those two categories were, came instinctively. I found myself naming plants, and I had no idea how I knew what they were – but then I’d remember the ladies who raised me walking through the garden and showing me things, teaching me. Much like my love and knowledge of gardening these ladies taught me so much about life and faith too. I found the book “Cultivate” by Lara Casey to be one I completely identified with. Some of the content was familiar territory that I’ve already traveled, but so many of the ideas applied to where I am now and what I need to pursue next.

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I love that Lara Casey wrote Cultivate: A Grace-Filled Guide to Growing an Intentional Life after learning to grow a garden. I followed her on social media and watching her cultivate actual living things alongside her spirit was inspiring. The book itself is a great resource, a wonderful read, and in my opinion has the potential to spur anyone toward spiritual growth. She states right at the beginning that his is not a “read only book,” but instead to see it as a guide. She gives us a “how to use this guide” right on page fourteen.

1. write it
2. dig in
3. grow at your own pace
4. cultivate together
5. grow with grace

 

These “Cultivate It” sections create a sort of “workbook” effect.

 

This creates an interactive experience, a more workbook like approach, in a book otherwise written as a memoir.

Part 1 is all about “Preparing Your Garden” and while Casey shares her own story she also challenges you to explore your own ”garden” and to be specific, write it down, and asks the reader some seriously tough questions. She goes on in part 2 titled “Dig In” and it’s really perfectly named as it is a very proactive portion of the book. This is where you plant, wait, grow. Then in part 3 called “Savor the Fruit” Casey really goes a step further and discusses how to enjoy your growth, how to maintain it, and to not lose ground. The final section is called the “Cultivate Together Guide” and is designed to aid you in processing the content with a group. She provides a list of ideas to keep your group productive and safe and then each chapter has a “before discussion” section and “Discussion Questions” she created for you to use as a companion to the reading. I cannot wait to do this book using this portion with friends and in community!

Not only is this book a great read, but just as Casey outlined in the first few pages it is an interactive guide to walking you through the process too. I don’t believe you need to be a gardener, or be familiar with the concepts of gardening to get something out of the book. I do think, however that the book might leave you wanting to garden! If nothing else I was left wanting to grow, having some practical ideas on next steps, and believing I can do it. This is a book I’ll be sure to share with the women in my life.

Also by Lara Casey, Make it Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose.

I received a copy of the book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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