Can.Do.

I can. I am. I do.
The past year I have tried to live consciously concerning myself with how I finish these sentences. Far to often I’ve allowed word combinations like “should have,” “could have,” “wouldn’t,” and ” what if?” dictate my thought patterns and actions. While reflecting on the past and anticipating the future have valid purposes, I have come to believe concentrating on how I am living in the present moment is of greater importance.
Life is an opportunity. It is a gift. HOW am I living? WHAT am I doing? WHAT can I do? Answering these questions changed my priorities.

I want to live with purpose. I want to act with intention. I want to see the unseen. I want to love the unloved. I want to serve others.

Currently, 598million individuals do not have access to clean water. Each day they walk for miles to bring home water for hydration, sanitation, hygiene. For those that search in vain–disease and death tolls constantly grow. For those that successfully meet their daily need, tomorrow brings the same challenge, and the next day and the next. Little time is left for education, household and community advancement, future opportunities.

I can’t end the clean water crisis. Not on my own.
But I CAN DO something.
I CAN run a marathon.
I CAN tell you about the clean water crisis
I CAN uncomfortably ask you to help.

$50 provides clean water for life.

I believe clean water is not a privilege, but a human right.
I believe clean water saves lives. Will you consider providing access for another?
Link-http://www.teamworldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=66531
Maybe you are working to make the world a better place in some other way–I support you. I want to hear about it! There is nothing more encouraging for me than hearing about HOW others are changing lives and communities. Never limit the extent of your reach because others are reaching too and suddenly the impact changes the world.

2017.

img_7773Hi and Happy New Year!
2016 was one of the most important and transforming years of my life. It began with a decision in early January to run the 2016 Chicago marathon for Team World Vision. In April I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and flew to California for a trapeze lesson (an item on my list of dreams.) While there, I was inspired to further develop my life goals list with raising $10,000 for Team World Vision claiming the #2 spot. My inner dialogue went something like this–
“Wow, that will be cool to pursue in a few years”
“Why wait?”
“This is crazy! There is no way I can do that right now!
“Why not?”
“I don’t know enough people and my social demographic consists of young professionals, college and graduate students”
“Excuses”
“Fine”
“Why NOT?”

$10,000 equates to 200 individuals with clean water access for life. Sustainable projects extending beyond collapsible wells and enabling community leadership to preserve and maintain is something I’m all about.

Clean water is a necessity I take for granted every day. Access to an unlimited supply has ensured I have every opportunity for hydration and am spared from the disease and death associated with unclean water. Unfortunately, this privilege is not granted to every life in our current world (hence why I use “privilege” in place of a spot I believe is best described by the definition of “human right”)

The journey to #200 was challenging, inspiring and life-changing. It was a leap outside my comfort zone and forced me to grow mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I grew in appreciation for my circumstances, I grew in physical and mental strength and stamina. I grew in the embrace of my limitations while embracing a limitless lifestyle through faith in the One above. I became more willing to ask for help, admit my weaknesses and more readily see the possibility in the word “WE

Afterall,
$10,000 didn’t happen because of ME.

Thanks to the compassion and generosity of 168 individuals from all over the world, 200 more individuals received clean water for life last year. As a team, this number climbed to 38,000.

INCREDIBLE. This number impacts CITIES, VILLAGES, and FAMILIES from an INDIVIDUAL core.
2017 is starting off with every impression of having an impact of similar caliber. I’ve signed up for both the Boston and NYC marathons with TWV in hopes of providing clean water to 100 more individuals, and raising $5,000 for child protection services.

I’ve never trained for two marathons in one year. I’ve never trained for a marathon in Winter. I’ve never trained for a marathon in another country (or LIVED in another country.) I’ve also never desired to run for causes more dear to my heart. Im thrilled to see what will happen, nervous about the challenges ahead and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to combine my passions for adventure, running, and helping the less fortunate in their most basic of needs.
Once again I realize I can’t meet these goals on my own but am ready and willing to move these clean water mountains (REALIZING the Man upstairs will orchestrate the move) Will you be a mountain mover too?

Go to teamworldvision.org to learn more about their clean water projects. Search for “Leah Nichols” in the fundraiser search tab to join me in fighting against the clean water crisis.

Cheers!

242.196.118.39

Earlier this week my roommate greeted me at the door with a huge, inviting hug. I backed out of it. “Wow, I rarely ever see you grumpy” was his comment. Instantly I was filled with remorse. How many people receive that kind of loving “welcome home” greeting?

“I feel like I’m shriveling up inside.” I said. “I feel as though parts of me, some of the best parts of me, are shutting down, closing up, dying.” For the next 30 min my roommate listened as I spilled my soul. Transitions are difficult times for me, I don’t cope with the stress well. I struggle to adjust to new semesters, new clinical’s, new schedules, new expectations. Two and a half weeks ago I transitioned into a new clinical…its been hard to catch my breath since. I have felt myself closing up and growing distant from friendships, self-love, and the optimism I characteristically live my life by.

I have been shutting down the parts of me that make me uniquely LEAH.

My capacity to befriend and love others AND myself shrinks. My capacity to live with a sense of ambition and adventure , my willingness to dive into different experiences, dwindles.

“Priorities” my roommate said. “You need to set priorities so you don’t feel swallowed up on everything you are juggling.”

As C.S. Lewis once said (and my mother reminded me ❤️) — “the moment you wake up each morning… All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that Other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing through.”

Listening. Surrendering. Because when I cannot, He can.

My days are full. My life is busy.

 I am privileged. I am blessed.

I am GRATEFUL for a clinical experience that exposes me to some of the most complex cases while under the supervision of some of the most incredible therapists. 

I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity to combine my passion for running with my passion for helping the least of these in a tangible, meaningful, life-changing way. 

I am grateful for an understanding and thoughtful roommate, for generous donors, for the opportunity to hug my Mom in just 39 days. 

I am grateful that even though sleep evades me this evening, there is a pot of coffee on autopour for my 4:30am alarm. 
I am especially grateful that somehow, someway, the tasks of EACH day are completed in some shape or form…and I owe it all to the One who promises to give me the strength I need for whatever comes my way. 

242 days till graduation.

39 days till the marathon. 

Roughly 169 more training miles till I cross that start line. 

118 lives still waiting for clean water. 

Time helps shrink some of these numberical goals, but access to clean water comes only from taking action. Together, we can provide for the hydration, sanitation and hygiene of 200 individuals. The combination of our efforts will forever change a PERSON, a FAMILY, a COMMUNITY. 

Will you join me?

Teamworldvision.org. Search Leah Nichols. 

Asking.

Isn’t it funny how our greatest strength often functions as our greatest crutch? This seemingly oxymoron is quite true in my own life. One of my strengths is embracing adventure and new life experiences. However this sense of independence has not always been positive in my development.
My independence is a mask.
It took me awhile to face that unnerving fact. Hidden behind my adventurous, “can do” attitude is an unhealthy combination of fear, pain, and pride. One of the hardest things was realizing my vulnerability and need for others. Asking for help has never been something that comes naturally to me.

 

But we weren’t designed to have it all together and be invincible. Uniquely equipped with different skill-sets, we were built to rely on and help one another. This give-and-take model balances our inherent need for relationships and community. It took me a longtime to discover this truth and realize it was not healthy to continue to keep others at arm’s length.

 On my first 18 mile run last year—I just wanted to quit. It hurt. I was hot, tired and unmotivated. I needed support. I finally spoke up and admitted to my friend and running partner, Steven Rexroth, that I was struggling. Instead of running ahead as he so easily could have done, Steven stayed right by my side, attempted to distract me from my momentary pain and gave me the encouragement I needed to finish. He was also the first person to high-five me with congratulations when I completed an awesome 20miler run the next week.

There is an African proverb Team World Vision uses often simply states “If you want to go FAST, go alone. If you want to go FARTHER, go TOGETHER.” While this clearly applies to the challenge of running 26.2 miles, we have to recognize it also clearly applies to LIFE. Life is a journey, far more like a marathon than a short sprint. We all need each other as we face life’s hurdles and valleys.

 

So I’ve done one marathon.

I’m learning how to ask for help and support.

It doesn’t mean either are easy or a breeze for me.

This marathon season I went for a life goal -$10,000, 200 lives. Not only am I challenging myself physically, I continue to challenge myself to live vulnerably, humbly, honestly. I can’t run 26.2 miles without the cheers of the crowd and support of my team. I can’t raise $10,000 wishing on a cloud. So here I am on a journey of growth—and guess what?? I am continually blown away by the generosity and support of others who have already helped me raise 28% of my fundraising goal! With $7200 left to go, will you help me complete this goal? Let’s bring clean water to each and everyone!
Search teamworldvision.org->Leah Nichols. I’ll be there waiting, training, and asking.