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

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

Sticks & Stones

Hello Everyone!

Man, what a week it has been. I try to update my blog a couple times a week, but with finals, work, and being sick, I was stretched pretty thin. I currently have a double-ear infection which hurts sooOO BAAD. Keep yo’ girl in prayer, please! Today I am going to write about one of the biggest lies that is taught to young children as they grow up. That saying is: “Sticks and Stones may break your bones, but your Words will never hurt me!” What a load of bologna. Words hurt! I can speak that from personal experience on the giving and receiving end. Our words have power. Sometimes a punch in the face would most likely hurt less than a direct strategic insult (especially if it is about something you’re already insecure about.) My pastor always says this, which is way more accurate: Sticks & stones will break your bones, but words hurt more than anything. Amen? Seriously, it is so true.

58e4940ca8960676670931a154c55243b4f49b9acef9bd585e3165e0bf265836_1.gifOne of the reasons that I wanted to write about this topic is because we have a series that is being taught right now at my church about core values. These are topics that we really hope to instill into the youth at the group where I am a leader. We have various mantras that we teach. One of the more popular ones is: Just Kidding just hurts. Meaning that sometimes the “joke isn’t worth the laugh.” The bible talks about the power of words and how we are called to speak in various different places. Why? Because clearly it is important. Example one: Proverbs 16:24 states, “Kind words are like honey– sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”  It is healthy for the body. It brings good to your soul & it is healthy. It makes you feel good. One of my favorites though is found in Ephesians Chapter 4, verse 29. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful to the hearer, building them up according to their needs that it may be beneficial to those who listen.” 0a9f4f57317eb755e6b42b985485acebThis verse is LITERALLY saying “Hey! Every word that comes out of your mouth should be edifying (aka helpful to the people listening.)” If it isn’t building them up, making them feel better, or is beneficial to them in some way, then just zip it, lock it, & put it in your pocket. Remember what thumper said in Bambi? That is an important message. Sometimes the joke isn’t worth the laugh, sometimes those words can hurt, sometimes it will stick with the person that you say it to for a long time. Why not just use your words to make people feel good. Why not have words that are sweet like honey?  

Remember to be kind with your words. Remember to build people up with your words. James 3:5 says, “The tongue is a small thing, yet it makes grand speeches. Likewise a tiny spark can set even a great forest on fire.” A small spark, a simple statement. Both can cause great destruction when used incorrectly. One final verse to tie it all together: Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be full of GRACE, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Y’all know how much I try to remain full of grace and patience with this blog. This verse is saying be graceful (elegant, poised, favored,  & blessed) and to be seasoned (qualified, matured, & w/ food a little spunky LOL). In doing so, you will begin to know how to answer people. 8780c2000e9d35213c5ad04ef8eb5b67Whether they are being kind to you first or they’re being rude. You’re called to be kind, sweet, and uncorrupted. If you don’t have anything like that to say, then just don’t say anything. It’ll be waaaaay better to not talk as much than to say something that you may regret saying. If I have learned anything in my life, it is that you can’t take words back once they’re out of your mouth. So be slow to speak and when you do, make sure it’s sweet and graceful. Keep that in mind, even if you need to repeat the mantras to yourself!

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

xo, Leah Grace

 

(PS. I read an awesome blog post http://wp.me/p8MN8O-4  by HoneytotheSoulBlog which dealt with this topic also. Check it out.)

“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