what leah learned

"Encourage one another daily, as long as it is today," Hebrews 3:13. Adventure in progress…



A Letter to My Present Self


Dear Present Self,

I want fire and passion, and I don’t want you to settle for anything less. In life, in love, and in your dreams. Remember when God told you to dream bigger? Why was that? Because He made your biggest dream come true, (He was the one who gave it to you!), and after that you had to learn how to fly through that shattered ceiling and reach for greater. That was beautiful, I loved that time.

Now you’re at that moment just before you turn 25 and life is changing. You are changing. Can you feel it? You’re about to pursue the dreams God has given you and run wild under His grace. I want you to know that you’re already doing it, the calling. You have said, “Yes!” to God every time He’s called you, and this is no exception. You are a writer, an encourager, an inspirer, and a teacher in progress. You have a lot to learn but don’t sell yourself short. This life you have is amazing.

You are going to pursue your dreams and live your callings with passion and creativity.

That’s it. You can’t afford to take your eyes off the prize (Christ) and worry about the other stuff. A guy, men, the right one. That’s not your business. That’s your Father’s business. Have faith that God can and will do the same thing He did in the stories you read that inspire you. Don’t stop and certainly don’t accept less then what God has placed in your heart to ask for. A man who is worthy of your heart will win it, and He will have to go through God first. Don’t settle for less and don’t lose your focus, let him worry about spotting you. Better yet, let Him. Just live, run, be passionate and do what you’re called to do.

Set fire to this world, for Jesus, and don’t stop running.

He’s worth it.


Your Lovely Self

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Check out: Stephanie May Wilson‘s blog post on finding the right person and “what to do in the meantime.”




Blogs You Should Read


These are blogs I’ve been reading lately. You should read them too: 

Marriage Is All the Things and Not Enough 
Casie Rayes is a newly-married acquaintance of mine who loves the Lord and packs ferocious energy into all she does. She even wears zip-off convertible pants like a badass. Her honesty and talent for speaking our thoughts about daily life out loud will brighten your day.

More Blues For Sally 
Henry Dotson is a good friend (more like a brother) who I became acquainted with when he started dating my dear roommate (it’s okay, they’re fbo so I can say it). He’s a career consultant and overall one of the wisest, and punnyest, people I know.

Monica Leonelle
I hungrily devoured this website ready to follow her example like a dedicated donkey chasing a carrot. She is inspiring, and you will be hearing more from me about her in the future.

10 Tips for Aspiring Authors
Karen Kingsbury’s concise list of practical advice for writers has been the foundation of my approach to authorial dreams and career goals since I first began reading her heart-capturing Christian fiction novels.

Seth Godin
If you are a human and you aren’t reading this blog, just take 30 seconds right now to let Seth’s writing give you a punch in the thinker with your morning tea. Promise you won’t regret it.

Bespoken pen
My other blog, the one dedicated to a writing career. It’s brand new but I think it’s rather smashing so far.

Why I went on the World Race

As we completed the last page on our calendars I stopped, like most of you, to remember what God had brought me through these past few years. Finishing the World Race  in 2013 was one of the most life changing experiences I have ever had. I went back to something I wrote months before leaving everything behind to start this crazy mission trip. My written words were humbling proof of the Holy Spirit working and I’d like to share the power I read in them with you.


11 countries in 11 months. This is what I wrote before I left in July, 2012:

photo by J.K. Photography

Feb. 12, 2012

Why Go?

Every page of God’s word is dripping with reason so clear to me only by the Holy Spirit. If this is what I believe, that Jesus is LORD, then it’s time to live with Him on the throne of my life. When I consider my friends and family members, I know that God’s heart breaks for the lost and so should my own. If I were not here, who would preach Jesus to my own loved ones? Are not others’ loved ones, God’s loved ones, just as valuable? He has chosen me. I know now that He is all I need. The world needs Him.

From the treasures stored up in heaven, to the glory of my God, I have more than enough reasons to go. Every reason but comfort. That even, He promises He will give of Himself. Further, I believe I have been designed for this very purpose. It is my passion to speak the gospel shamelessly, fearlessly. To encourage. To go. To dive into new and unknown places. To love even strangers. To serve others with my unique gifts; be it cooking, making music, creativity, or just laughter from joy. HE is my passion. What makes my heart come alive. In all I am weak, He is strong: He is my heart, my commitment, my comfort, my perseverance, my strength.

I cannot paint Him with words. He is so real. I know this is my purpose. To follow Christ.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him will not die, but have everlasting life.”

I am sent. Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The need to hear it. Romans 10:14 “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”

Love God. Love others. Love God=Love others. Matthew 22:37, 39 “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…Love your neighbor as yourself.”

1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”

Matthew 19:29 “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will receive eternal life.”

Matthew 9:37 “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.”

Matthew 16:24 “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

Matthew 26:39 “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Matthew 25:23 “His master replied, ‘Well done good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with little so I will put you in charge of much. Come and share in your master’s happiness.’”

To be a part of bringing Jesus to all the nations. Revelation 7:10 “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”

To be like Jesus.

Because I have nothing to fear:

Matthew 19:26 “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

I don’t know what new mission I will be called to in 2016. It could be anything, I could be staying. Whether we go or stay it’s important to remember what the Lord has done in our hearts and lives.

Let us not be like the wandering Israelites as we walk into this gift of a new year.

Remember where God has brought you from.

Instead of planning your future, ask him how you can be a part of His plans.

“The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14


Words from my diary

I wrote this on August 1, 2014 while I was battling a sudden case of vertigo like symptoms that basically kept me in bed for a week. One day, I had enough. I fought back. These words are what came out when I did. I’m sharing them with you today because our words have power, and sometimes I think we need to remember the impact our own can have.

I haven’t done any editing and I kept in the letter to my sister.

Take what you will, be encouraged.

August 1

Sitting here in bed wondering why I’m dizzy, tired and weak I’ve spun through all the possibilities from every variant of severity and concluded this: Whether today is my last day or one of many countless to come I should examine my life to find whatever is holding me back and embrace the picture of life in complete freedom. Some call it living like you are dying. I think it works the other way around; those faced with death, in that moment, understand better than any of us what it means to truly be alive. Life without color, without light or darkness or contrast is nothing. It is blank and unknown and stagnant. To see the light we must be aware of the present darkness. We must open our eyes to every color and dimension in existence. It’s time to awaken.

I would tell my sister how much I love her and what I admire in her. That she is right most of the time when I disagree with her. That she has so much to learn but I know her drive and self-control will opens doors to success for her. That she shouldn’t be afraid to let her tender heart show. To cry, to break and to let people in. That she is beautiful-in every single way. She deserves the best love, and to hold tight to Jesus because he’s it.

Alicia, believe in yourself and anything is possible if you also believe in the One for whom nothing is impossible. Your dreams aren’t the sky, they are only the beginning. You were made for the moon and the stars. That’s truth. Love people-because that’s the point of life. Love. But love selflessly and fearlessly because that’s real when the stuff that makes you feel warm and fuzzy wears off. Because it will. Know the voice of truth and don’t let anyone lie to you. It’s okay not to understand, we can’t understand everything.

Faith matters, it’s important, that’s why we need things that are bigger than us to show us that we can’t always rely on ourselves. We are small. Like grains of sand. Make today matter. Do what you love! Use every one of your gifts, from drawing very talented Doctor Who weeping angels to having compassion on the ugliest helpless little creature. Glorify God and He will give you all you need. Don’t worry about tomorrow okay? It’s a waste of time. Relish the moment. Say what you need to say and struggle to say what’s hard-but do it. Don’t let your regrets be the things left undone. Just try it. But don’t compromise your values or your character for anyone or anything. Always be willing to listen to those who challenge your values and deny your beliefs. Compassion before judgement. It’s not your place to judge, but don’t worry, He will bring justice to all.

Alicia, laugh! Share your delightful smile with the world. Stand up for what’s right, admit when you’re wrong and never stop growing. Trust God and never forget that he is bigger than you think. He loves you.

You will never live a second without being dearly loved. You matter and your purpose in this world is bigger than you may ever know.

People are changed and blessed by you-so don’t take that lightly. When the day comes that your purpose is accomplished and you are simply done, you will be home. Until then you are gonna be messy! And that’s totally okay. Dance like crazy-because your freedom sets others free. Sing loud! Except at funerals. Unless it’s mine, then go crazy Love. Be curious and hold onto child-like wonder as you grow up. And never forget.

Run the race you clever girl, and remember.. ❤

Scatter Brain

There’s so much to say this morning, I’m going to conglomerate it all together into a mosaic of a post.

Conviction in love

God has really laid it on my heart to dig deeper into loving the people he put into my life. I realized that as an extrovert, it can be easy for me to substitute lots of shallow relationships for a few deep ones. Growing up in the Navy I didn’t have the luxury of knowing someone my whole childhood; being known for an entire lifetime. Outside of my family everything about my life was constantly changing. I became an expert at meeting strangers, which comes in handy, but I missed out on learning how to really sink my teeth into a place called home.

This week God showed me that under all the work he’s to show me what community looks like there’s a layer of fear that makes me hesitate to love people the most. A fear that people won’t be who I expected them to be. My ideals will shatter and people won’t be so nice and shiny. They will be flawed and sinful humans, just like I am. They will let me down. I could get hurt.

This is life in a broken world. Love isn’t something earned. It’s not a feeling. Love doesn’t depend on our actions or our worthiness. We love because He first loved us, 1 John 4:19. That’s how I want to learn to love; like Christ. People are worth it, love is worth it; God thought so. If I am loved perfectly by Him already, then surely His grace is enough to cover the brokenness in our relationships. Let’s risk our hearts, because the truth is it isn’t a risk at all when we’ve got Jesus.


Yesterday I had to put together a summary of issues that could be related to both public policy advocates and a business audience. ENG325: Intermediate Composition. While I was researching, I came across a new interview the BBC conducted with Edward Snowden. Now for those of you who don’t know who that is, I’m about to give you some help. That’s the point of this paragraph. I learn some fascinating things while I’m researching for papers (aka procrastinating by researching other things for fun), I want to share them with you fellow humans.

There’s a new movie called Snowden coming out at Christmas. If you want to know what’s it’s about and how this guy came to be considered the greatest hero/traitor of our time, I suggest John Oliver’s summary. *disclaimer: I’m not declaring myself with or against the opinions stated in this video nor am I in support of the language preferences. However, I do find this video extremely effective and well done.

The Queen of England can hack smartphones. This includes turning them on and off, using the microphone to listen in and controlling the camera. Research the GCHQ for more info on that. Thought all the spy movies were just pretend?

A paleo pumpkin ice cream recipe. Slice and freeze 4 bananas then blend them along with 1 cup of pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup of agave/maple syrup and 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin spice. Add almond milk if it’s too thick. Then freeze it until it firms and enjoy!


I was reading the book of Isaiah this morning when several verses started to jump out at me. “Let them shout from the mountaintops,” 43:11. Imagine being so passionate about something that you had to go climb at mountain so you could yell it from the top. Do we every do that?

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” 23:25 God literally forgets our sin! Can we take that to heart and really believe he actually forgets it? Let that sink in. Think about your own memory. How does this change the way you’re going to live today?

Holy Spirit & A Bible Story

I had the amazing opportunity to read Manix (6) the creation story at work this morning. How sweet is that? A kid from a family who doesn’t know God at all, learning about who he is for the first time; and God picked me to share with him how He made the earth. As I was reading I felt these doubts that I would be able to make an impact without some form of a children’s Bible or pictures. I thought, should I summarize it? Make the story more colorful? Then God reminded me, pray. If the Holy Spirit can speak to me when I read the Bible, then the Spirit can show Manix what it’s all about too.

He is responsible for explaining what you don’t understand or giving you fresh eyes for an old verse. God can do this for unbelievers too. We need to remember to pray when we share gospel with others. They need to hear from the Holy Spirit, not us.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

Tell Me What You love…

“Tell me what you love, and I will tell you who you are.” -Arsene Housaye

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.”

-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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