The Liebster Blogger Award

liebster-award (2).pngHello Graceful Friends!

Today I feel so blessed and fortunate. Firstly, if you are new to my blog, welcome. I am glad that you found me and I hope you stick around. (For more insight/intro to who I am, check out my first post Hello Graceful Darlings.) Secondly, I want to say that it is crazy how God will work in your life. Nothing with Him is a coincidence. Saying that, let me tell you that when I started this blog at the beginning of this month, I had absolutely no idea what it would become. Within the first few days of starting I was fortunate enough to meet Kristen (from http://www.KristenShane.com , if you don’t already GO FOLLOW HER you won’t regret it.) She is such a positive person and is so welcoming. Meeting her was one of the best things to happen to my blog and she introduced me to a whole bunch of other people out there! That was no coincidence, I assure you. Interaction and communication is key to the blogging community and that is why  friendly  welcoming people like Kristen are so important. Another important key? Blogger Awards!

I was nominated for the Liebster Blogger Award by Kristen! She mentioned in her post the importance of supporting one other amongst this community. So I am here to 1. Share some more stuff about me! and 2. Recognize some other bloggers that I have met and think are worthy of some praise. Not to mention that some of these girls are the sweetest people you will ever meet! Friendship and community are so vital when it comes to blogging!

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Rules of the Liebster Award

  1.  Accept/decline the nomination: nomination doesn’t mean you have to create your own post, but accepting keeps the award spreading!
  2. Write 11 facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions at the end of your nominator’s post
  4. Leave 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  5. Nominate 11 other bloggers for the award!

My 11 Facts:

  1. I am twenty years old (21 this September woop woop!)
  2. Young, but I strangely love target as though I were a suburban mother of 4.
  3. Mugs are my thing, when I get married I want to dedicate a whole cabinet/shelf to placing all of my cutesy/travel/character mugs.
  4. I am OBSESSED with Bath and Body Works everything. Hand soap, lotions, wall plugs, and hand sanitizers. I have a box full of candles in my closet right now. I have a problem.
  5. I have a pet peeve when people throw garbage on the floor. Please don’t do that. Love this planet while we are here.
  6. I have been dating my boyfriend Jesse for 4 years more-or-less and we are counseling with our pastors to get married soon/ish. EEK! *Happy Screams*
  7. I love writing, public speaking, and mentoring yet my major in college is Biology and Mathematical Studies…I know, right?
  8. I love Jesus. This should be number one, but these are not in order. He is my life and even though I may mess up, my ultimate goal is to mirror Him in my life.
  9. I have been going to my home church in Los Angeles for 10 years this December. It’s going to be mine and Jesus’ anniversary for our relationship on December 16.
  10. I am a PK (Pastor’s Kid.) It has its ups and downs. I know that some people are not fortunate enough to have a spiritual upbringing/parental support so I am blessed in that aspect. But in others, people are always watching me (and trust me, people always have their two ‘sense to throw in.)
  11. I’ve never traveled anywhere other than Los Angeles and Las Vegas (lived in both.) So this year I vowed to travel more. I have a trip to New York booked already for later this year and then 2018 I am going to MEXICO! Woohoo!

Kristen’s 11 Questions:

  1. When/why did you start blogging? I started blogging at the beginning of May. First, because I had wanted to for a long dc8e26673475014bca37f3ce4dfc6a20time & finally just jumped in and did it! PS. SO GLAD THAT I DID. Secondly, because I love people and I love Jesus. So I am combining the two to meet people who are like me and love him or need him (or if you are like me, both lol).
  2. Why have you continued blogging? (How have your reasons changed?) I have continued because I am fortunate enough to have people willing to read. I am so blessed with the support that I have received & the people I have met.
  3. Who’s your best friend? How long have you known them? What quality do you like the most about them? I have THREE! First, my little sister who is my bestie who is stuck with me 🙂 She’s my step-sister so I actually met her in 2005. I love her loyalty. We fight, as most siblings do, but in the end she has my back. Second, Andrea. She is my twin in a sense that we are literally the same person in different bodies. Her and I relate so much and I’m blessed to have her in my life. We met in HS but didn’t hang out ever until our freshman year of college when we ran into each other at the gym. Finally, Shayla. My Blondie with whom I have been through a lot. ALOT. But I love her, I always will. She just gets me. We’ve been friends 10 years and I project many more. LOL.
  4. What is one destination that’s on your bucket list? I am going to cheat and say three: Rome, Italy. Turks & Caicos. Barcelona, Spain.
  5. Are you a dog person or cat person? Dogs have a special place in my heart, but I would not mind a cat who needs a loving home.
  6.  What is your favorite store/clothing brand? Old Navy (plug plug plug lol).
  7. What’s one thing you’re going to accomplish this year? (In 2017 or the next 365 days) A goal I have is to grow this blog and reach more people. Along with traveling more.
  8. Would you ever go skydiving or swimming with sharks? Yes! I’d LOVE to, but I would swim with sharks sooner! Maybe on a Hawaii trip? IDK!
  9. What’s your ultimate vacation? Ok, Let me paint a picture for you. Scenario One, I am with all of my girl-friends traveling and taking cute aesthetic pictures together and living life to the fullest while we are young! We parasail, eat lots of fruit, and swim with dolphins. Scenario 2: I’m married on my honeymoon. I travel to a romantic city like Barcelona or Roma and listen to music, drink wine, and eat delicious foods and pastries with my soul mate.
  10. Favorite dessert? Can’t go wrong with Ice Cream 🙂
  11. Who’s someone you look up to? (Could be a blogger, celebrity, family member, friend, etc.) In the least corny way, Jesus. Truly, deeply, completely. I want to to be shaped by Him. Reflect Him. Represent Him. and Share His love with the world and people who desperately need love.

My 11 Questions!!!

  1. When/Why did you start blogging?
  2. What is your favorite bible verse/inspirational quote? Why?
  3. If you could go to see anyone in concert (dead or alive), who would it be? Why them?
  4. How do you feel about tattoos? Do you have any? What’s the story behind them?
  5. It’s midnight, your fridge is stocked with your favorites, what is the snack that you grab to munch on?
  6. Favorite Drink (Coffee, Tea, Soda, Infused Water, Anything)?
  7. Who was the first person you told about your blog? Describe how that conversation went.
  8. What is your advice to future bloggers who are on the fence about starting?
  9. Best piece of advice you’ve ever heard?
  10. If you could be ANY Disney character? Who would you be and Why?
  11. Someone blesses you with a million dollars. How do you spend it?

I nominate these 11 ladies (in no particular order, chosen randomly from some of my favorites):

  1. Olivia from http://www.missoliviasays.com
  2.  Lily from http://www.brokencagesblog.wordpress.com
  3. Sydney from http://www.smarie.org
  4. Delaney from http://www.laughswithoutfear.com
  5. Ally from http://www.teaspoonofsprinkles.wordpress.com
  6. Erin from http://www.livelifeinspired.wordpress.com
  7.   Alyssa from http://www.livinginfullbloom.com
  8. Laura from http://www.happilymidwest.com
  9. Anna Leigh from http://www.adelightedmind.weebly.com
  10. Rachel from http://www.rachelsrambles.com
  11.   Adrienne from http://www.a-dash-of-class.blogspot.com

 

**Some of these wonderful woman I found through Instagram so I encourage you to find them on there as well! This is a very motivating and friendly group of people! **

I will be notifying all my nominees, and I hope they will decide to participate and help build the blogging community in a positive way!

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

xo, Leah Grace

“Patience is a Virtue, Kid”

Hello Hello Hello!
So I felt the need to write this post because last night/yesterday was one of those days. Who knows what I am talking about without much further detail? You know, one of THOSE days. A day where you can’t seem to catch a break. Where Murphy’s Law really comes into play. If you are not familiar with this theorum then let me spell it out for you simply: anything that can go wrong, does. Well yesterday it seemed like that for me. Now this is my little disclaimer before I get further into this post: I know it is going to seem like a lot of complaining or like “first-world problems.” I am 100% clear that others have it worse out there, but I am just telling you this so you can see my end result from last night. So bear with me, please.

2n5YPQFSo first things first, I caught a cold during one of the worst times to catch a cold. Who the heck gets  a cold in summer? I prayed that I wouldn’t get sick and spoke over myself that I was not going to get sick. Who knows words have power? Death and Life are in the power of the tongue so I was trying to speak so much life, but it happened. That’s ok though, I’m over it. So anyway, I have the pleasure of working as a youth leader at my church, but I also am on a rotation schedule in the nursery and I get to work with some of the cutest babies ever. But how many people would agree that if you are sick, you probably shouldn’t be around babies? So no cute babies for me this week. *sad face.* but I didn’t let that damper my mood, I sat in service and heard an amazing message from our guest speak Dr. Nolte. It was amazing.

Next,  I was tired, sick, and cold while I waited for my sisters to go home. Service ends at 8:30 pm and it is about to turn 10 o’ clock when my little sister tells me that I could go home because they were going out to eat with their friends. I felt so frustrated. Why didn’t they tell me that sooner? Don’t they know I want to go home and rest? How could they leave me sitting here in the cold while I have really bad cramps? I was upset and it was late so I went to get food and when I got home I see that they gave me the wrong order. I was livid. After everything that happened, this on top of all that. This is how I felt in that moment:

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But I got in my car, turn on the radio (which I always have on a Christian radio station) as soon as I did, the song “Even If” by MercyMe came on. It says “Some times you win some, some times you lose some. and right now, right now I’m losing bad.” It just made me remember that even when I’m “losing” (for example when I am sick and tired and annoyed with my sisters), there also are times that I “win” (when we have great times and laugh, and I hear awesome preaching’s even though I can’t play with babies.) I felt so much better after that. I went, got my order corrected, wasn’t mad at the cashier because why ruin their day too? I was polite and they gave me a free ice cream and I went home and felt a million times better. I felt better because I stopped focusing on the bad and focused on God in my life.  Being patient is what He has called me to be, not a grump.

It may seem lame but really it is not. We choose our attitude. We choose whether we stay upset at our siblings or whether we sing worship songs and look on the bright side.  I remember from one of the Bruce Almighty movies, I’m not sure if it is Bruce or Evan Almighty, but in one of them Morgan Freeman said something that is so true that I think about it ALL THE TIME. When you pray for patience, does God give you patience or does he give you opportunities to be patient? Usually it is the latter.  I pray for patience all the time so I can expect some tests to come my way.  I need to keep my cool and be patient with people (even when my little sisters tell me things at the last possible second.) I also want you to remember, you control your attitude. Life is only 10% what happens to you, the other 90% is how you react to that.” 

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

xo, Leah Grace

I’ve Never Shouted Never Before

YOU GUYS!

First of all, hello. Welcome back. I missed you. Second of all, OH MY GOODNESS. So last night I went to my first ever concert. Like ever. (Besides Christian Concerts, in that case I have been to 2 Hillsong concerts which were amazing but a totally different vibe as I am sure that you can imagine.) So, let us take a trip down memory lane to a 7th grade version of myself. 11/12 year old me was an oddball, for sure. I dressed kind of weird, listened to weird music, and thought I was scene. yes, cringe x 1000. Now I do not mean anything bad about “scene” style, it is just not my forte. I am glad to say I grew out of it. But when I wasn’t listening to strange music and watching “Charlie the Unicorn” on YouTube on repeat, I would listen to NevershoutNever! IMG_20170522_204736_028

His music has changed over the years and so I had stopped listening to him back in 2010ish. But, a few months ago he announced a throwback tour. A tour where he was going to play his old music from his first three EPs. AKA, all of the songs I obsessed over and listened to on repeat a million times.  The excitement was real. So me and a couple friends bought our tickets and ventured over yonder down to Santa Ana to watch him.  Let me just say that I was not disappointed. Every single song that he played I loved. My friend Shayla and I were tripping out, because after not listening to him for the longest time, we still were able to sing along with EVERY WORD. I was so excited; the internal twelve year old kid inside me was screaming and, now that I think about it, so was my external twenty something year old adult. LOL. The venue was strange. Never having been to a concert besides a  Christian concerts/Faith-Styled Conferences was definitely different. It smelled like cigarettes inside and there were a few tipsy people dancing around like crazy people, but other than that I was with my friends and I was happy. Not to mention I was THIS close to Christofer Drew.

IMG_20170522_232643_941It was a standing-room/ general admission venue so the places that we got were so awesome. We were really close to the stage and he hopped on the ledge and walked by us and was grabbing our hands. He also gave my friend Shayla a flower. Well, he threw it into the crowd and it hit her in the face, but it was still REALLY COOL! Every person in the room was screaming out the words along with him and he was singing all of his classics. If you know who he is then here are a few so you can girlish squeal along with me: Trouble, Happy, Big City Dreams, Can’t Stand It, and Look on the Brightside. And that is just to name a few. He played sooo many. He even bid us farewell, walked off stage at the end, then came back for an encore. He was very chill, funny, and witty. They didn’t have a specific set list. He said, “We don’t have specific songs to play, we are VERY prepared *joyous sarcasm in his voice*. So what do YOU guys want to hear?” Luckily, I am really loud so he heard me and played my request (Coffee & Cigarettes). Ironically, I hate coffee and cigarettes, but boy that is a great tune.  It was very crowd interactive and fun.  I know most concerts won’t be like this, nor do I even think I am a “concert” type of girl, really.  But I do know that I had fun, and that if I were to choose my first concert, then I am glad that this was mine. I did this for my 2007 self. I know if I could go back and tell her, she would be happy with my  decision to go.  So that was my day yesterday! Have you ever been to a concert? Who did you see? If you have an instagram post a throwback of concerts you have been to and tag me @xoleahgrace ! I would love to see them.

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

xo, Leah Grace

Dreams (or should I say Hope?) into Plans

Hey Guys!

I promised myself I would only post a couple times a week in order to not completely bombard your feed; however, surprisingly enough that has turned into something that is difficult to do. Not in the way you would expect of course. Everything I encounter I have a quick thought in my head like, “I COULD TOTALLY BLOG THIS.” It’s strange but I like it. Anyway, hi! Today I am going to talk about my Hope Chest. If you are a planner like me, then you might already know what this is, if not lemme’ explain. A Hope Chest is basically a chest that young women can use to buy stuff in preparation for marriage, moving out on your own, or even college. The first option is most traditional, but I’ve even seen it as a graduation gift for someone starting off in a college apartment.  When you’re young and want a gorgeously decorated modern home, but you don’t have the funds to do that; What is a twenty-something year old planner to do? If you are a planner like me, trust me when I say, this is every planner’s dream!

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STEP 1: Find A Chest (Better Quality solid wood will last longest!)

 I know it sounds like I am oversimplifying but really it all depends on your taste. I am super blessed because my Nana has a chest that my Tata gave her before their marriage (OVER 40 YEARS AGO)! Talk about sentimental value. The cool part about it is that you can use it as a coffee table, at the foot of your bed, storage, filing. So many options. My personal one is going to be upholstered with foam underneath for the foot of my bed and storage;  I want it comfortable enough to sit on. I’m also getting it a tufted style. Very chic. LOL.

 STEP 2: Fill it!

This can be with anything that you want! Find your own taste and roll with it! I want mine to be preppy and girly, but also keeping in mind that I am going to have a husband so as much as I want, I can’t have pure Lilly Pullitzer and Kate Spade (a girl can dream). Haha. Now, lets talk bargains! The main purpose is so that you can have the home of your dreams without breaking the bank/hurting your wallet badddd. Wouldn’t you rather spend a few bucks here and there than to move out and have nothing? Starting from scratch trying to decorate an apartment could cost thousands. So start little by little.  Also, if this is prepping for the married life, don’t waste money on things that you can easily just register for or on appliances. A blender may be the cute color you want or it may be on sale, but they easily become outdated just sitting in your chest.  So instead buy decorations, wall art, linens, storage, serving dishes. Gadgets and Gizmos that you would otherwise not register for. But be careful, once you get in the decorating zone, you’ll be tempted to buy more and more to complete each room. tumblr_ndiax4B95W1qm2s94o2_r1_500.gif

**Don’t Count out Discount Stores!** I have found the cutest things at Marshalls, Ross and TJ MAXX. Of course I will also go to my home planet Target, but these discount stores surprisingly have some diamonds hidden in the rough. My game plan is to spend $20-$35 dollars every few paychecks until I have the basics to cover everything. So find a chest and the world is your oyster. I never knew I would like interior decorating as much as I do. There is just so much joy that I take in planning so this is a project that I am so excited for. I will keep you updated every couple months to give an update on what I’m scoring on! Make a plan/vision, keep an eye out for deals, buy little by little and enjoy planning your future home! The wonderful and wise Pumba from the Lion King said, “Home is where your rump rests.” So make that home stylish and totally you! If you end up doing something similar to this let me know! I would love to see your hope chest progress! Tag me on Instagram: @xoLeahGrace ! I want to see the whole journey.

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

xo, Leah Grace

 

The Story of the Name

Shakespeare once said, “”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

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This quote is brilliant and timeless, though I am not the biggest fan of Romeo and Juliet as an actual storyline (but that is a whole different rant.) It rings true, right on the money. What is in a name? Well, ask a new or expecting mother and they would say A LOT. It has always been interesting to me how many people will go into so much research behind the meaning of names before they have their baby. “The Hebrew origin of this name is” …. “This name is derived from the Latin word”… trust me, I am not pointing fingers. I have mentally named all of my children that I ever plan on having, boy or girl, even backup kids and I am not even married yet.  There isn’t anything wrong with it, especially when you are a planner like me. So if you haven’t figured it out, this is the post where I tell you guys about the meaning behind my blog name!

If you have been following my blog or read my first post on this page then you know that my name is Leanne. Now, Leanne is actually a nickname from Leanna, but I spent my life introducing myself and getting in response, “What was it? Brianna? Seanna? Deanna? OHH LEANNA.” So I started going by Leanne. I figured that would be simple enough. Lee-Anne. Like from the Sandra Bullock Movie. Leanne Tuohy was a force to be reckoned with.

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But little by little I have come to the realization that it would not suffice. One of my best friends is an amazing Christian Speaker and she invited me to an event that she was guest speaking at.  I went, mingled, drank some tea and introduced myself to various people. FIVE SEPARATE PEOPLE, AT DIFFERENT TIMES AND DIFFERENT PLACES, all thought I said my name is Leah. I ended up being entered into the raffle by that and being referred to as Leah for the day.  Oh well. LOL. Now, during my internal struggle over the past year of whether I wanted to start this blog or not, I was in prayer about it a lot and came up with the name Graceful Soul, Grateful Heart. It was my War Cry, Goal, and Mission Statement. But in considering a domain name, I figured it would be too long and I didn’t want people to mess it up and have trouble finding me, (JEEZ I BET THEY WOULD HAVE TROUBLE TRYING TO FIND BRIANNA/SEANNA/DEANNA too.) So here comes the idea, lets embrace the awkwardness of my day as Leah, combine it with the gracefulness that I strive to have through Christ, and come up with an awesome blog name. So here we are on my blog that is imperfect. It makes fun of itself in an odd sort of way, and is totally amazing because of it. I love it and I love its name. So back to the question: What’s in a name? An amazing story, that’s what. Even though it isn’t my original plan, His plan is higher than mine, and I am slowly learning to accept that and roll with it as He stretches my comfort zone.

Welcome to my blog if you are new; Welcome to the Graceful & Grateful Family.

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

xo, Leah Grace

 

Representatives Don’t Take Breaks

So you may know this or you may not, but I work in customer service/ retail. Now, if you have never done that then you most likely didn’t hear the intense piano that just played “DUN DUN DUN” really loud in the background when I said that. But just imagine, bolts of lightening and rolls of thunder as I describe the life of a sales employee. Basically, you have a few roles that you can do. 1. The person who works on the sales-floor. This person recovers and folds until their arms fall off. They dream of folding clothes. It is INTENSE. Now these people will deal with customers occasionally to find a size and whatnot, but for the most part customers will claim that they “are just looking” and never admit when they need help. 2. Fitting Room associate. This person will prep go-backs and run them all back. Yup, those clothes that you try and decide that it looked better on the mannequin? All of those end up in the bin. (Unless you leave the clothes on the floor in the fitting room, inside out and not on hangers. In this case, please don’t do that. It isn’t fun to deal with and those guys have it hard already.) And Finally 3. Cashiers. These are the people who deal with it ALL. Fake credit cards, expired coupons, complaints, wrong signage, etc. etc. etc. But do you know what the best part is? Clocking out and not having to deal with it anymore. Once my shift is over I don’t have to fake a smile even though my feet are killing me, laugh at jokes that I heard 20 million times a day, or use my fake retail voice. I get to clock out and then I am no longer a representative of my brand. I don’t have a tattoo on my forehead that says GAP INC. Nobody will know that I work there, but being a Christian isn’t like that. There is no clocking out, taking a break, or lunch time. We are called to represent Christ at all times and in all that we do.    

This isn’t always an easy thing to do, but if me keeping my cool (and not having an attitude when I think it is totally justifiable) can show someone the light of Jesus in me, then I would say that it was worth it.  2 Corinthians 5:20 says, “Now then, we are ambassadors of Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God (NKJV).” An ambassador is someone dignified who is chosen to go into a foreign land and represent that country. This is not an accidental word that was used “willy-nilly.” There is a purpose for it. The bible calls us ambassadors of Christ, therefore we are called to represent Him here on Earth. That is a full time gig. Even when we don’t feel like it, even when we are alone, even when your kids drop grape juice on your pretty clean carpet, and YES, even when someone cuts you off on the freeway. Today at work, something happened that was a total “AHA MOMENT/EYE OPENER.” I was talking with two of my coworkers. One of them, who is not a Christian and does not go to church at all (though I do invite him often and am believing that one day he will crack LOL), said that he came to me with questions about God because he liked that  I “did not shove my Christianity/ Jesus in people’s face. You could just tell I was by how I acted.” MAN, I wanted to cry on the spot. It was the most amazing and rewarding moment ever. But it also made me realize that people are always watching you, even when you don’t think they are. Which is why I felt compelled to write this post about my day today rather than the blog post that I originally planned. If you are going to take anything from this post today guys, here it is (my nugget, just for YOU) : We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ. There are no breaks, time-outs, or clocking out. Represent Him in all that you do, how you act, and the words that come out of your mouth. People are watching and if they don’t go to church, you might be the only glimpse of Jesus that they get, so be a good one.

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

xo, Leah Grace

Hello Graceful Darlings

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Hello Everyone!

First and Foremost, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Leanne and I am twenty years old from Los Angeles, California. I am not sure whether anyone will ever read this, or if I am just here by myself. **cricket noises fill the room** In either case, that is fine. This is my very first blog post and I am excited either way. Let me tell you, for MONTHS I have wrestled and wrestled with the idea of starting a blog and never jumped off the fence. I even did a podcast with my sister instead and well, that lasted two episodes. EPIC FAIL. But, as my Pastor always says: Today is the first day of the rest of your lives. If that is not true then heck, I don’t know what is. Basically, I decided that there is no better time than the present.  So I had better get crackalackin’ because right now I was just lackin’. LOL.

This blog may turn out to be many things, but ultimately it is going to be a personal way to de-stress. Especially in my times of DISTRESS. Who knows what I am talking about? Well, if anyone is out there then I am sure that most can relate to that. Sometimes life can get super overwhelming and that is okay! It takes the bad days to realize the great.  So, depending on the day, this is going to consist of my life, struggles, college, love, food (oh boy, do I love talking about that,) and once in a while my current health journey.  I recently made the decision to get healthier because when I get married (which at this point is an undetermined timeframe,) I would like to 1. Be super hot for my amazing MAN OF GOD husband, but also 2. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. That is the main goal and always has been.  It is just so easy to fall off the wagon and let those “failures” weigh you down until you just give up. Well, honey, I don’t care how many times you’ve given up.  If I can make a change, so can you. So like I said, I don’t know if anyone is out there, but just know that I am here struggling alongside you to stay on track and I’ll be here to remind you not to let your past define your future.

In my next post, I will give you an update on how this “health kick” is going. I’ll also give you more insight on my blog name and more of the inspiration behind it.

Until then, I’m signing off with a graceful soul and a grateful heart.

xo, Leah Grace.