Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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Celebrating 6 years of Cultivating!!!

April 24, 2024

Lancia E. Smith


Six years ago this month Cultivating took its first toddling steps into life.

I remember all the months and months of labour, the decision making, the loneliness, and the unrelenting hope that led up to its opening day. I remember the longing for it exceeded everything I had ever felt for bringing a creative work into being except the longing for the birth of my own children. I remember launch day and the wonder of it, the pure, sheer wonder watching this site go “live’ and the anticipation of how it might resonate with viewers. I remember that it became a kind of home for me in the labour to make it, maintain it, grow it, and some days even to survive it. For like all living things, Cultivating has a life force of its own. And very much like a child with its own life ahead of it, Cultivating grew in ways I didn’t plan, and often could not control. Over and over again its needs outstripped my capacities. The call of it confronted me. The sacrifices defined me. There were seasons where I could barely hold on and long seasons where I only held on because individuals in The Cultivating Project carried me when I couldn’t carry myself. Isn’t that the way it it is for creative acts?

We make our art and then our art makes us. 

Six years ago when I launched it I was following a yearning so strong I could not resist it. I needed Cultivating like I needed breath. I needed it to live. In truth I still do. I don’t need the website itself now, but I need everything it represents. I need the fellowship of makers that form community and the people with whom I share this humbling, holy work of becoming more fully human in each other’s company. I need the focus of reaching by choice over and over again for the good, the true, and the beautiful. I need the indomitable will of choosing life, and the unmoving resolution to answer sorrow with beauty. I need the discipline that it takes to practice cultivating as a way of life. I need the surrender that comes from long service to something greater than myself. I need the refining that comes with loving something with the whole will of my being without a time stamp for completion on it, and no pat definition for what it means to “serve the work.” I need the wonder that still is present every single day with The Cultivating Project and our wider community of readers, our readers who are also cultivators by choice. I need to be grounded by the Love that does not ever let me go, welcomes me in the raw, broken condition in which I arrived, and without condemnation grows me into the whole and healed self I cannot myself envision. I need the grace of Cultivating

What started out as a solitary endeavor seven years ago to make a beautiful website that would give people a resting place of beauty each season, grew to a life-giving band of writers and makers learning to live into deeper relationships. One became many. That, too, is the way of living things. 

My prayer for you is the same that I pray for the fellowship of The Cultivating Project. May we share many years of growth together in the company of Cultivating and live to see the wonders of the Lord made visible in the land of our living! Rooted in Christ, may we flourish ever as oaks of righteousness giving splendour to our God and Maker. 

Cultivating Oaks Press

The featured image of “Lake District Oak Tree in Dawn Light” is courtesy of my friend and fellow Cultivator, Sam Keyes, and is used with his kind permission for Cultivating.


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