Monday, November 10, 2014


The past few weeks I have been working on a hashtag project on Facebook which I am calling #leahsthankful37 where I post something I am thankful for each weekday. This is going to become one of those posts. Often I choose my topic based on something I am struggling or busy with. Writing the post reminds me why I am doing said thing and that though it may feel burdensome or unpleasant now, it is actually a blessing.

Today is one of those types of posts.

A little over four months ago I lost my Aunt Natalie. Today would have been her birthday. Today it would be easy to be filled with sadness, but I refuse. Do I miss her? Of course. Nearly every day. But today I choose to remember the good.

We all make mistakes. We are a fallen people. At the end of your life, would you rather be remembered for the bad you did or the good? The good, of course.

So, this is how I choose to remember Natalie. She was a fun aunt. Visits with her were full of silly cat videos, stand up comedy, and always UNO. That was a must. These times were filled with silliness and laughter. I cherish these memories.

Today I am thankful for all those times and for my aunt. I am also thankful that Phill got to experience her and these times even though it was only once. I thank God that He orchestrated that visit especially.

I love you, Natalie.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

5 Good Things Happening in the World

I don't know about you, but this week has just felt like bad news after bad news after more bad news. I want to take a moment to highlight five good things happening in the world. I hope they remind you that despite the terrors going on in the world, there are still good things. Always remember to look for the good, my friends.

1) This one is for a friend. Happy 5th "transplantiversary" and being cancer free to my friend Erin. Yay!
2) A black man receives his diploma 55 years later "after being denied graduation for refusing to accept racism." Read more here.

3) There are brilliant little children in this world helping to make it a better place. For example, this little girl created a backpack to make it easier on children with cancer (such as herself) to go to school.

4) And here's another brilliant kid who created a foldable bedroom to help with disaster relief.

5) The Fields Award (the highest math honor) has been given to a woman for the first time.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Not all love is equal

There is much debate in recent days about love. Is there such thing as true love? Does love really last? And most recently... is all love equal?

To answer the last question: No. All love is not equal. Let me stop here and say this is not about homosexuality. That said, this was inspired by pro-homosexual marriage art. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, you know what it is and what is being said. Our homosexual brothers and sisters are saying, "We can love just like you do. All love is equal."

Like I said, I am not addressing that first claim. I do not have enough insight even into my best friend's life to know if she loves just like I love, so why would I make a judgement call about someone I do not know and how they love?

This is what I am disagreeing with: "All love is equal." Let me assure you, it is not.

See, I know that my parents love each other. They demonstrate it through many ways including kindness, communication, and commitment. I know many people deeply and romantically love another person. I think that's great. But such a love looks like hate compared to the love of just one other.

This love created you and me. This love gave us a way out and back into relationship when we cheated on him. This love has done this very thing a million times. And then, when his lover committed ultimate betrayal, he died for his lover anyway.

This love isn't full of mushy feelings and kisses and hugs. This love isn't a puppy love full of emotion. This love showed his lover how much he loves with his very life.

So, not all love is equal.

All human love, parental and romantic and friendship alike, pales in comparison to the love of this one.

So remember your true love, Jesus Christ, and know that he will love you more than any human could. He will love you when you turn around and betray him. He will love you enough to ask you to come back again and again and welcome you with open arms every time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crackling Trees

I woke up to crackling trees.

I didn't know what it was at first, but once I peered out my window and saw the clear blue sky and ice falling from the trees, it became pretty evident.

I've never been a winter-loving girl. Warm beaches and even hard work under a hot sun seem more appealing.  

So as I watch the sun melt the trees as they let the ice fall, I am reminded of the newness of life which this world and, most of all, our Heavenly Father brings.  

Life is always going to have its storms- even in Georgia! But the storm, the cold, the winter is never the end of the story. Spring always comes. With Spring comes new life. The plants begin to sprout flowers and leaves. The earth bursts in color. I just love Spring.  

This also proves true in our lives. Storms of many kinds come. Some stay only for a moment, others feel as if they will never end. But let me assure you, friend, Spring will come again. You will look outside and realize it's all melting away.  

You will hear the crackling of trees.  

"All around them, though out of sight, there were streams chattering, bubbling, splashing and even (in the distance) roaring. And his heart gave a great leap (though he hardly knew why) when he realised that the frost was over."
- C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Monday, January 13, 2014

Days 5 & 6

I am going to do a general synopsis of the past two days.

We have been to the Capitolino Museum and many beautiful museums, galleries, and churches. I will be honest & say I don't remember many of the names of the places, but they were all so beautiful.

In particular, today we went to one Church that took my breath away. The ceiling demonstrated Christ as a bright light with angels and people glowing in His light. Here is the amazing part: the artist went beyond just the main ceiling and spread it to the sides of the very top of the wall. Additionally, he painted on a very believable shadow from the light Jesus was casting. My description is awful but I hope you get the picture. It was wonderful.

Later, we went back to the Pantheon & got to see the beautiful sky in the big open dome. I continue to find it fascinating where the Catholic & old Roman god cultures have collided. So many temples like the Pantheon that were once dedicated to a roman god (or gods) are now churches for Jesus Christ.

As I was walking around these beautiful churches I realized something. These churches are beautiful & overwhelming. However, they will be like nothing compared to the glory we will find in heaven. What a wonderful thing to know.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rome Trip: Days 3&4

Day 3

Today we went to the Colloseum, the Roman Forum, and the Borghese Gallery.

You can almost feel the rich history in each of those places. Stepping into the Colloseum was like stepping into a history book except Much more interesting and I could touch the walls and columns myself.

There were many inscriptionsand carving in the walls including 3 very simple crosses. I find it amazing that the place that used to be used to torture & kill Christians has been made almost a Memorial for those people & a place to honor the faith. Such is true for much of Rome. What was once a pagan city full of idolatry & Persecution of Christians is now the place that has almost become the Christian (or at least Catholic) home.

Next, we went to the Roman Forum. It was quite beautiful as well. I find it fascinating how the culture behind the Roman gods integrated still into the faith here in Italy. Everything seemed to have some connection to Jupiter even in Christian faith settings. I guess it would be hard (and maybe even foolish) to erase & move on from that part of their history & culture. It is not like they are worshiped as gods anymore, but rather are symbols of power, stories, or simply heritage.

For example, we went to the Borghese Museum today. In it was a magnificent sculpture by Bernini depicting the story of Apollo & Daphne. The super short version is Apollo saw Daphne & fell in "love"(I use that word loosely here), but she did not love him too so tried to run away. In order to save her from being raped, her father transformed her into a beautiful Laurel Tree. The sculpture depicts her as she is being transformed right as Apollo has reached for her. She is beautiful and he looks amazingly stunned!

The point? Don't be fooled into following lustful desires. You may be surprised what you find when you do! So the gods? Of course not real.The moral lesson to be learned? Alive & well.

Day 4

The Vatican.

I need say no more! But I will anyway. However, I don't know what to say!

The are certain things so magnificent that there is no good way to describe them. Take the Sistine chapel for example.

Overwhelming. Amazing. Beautiful. I feel I should say more on the subject but all my words fall short.

However, I will continue my previous thought on how the merge of the Roman god culture & the Christian faith. There were many statues of Roman gods in the Vatican itself. Maybe it shouldn't have, but that surprised me!

How fascinating is it that the states commemorating the Roman gods sit In the same Museum for the faith & Jesus Christ. How interesting. Again, it is a huge part of the history & culture.

Another thing: I knew the Catholics have a huge amount of respect for Mary, but our tour guide made it sound like they believe she is sinless. Very interesting & strange to me. Does anyone know what is thu official Catholic belief on that? I would love to know.

Finally, we ended our day at the Pantheon after the sun had set. It was so grand and larger than life. It was so magnificent that it almost seemed unreal. Amazing.

I finally ended my evening with one of my best friends, a croissant, and a heavenly cappuccino. What a day.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rome Trip: Days 1&2

Days l and 2 felt like the same day so I am going to lump them together.

Day 1 we were on an airplane and day 2 we landed.Once we got on the bus we went on a driving tour through Rome with our tour guide. we got off a few times to look at churches. One in particular was incredible. It was the Santa Maria. It had beautiful Bernini sculptures and was more beautiful than I could possibly describe.  

We had the afternoon free so a group of us went walking around Rome. We ate delicious food and had some great gelato!  

The next few days we will be visiting the historic sites of Rome Including the Vatican. It's crazy to think that Peter & many other people in the Bible walked the same streets I will be walking the next few days. It's so humbling and brings a sense of connection to the fathers of our faith. When I go to the Vatican I will see the spot believed to be where Peter was crucified. Wow. Amazing that what was once a place of persecution for Christians is how a tiny country for the father of the Catholic church, God does work in mysterious ways! On a funny and similar note: our tour guide kept differentiating between "Christians" and "Protestants".  You know you're in a primary Catholic area when... :)

I'm so excited for what these next few days will bring.