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

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

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.)

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

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