Grow with God • When I don’t really have time..

Hello Everybody!

I hope you’re all doing great this week and if you are in school that you are staying ahead! Personally, I have a larger course load than I have had in several years so balancing it with work, church, bf, and family has been interesting so far, but I am doing it! There is a cheesy tumblr post that says, “I run. I’m slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter, but I run!!” Which is how I feel about school, and life, at times TBH. AND though I never plan my intros, (Which is evident by how much I babble in them if you look at previous posts. Haha.) this funnily enough kind of ties in with my topic today.

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 ANYWAY, around a year ago and the beginning time of this blog of mine, I was carrying a similar course load as I am this semester in school, yet while being just as busy I was probably the closest that I have EVER been with God.  (Not that I am not close to Him now, but we can always improve and strive harder to be close to Him.) At the time, I had a reader reach out to me who was from Brisbane, Australia. Obviously, I was stoked that she reached out to me, but what got me more excited was her questions about God and our relationships with Him. She expressed in her email that she was a high school student and a Christian but she was “finding it hard to FOCUS on God because [she] did not have many Christian friends or influences around [her] and that [she] was pretty busy with [her] school schedule.” She then asked my tips for growing a relationship with God when you can’t really find that much time in your schedule. I obviously did not want to bombard her with a bunch of stuff all at once; I mean, How do you climb Mount Everest? One step at a time. So I decided to start off SLOW and give a few tips at a time. This is why for the first time ever, I am going to do a series on this blog page.  Because there will always be more that we can do as we learn more and grow more. I’m super excited about it, are you? *I’m imagining a crowd screaming “YESSSSSSS!” right now, not gonna lie.*

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Let’s dive on in!

Step 1: The first step is simple, though many people don’t actually do it and that is: spending time with Him (in the Word and in prayer.) It is just like a relationship with anyone else in your life; it takes time and effort. Can you imagine your BFF and you being as close still if you never talk or see each other? So when you feel a strain (like you aren’t as close as you want), start with that. Now, let’s talk how this can be a PRACTICAL application to our lives. Realistically, it would start with reading the Bible every day (just 1 chapter a day) & 15 min of prayer. At least. So if that means waking up 15 minutes earlier to spend time with Him, then so be it. In my opinion,  it’s better in the morning to do this; nobody else is awake and He has your full attention. Throw on some worship music and just talk to Him as though he were sitting across from you. Do this every day and then, when you get used to it, increase it to 30 min or an hour or however much you feel.  Odds are, when you get in the groove, the time will fly by and you will crave more time with him. 

Step 2: This one helped me A LOT and I never even thought it would. I don’t know if you drive or not, but when you are in the car, try to cut out secular music (aka anything not Christian.)  I’m not saying forever, I still love me some Go-Country 105. But at least as far as “car time” goes for a while, try to dedicate this time to Him. To be completely honest, this is an area that I need to work on again (This goes to show that it takes constant effort to maintain a strong relationship). Previously, I made that change and continued for 4-6  months and noticed it totally improved my overall mood. I wasn’t getting “road rage” or upset. It also helped calm me down when I felt an attitude coming on or when I was feeling anxious or upset. Spending time in His presence helps you, so you might as well get in as much time as you can. *warning: some worship songs are not suitable for driving because they cause tears and sobbing* Lol! All jokes aside though, I truly want you to take this #CarpoolWorshipSesh challenge. (and keep an eye out for one of my upcoming post-series where I am going to do my top 5 Praise Songs and then my Top 5 Worship songs. Until that comes out, you can check out my friend Kristen’s youtube video where she discusses the topic! I’ll link it below!)

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There are so many other things that could help, but seriously, just start with these and see how it improves your walk with Christ. Let me know how these work for you on my Instagram DM’s or by email! And if you want more tips, keep an eye out for the next post in this series.

Until next time, I’m signing off with a Graceful Soul and a Grateful heart.

xo, Leah Grace

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Want to read the bible, but don’t know where to start? My church has a plan that follows the one chapter a day! here is the link for a free download: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5HegXgDdEYMMlVhNGx1emlROEE/view
Kristen’s Video!! https://youtu.be/7r2mkxpDGX4
image from laura hooper calligraphy on google images.

5 Tips for Freshman to Ace a Class!

Hey Everyone!

Back to school season is among us and boy, has it been an eventful week already. If you are an incoming freshman to college this year then you may a tad bit nervous about diving into this wondrous pool of the unknown. Well, don’t worry. College can be so much fun, but it’s definitely as good as you make it. Go into it with an open mind and an optimistic mindset that this year is going to be amazing. Today, i am going to list a few essential tips (5 to be exact) that i have used in my personal life that have aided in my success in school thus far. Now, these may not be for everyone but in my experience, i have improved a lot since adopting these ideas. Lol. Try them out and let me know how they work for you!

 

  1. Buy a binder/set of dividers for each class. I know everyone has different schedules, but the way that i set up my personal school schedule is to try to take one class per day. (otherwise, at least to have them somewhat back-to-back so i am not stuck on campus all day.) In saying this, i have time to either go to my car to switch out materials and avoid carrying all of my course materials with me all day. This really helps me keep super organized and I don’t have to worry about shoving papers in my backpack and losing/mixing them with other subjects. As mentioned above, if you don’t have the luxury of going to your car/dorm/locker to switch out your binders, then i would stick to either a 3 to 5 subject notebook that you can use one section per subject. The point is: SEPARATE FOR SUCCESS.
  2. Get yourself a pack of sheet protectors. I know, random. But they help a lot!  They are the three-hole punched clear sheets that allow you to insert documents in them. I will take those and put a couple in each subject’s binder and put my syllabus in there. This allows me to not have a crumpled paper when i need to go over upcoming topics for reading/ due date changes. Slide it in and out of the plastic sheet whenever the professor makes an adjustment and you don’t have to stress too much or scribble last minute announcements on your hands or random papers. *GUILTY FACE* It also comes in handy with any handouts that the teacher may give out. This keeps them from tearing, getting dirty, or crumpling. (since most handouts are not reinforced around the hole punches).
  3. Rewrite your lecture notes. This one may seem unnecessary and like hand cramps waiting to happen, but hear me out. A lot of times during lecture the teachers will talk fast, change the power point slides mid-sentence or jump subjects around a little bit. I know, in my experience, i have had professors who will jump to three various concepts in a strange order and i would circle certain notes and draw arrows to the ideas it was in common with. Let’s just say, it got messy fast. Rewriting them not only allows you to have neater/more concise notes, but you will also basically be reviewing it again. There is a saying that goes “a short pencil is better than a long memory.” This means that you are more likely to absorb information when you write it down. Imagine writing it down twice? Think of those odds. Lol
  4. Keep your quizzes and tests. This is particularly beneficial when you have professors who give cumulative exams (meaning everything you’ve learned so far is included.) if the professor didn’t hand them back, just ask. Trust me they don’t wanna hang on to them and will most likely trash them anyway. Once you get them back, find the ones that were pretty difficult for you during the exam, that took you the most time, or that you got wrong and re-do them. Get the correct answer from someone else if necessary. Odds are if you got it wrong on the quiz and the same concept pop up again you’ll miss it on the final exam unless you’ve practiced it and learned from your mistakes.
  5. Remember to have fun, talk to people and make friends. Especially on the first day, make sure you talk to people, exchange numbers, and get to know your peers! Kind of self explanatory but this will make class way more fun. Being able to know people and not be alone in a class where you don’t know anyone is awesome alone, but it also helps in cases where you miss a day and need the notes and you actually have others to ask rather than falling behind. Also, you can get together and study outside of class! I know our library on campus has study rooms you can book for free with chairs and whiteboards and tables so we can go in the air conditioning and the quiet and study together before exams. Trust me, don’t do college alone if you don’t have to!! It’s cool to have others who understand your struggles. Haha   

 

So like i said, at least for me these have helped me immensely in my recent semesters. Small changes like these to improve your organization, studies and mood during class can seriously alter your overall grade by the end of the course. Keep up the good work everyone! I pray you all have an awesome semester.

Until next time, i am signing off with a graceful soul and a grateful heart.

xo, leah grace

you ain’t seen nothing yet

Hey y’all. It has been a while, amiright? 

I could do the whole spiel with “oh I’ve been busy,” “life got in the way,” yadda yadda yadda. Which all are technically true, but quite honestly, i just could not bring myself to write a blog post about being the “amazing christian” that i am when i did not feel like i was serving in the best way possible or in the way that i know in my heart is how i should be. I let distractions come into my life and steer my focus away from where it should be: centered on Christ. Then, in times such as these, when it feels like everything that could go wrong is doing so, i would have that strong foundation that is not easily shaken.

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Now to try to make some sense of this to you, particularly if you have no idea who i am and just somehow found your way into this “confused 20-something year old” girl’s blog, here is a brief summary : I’m Leanne. The reason that i began this blog was as a way to de-stress in my time of distress. Intended to vent and somehow formulate my “mind-scribbles” into processed thoughts, i found myself creating this blog where you find yourself now. Along the way, i have failed and triumphed and met a bunch of cool people along the way. Here i am, one year later, after feeling like nobody cared about what i had to say and that i was a failure as a christian because i felt like i was plateauing. I am coming back to remind myself that the intent was to do this for myself. If people read it, cool. If not, that is cool too. Anyhow, here we go. I am going through a lot of family stuff right now. life is hard right now, but Christ is good. The devil is attacking my family in the worst way possible, but it will be okay because God is on our side and who can stand against us. I read my bible today for the first time in (embarrassingly, i do not even know how long) a while. I use a bible app on my phone and the “verse of the day” was Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” I continued on to read the whole chapter which was so comforting and made me feel a lot better about the current state of my life and my prayer requests. I am praying and expecting the Lord to do great things for my family to make this horrible test into an amazing testimony, and Christ is telling me (in a roughly millennial/paraphrased way), “oh booboo, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

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Anyhow, prayers always welcome, and if you could pray for me too, it would mean the world.

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul and a Grateful Heart.

♥ xo, leah grace

Run without Ankle Weights!

Hi Everyone!!

I know, I KNOW, I KNOWWWW. I am so inconsistent with posts lately, and there isn’t even a valid excuse. I do apologize but I have some great upcoming posts lined up so stick with me please!

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So here is a fun fact about me! In high school, I was in track and field. It was so much fun. I was a “thrower,” so we did shot-put and discus. We were actually Del Rio League Champions for Varsity Girls when i was there. I have the shirt to prove it. LOL. Annnnnyway, because I was a thrower, I didn’t do many things on the actual field because we had our own designated areas. But during practice and for warm ups we ran the track every. SINGLE. DAY.

***SIDE NOTE: Ooh girl, do i hate running. Huffing and puffing my way through a zumba class or a few levels of a stair-master are hard enough, but running is a whole other level of torture.***

But I am digressing. One of the workouts we did was hurdles. But we didn’t just run the hurdles. As throwers we constantly had to do leg workouts and hip stretches. Legs are how you throw far, not so much arms. So we would hop over the hurdles and side step over and a bunch of other stuff.  Well, a very common, well known verse that is found in Hebrews alludes to running in a race. Who already knows what I am talking about? If not, don’t worry. I’ll tell you.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Hebrews 12:1

Now, you may be thinking, “But HOW DOES THIS RELATE? I don’t get it!” Well, in the race that this verse is talking about, it is much more complicated than a simple race or even a lap with hurdles. In life, not only are there hurdles, but there are potholes, trap doors, and ankle weights on you.  “HOW IS THAT ENCOURAGING, LEAH!?!? YOURE FIRED. STOP.”

Let me finish. I LOVE this verse, because it makes me feel human. Just because I have messed up in the past, (easily messed up and fallen into that pothole) doesn’t mean that I have to carry those around as a constant reminder. *Takes off ankle weights* I can lay them aside and just push through, running the race with endurance. Translation: As hard and fast as I can.

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Another cool thing is that it is scientifically proven that you run faster when you are looking ahead because your body is facing the direction you are running in. If you are running and look back to see how close the other people are, or in this case at your past, you WILL SLOW DOWN. Want to know what to look at instead? JESUS. Read the next verse in Hebrews.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2).”

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When  you focus on Christ and the things ahead, you’ll run faster. Don’t forget, the verse does say it is a race. Run with gusto. Run to win the prize.
What ankle weights are you still carrying around? Cast your cares on HIM! Remember, prayer requests are always welcome!

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Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

What to Bring & Tips for a DISNEY DAY!

Hello Everyone!!

Growing up,  one of the best childhood memories that people had was going to Disneyland with their family! It is not a little known fact that it is known as the “Happiest Place on Earth!”   I happen to have the best boyfriend ever and he surprised me with a Disney Annual Passport this year for my birthday present! **Screams internally**  Considering my OBSESSION with all things Disney, I am most likely going (and FULLY intend to) give this theme park a run for their money. But MAN, every year the prices go up & Up & UP! Even with a passport, there are quite a few things that rack up the dolla’ dolla bills. But do not fret, my lovelies, for this is not my first rodeo. Going to Disney doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Here are my essentials to bring to the park & a few tips to help you get the most BANG for your BUCK!

Tips & Tricks & F.Y.I’s

  1. My first essential for any Disney trip seems so simple but many people don’t do it! This is to stock up on stuff you might need before you head to the park. Hand Sanitizer, Wipes, Water Bottles, sandwich bags for phone water-protection. Anything that you can grab at a local dollar store or Walmart to save from Disney’s overpriced shops. If you are traveling with Kids, DON’T BUY THEIR TOYS AT THE PARK OH MY GOODNESS DON’T DO IT. The prices are crazy. Keep an eye out for deals leading up to the trip and save your wallet in the long run.
  2. Keep in mind that weather comes into factor at Disneyland too! Lol. Use your phone’s weather app to see what the forecast is. If it is going to rain, you can actually purchase Rain Ponchos at Dollar Store (Honestly, you look like you are wearing a Hefty Trash Bag but they work.) OR they have some decent ones on Amazon as well. Otherwise, you may get stuck buying an overpriced one at the Park. Same with sunscreen! If it is a hot day, don’t forget to protect your skin! This will save you $$$ in the end.
  3. Don’t buy bottled water. You can actually go into any sit down style restaurant that has a soft-drink machine and grab yourself a cup of ice water.  For sheezy, fo’ free-sy. That way you can stay hydrated and save yourself a pretty penny. Hey, even reward yourself with a churro for being so healthy and hydrated. I like to take my Hydro-Flask bottle. Once I grab the free water- I can pour it into my flask and throw it in my backpack. No spills and I don’t have to drink it all at once. Plus, it will stay nice and chilly.

Also, Two of My Favorite “For Your Information’s” Ever:

  • YOU CAN BRING IN YOUR OWN FOOD. As a total foodie, let me tell you how beneficial this is. I am a snacker. I can munch and munch and munch. This helps you because you can bring in your own meals. That would add up quick, especially for a larger family. Save bucks on a expensive slice of pizza at Pizza Port and bring in some of your own homemade deliciousness. Not to mention, this is a much healthier alternative. You can bring in your own fruit, nuts, sandwiches. My go to is goldfish. I love to pop ’em in my mouth as I wait in line. Save the big bucks on the actual food to fill you up and splurge on your favorite Disney treat (whether it be the Mickey Pretzel, Churros, or my personal favorite, Beignets!! YUM).
  • Speaking of lines, the crazy wait times doesn’t mean that you have to be bummed out. I love to download games on my phone to play with my friends during longer lines. Family Feud, Heads Up, or even iPhone 8-Ball. These are super fun, competitive and even an icebreaker to meet your line buddies.

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If you’re going to grasp anything, grasp this:

  • Download the Disneyland APP. Oh my goodness, this is such a game changer. You can do so much at the tip of your fingers. This app not only will give you closing times for the park or allow you to hook up your photo card. It does MUCH more. It will give you wait times for all of the rides in the park (which helps you get so much more out of your day). You can see what rides have huge lines and which ones you can hit multiple times. It also will show you characters that are out and about & where you can meet them. This way if you want some photo-ops, it won’t be with whoever you see out on Main Street. You can go in with a plan and fill up your Autograph book. The APP shows all of the Entertainment shows that you can see, along with what the show-times are. Never again will you not know where the restrooms are, because it will show you where they are and how to get there. Another cool thing is that you can make a dinner reservation right from your phone. The possibilities are awesome. I’ve used it the last 3 times that I have gone to Disneyland and boy, did it change the game.

Anyhow, I hope that this is helpful in some way to you! I want to know, what are your Disney essentials or hacks? Also, what is your favorite ride or attraction there?

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

 

21 Years Of “Wisdom”

Hi everyone!

So many of you (most actually)  probably don’t know that yesterday was my birthday! My 21st, to be exact.

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Looking back on my life, I have had more than my fair share of struggles. This is a topic that I may or may not ever touch on. But despite the drama that has been experienced in my life, it doesn’t negate the fact that I am blessed beyond belief. Especially considering where I have come from. I hope that everyone can understand that while some things remain out of your control, you ARE the one who is going to decide on a lot of the factors affecting the quality of your life.

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In high school, one of my Honors English teachers assigned an essay in which we had to take a quote from a list that she provided. With this quote, we needed to explain why it was accurate and applicable to life as we know it. They were all meant to be super inspirational, though I found most a bit too cheddar if you know what I mean. **cheesy LOL** The one I ended up going with was a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. It stated, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Personally, I believe that this can correlate to a whole spectrum of things, including our individual unique lives. A few bad events doesn’t make a bad life. So Why am I talking about this in my birthday post? I don’t know, really. But it feels right. It feels like it needs to be talked about. If that makes any sense. LOL.

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In my 21 years, I have learned that even in a rather small amount of time, so much of your life can change. If I look back to a few years ago, I was such a different girl than I am today. I’ve learned how to let go of toxic people and to hold on tightly  to the ones who have truly have your back. I’ve learned how to pick my battles, and accept what I cannot control. I’ve learned that to be an example to people, you need to exhibit what you expect out of others. Walk the walk & talk the talk; otherwise, don’t be upset when others don’t do it either. I’ve learned that it takes time & effort to build relationships. With family, with friends, and, most importantly, with Christ.

Do I think that I am oh-so-full of wisdom? Heck no. Am I proud of what I have accomplished? HEEEEEECK to the Y.E.S!!! I have learned so much in my twenty-one years, and my hope and prayer is that you are learning in your years too.

 

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

Guurl, Where Have You Been?

Hey everyone!

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Guess who’s back and better than ever! I didn’t even realize how long I had been gone until I checked the dates and realized that yes, indeed, I had neglected my blog and all of the friends that I have made through running it for a MONTH?? So quick update on where I have been. I started school on August 19th, (about a week after my last post.) I am a full-time college student, so my schedule has been pretty hectic. I juggle my classes Monday through Thursday, along with my part-time retail job, & of course, church leadership/ services/prayer.  Please don’t take this as complaining because I love and appreciate that I have such a full life. It has just been a bit busy, and sometimes I forget that the whole reason that I created XO, Leah Grace was to DE-stress in my times of distress. School, Work and other time consuming commitments can be stressful. So I am back AND I have a few posts ready to make up for the absence. The next one should be up later today about my 21st birthday yesterday!! WOOHOO. I hope you can forgive my temporary, though seemingly “forever lasting,” M.I.A status and we can reacquaint ourselves together!

Until next time (later today LOL), I am signing off with Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

Hop OFF the Fence

Hello Hello Hello!

Have you ever heard of the Nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty”? Well, to sum up: he sat on a wall, had a big fall, and could not be put back together again. Pretty sad, right? I can’t help but imagine that this all could have been prevented if he wasn’t sitting on the wall. Why was he up there? Was he climbing to the other side? Why did he stop moving forward? These are the questions that come to mind. I don’t know about you, but when I was climbing a fence as a kid, it was pretty nerve-wrecking.  Sure, getting up there isn’t the hard part. Climbing up isn’t too difficult because you can see everything you need to do to achieve it. “OK, I’ll put my foot here, use my left hand to grab that part.” But climbing down the other side? Not so easy. In Humpty’s case, he just decided it was too scary and was going to just stay up there where he felt safe & comfortable and just not climb back down. He was like:

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See, climbing down a fence can be pretty scary. You can’t really see what is ahead because you’re going backwards. You’re unsure and it can make your stomach drop. You know what else is like that at times? Our Christian walk.  Sometimes people will start their Christianity, get comfortable and just stay put rather than continuing their relationship with God. “Sure, I will go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays but if they ask me to serve in a ministry then I am going to tell them no because that is too much work.” ORRRR “I will gladly have this “Not of this World” bumper sticker on my car but the Holy Spirit better not ask me to pray for someone in line at Target today.”  This comfort zone is called being lukewarm. You can’t be a little-bit Christian. You are either ALL IN or All Out.

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A very well known verse is found in Revelation 3:15-16.   It reads, “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you [another translation says VOMIT] out of my mouth.” If you have seen the movie War Room, there is an amazing and powerful scene where an older woman is meeting for coffee in an attempt to give advice to a younger woman about her faith, prayer life, and walk with Christ. They are discussing how the younger woman occasionally attends church. The older woman asks, “If I asked what your prayer life was like, would you say that it was hot or cold?” The younger woman replied by saying, “I don’t know that I would say it’s hot… but I would consider myself a spiritual person. I’m not hot, but I’m not cold either. Just somewhere in the middle.” She takes a drink of the coffee from her mug, makes a face, and asks, “Miss Clara, you like your coffee room temperature?” The older woman says with a smile while sipping her coffee, “No, baby. Mine is HOT.” LOL

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I absolutely adore this scene because it gave the younger woman a vivid example of why something lukewarm is not satisfying. As a Christian you are either hot or cold. For God or against him. The problem with being lukewarm is that you started your walk [or in this analogy climb] but then got scared of furthering yourself and stopped. You sat up at the top of the fence where you felt comfortable. But amazing things happen right outside your comfort zone.  You need to be on fire for God. I seen some awesome quotes from the preacher Francis Chan. One said this:

997309.pngIt is sad to think about it, but isn’t it kind of true? He also can be quoted in a saying that goes, “Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they just want to be saved from the penalty of their sin.” So instead of living the Christian walk that we are supposed to, we don’t drink or do drugs and only cuss a little bit and think that we are fine and dandy. Without a second glance at the fact that we have an attitude problem and we like to gossip. Or dare I say that someone has a lust issue? This generation needs to rise up and be the people who decide that they are going to be on fire for Christ. To stand up for what is right. We need to say, “NOPE. Sorry not sorry but I am NOT going to be lukewarm. I am going to be fire burning hot, thank you very much.”  Even if its scary, even if we don’t know quite what God has in store for us yet. We are going to trust in Him like never before. So instead of sitting on the top of the fence/wall like Humpty freakin’ Dumpty they are going to climb down without needing to see every little detail about their next step. They are going to hop off the fence and just trust in God that He will be there to support and provide for you.

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What steps do you need to do to hop off the fence? Even if its scary, I encourage you to go for it! I love accountability so feel free to email me through my contact page or follow me on instagram @xoleahgrace to keep in touch! I am always accepting prayer requests.

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

BFF: Best Friends (Forever?)

Hello Everyone!

When growing up, you can have so many types of friendships in your life. Some last longer than others, some mean more to you, and some unfortunately, are to teach you to be highly selective with who you trust. Personally, I have had so many friends in my lifetime that did not stick (especially in high school.) Now don’t misinterpret what I’m saying; it’s not like there was a huge “dramatic breakup between friends.” There were no “mean girls” situations or turning against one another with the ultimate betrayal. It just so happened that after graduation we learned that the only thing that we all had in common was the fact that we were stuck at the same school for 7 hours a day. My two closest friends at the time and I have spoken MAYBE twice via social media and only once in person since I graduated three years ago.  Do I still care for them? Obviously! Would I call them my best friends? Nope. That is what sucks about growing up sometimes, it isn’t just “OH! We are going to be best friends forever.” As an adult, you learn that whoever wants to be in your life puts in time and effort.

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Here is Webster’s definition:

Friend: (N) 1. One attached to another by affection or esteem. 2. One that is not hostile.

Well, dang. If that is all that it takes to be a “friend,” then my hairstylist must be my friend because she sure makes me have better esteem and my dentist makes me feel better with a cleaner smile. NO! That isn’t what a friend is. A friend loves at all times  and is always loyal (Proverbs 17:17).  They should have your back whether you are around or not.  A friend knows when to correct you and give you some tough love (Proverbs 27:6).  Or even when to be your shoulder to cry on.

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Friends make each other wiser (Proverbs 13:20). This verse says “Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” This kind of goes in hand with that mantra that says “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” Or a similar version that says,” Show me your friends and I will show you who you truly are.” This simply put, means that the people that you choose to surround yourself with is a representation of who you are. It reflects on you. Surround yourself with wise people who will impart wisdom to you, not with fools who will tarnish your reputation.  There’s a cheesy quote that says, “Friends are the Family that you choose!” or “God made us besties because He knew our parents couldn’t handle us as sisters!” Well, the bible says that a real friend sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 26:24). I mean, you do choose your friends. Choose some awesome ones that you love and trust who can be your second family!

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And one of my favorite verses about friendship says that “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens the countenance of a friend.” Friends help keep each other accountable, sharpen each other, correct each other and help the other grow. A real faith friend will do that with love, support, and a couple awesome memories along the way.  They will encourage your walk with Christ and try to keep you on track. You click & just get each other.

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I would love to hear about your godly friendships! Feel free to send me a funny story, how you met, or a selfie with your bestie on instagram! Tag me @xoleahgrace .  Also, share this with your best friend! Let them know that to you, they are the best! That they exemplify the TRUEST FRIEND EVER. Thanks so much for reading guys. I hope you have a friend you can count on unconditionally, and if you don’t, make sure to keep an eye out for these qualities in your search.

Until next time, I’m signing off with a Graceful Soul & Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace

Summer Lovin’ (w/ Jesus)

HOLA (For you non- bilinguals aka me, that means hello.)

I am so glad to be back  with you all. I now have internet connection which has been an interesting 2 weeks without. So I am here to tell you about where I have been. Have you heard the song from Grease where Sandy and Danny are singing about meeting eachother? It goes, “Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, happened so fast.” Well that describes very accurately my past few weeks. In my last post, I had mentioned that I was heading up to Yosemite for our church’s youth camp. It was absolutely amazing. We took 74 people up to camp this year, what a blessing. It takes a lot, let me repeat for emphasis, A LOT of work but it paid off in the end. Weeks of leaders putting in hours of prayer, planning, and preparation. The theme was Taste the Difference. 

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There were so many fun things for the youth to do including messy games, horribly gross/awesome blindfolded food tasting, water balloon fights, and last but certainly not least, a COLOR FIGHT. Our church purchased two GIANT bumper balls, inflated them and put them in the ring to push the opponent out. It was hilarious to watch in person, where I refereed for a bit, but the drone footage was even funnier! Check out the recap video here: https://youtu.be/TzAtG830RZg . The teams were Team Coke vs. Pepsi.  (Coke was better, but I may just be biased. LOL.) So in order to fit the theme, a majority of the games included lots of sticky soda. The two teams went head-to-head in bobbing for marshmallows in a pool of Cola, sticky relay race (which had people drinking not only soda, but also pickle juice!!!) and a Red vs. Blue//Coke vs. Pepsi Color Powder Fight. Coke was the winner of that one, which you can probably tell by the majority of red in this picture.

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We were up there for a total of 4 days and 3 nights, but the effect that it has had on us as leaders and campers is still lingering on. I can only speak for myself, and from what others have told me, but things are only going to get better. We had such a great time and an amazing/ Holy-Spirit filled speaker Russell B. Johnson.  Personally, I was prophesied over and it brought me to tears, because it was soooo spot on, with Russell never having even met me. He talked to me about how I was “blessed with the gift of creativity from the Lord and that I just started something having to do with that creativity (THE BLOG BUT HE DOESN’T KNOW THAT), but to this day I am still unsure about it. That I need to trust in God and roll with it because He is going to use it to bless people. That he speaks fresh fire over my life and my ministry. Fresh fire on my spirituality as I continue to connect with more people.” It is absolutely crazy how much it relieved me to hear that. To this day, I deal with motivation and uncertainty regarding my blog. You know, am I called to do this? Who would want to hear anything that I have to say? What if nobody ever reads my stuff? Is it all for nothing? But if I know anything, it is that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have already had people reach out to me multiple times about how they were glad to have found my blog and that it is a blessing to them, and I have only been doing this for a little bit of time. Those seeds of doubt were planted by the enemy to stop me from reaching people who might just need a little encouragement. I know that I myself need it also. So I am here to stay. Not to mention I was so blessed to have my little cousins go up to camp for the first time as well. The first night that I seen them worshiping and crying, I LOST IT. Them, along with the other children/ youth in this group make it all worth it. It all comes into perspective. I am blessed to have them. We are not a youth group, we are a family. We pride ourselves on that. So if your church has a summer camp, and you have never been, I encourage you to just take the plunge and go! It is so much fun and you’ll remember it forever.

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If you want to see, check out the recap video here: https://youtu.be/TzAtG830RZg

Until next time, I am signing off with a Graceful Soul & a Grateful Heart.

xo, Leah Grace