Leila’s Story . . .
From Seedling to Flourishing plant!
Hey there friends! I’m so honored that you’ve taken a moment from your day to read my story. I pray that you’ll connect with something I’ve experienced and feel God’s love for you.
I’m a story-teller at heart . . . not sure why. Maybe because as a young girl, journaling and imagination offered a place of safety and a way to escape the often harsh realities of teenage life. My journal was like a best friend, and still is to this day.
I’m also a “country girl” at heart. . . love simplicity, God, family time, walking in nature, and torn jeans . . .
Ohhh, and I really love animals, especially dogs! I think they’re a perfect visual of God’s unconditional love! In fact, I’d go so far as to say that it was my first dog (as a little girl) that taught me the meaning of love!
That experience, many years later, led to writing a book called, Pawz and Pray, (and the 1st Blog I created also called Pawz and Pray) filled with stories and life-lessons learned from my dogs. This is a photo of me snuggling with my dog . . . soaking in unconditional love.
For most of my life, I never really knew who I was, nor my purpose, until I met Jesus. That was “day one” of my NEW LIFE, living forgiven, free, accepted, and perfectly loved! Ever since, I’ve felt like I’m holding a box of delicious, warm, chocolate chip cookies and feel compelled to share them with the world so that they too can “taste and see that the Lord is GOOD” ( Psalm 34:8).
I hope you like chocolate chip cookies my friends. I’ve got a whole bunch to share, and more cooking in the oven. So check back often, Subscribe to this blog, and grab a few more tasty morsels. . . Calorie FREE!
This is my story, a journey from seedling to flourishing plant . . .
A seed must die in order to bring forth life. So it was with me—dying to my will, my hopes and dreams, and dying daily to “self”. But God’s Word promised that if I let go of my life, I would find it (Matthew 10:39). Isn’t that what we all want? To find our “life”, our purpose and calling, our identity, and our voice?
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. —Galatians 2:20
A Tiny Seed . . .
As a young child growing up, I dreamed of becoming a professional ballerina and spent most of my waking hours training for that glorious day. But the road from dreams to reality was ridden with heartache, until the age of 16 when I discovered the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
I’ll never forget the day. A new journey began, one that is still unfolding before my eyes. Prior to discovering Christ, my story was one similar to millions around the world. I was lost in darkness, hopeless, and searching for significance and purpose. I saw my life, and the world around me through tainted glasses . . . tainted with brokenness, anxiety, and fear . But God found me (Hallelujah!) and brought me into His marvelous light!
This story begins, where the enemy of my soul got kicked out. Now I see myself (and the world around me) through eyes of love, and my heart is filled with HOPE, HEALING, AND HAPPINESS! Hence the tag line for the 2nd blog I created— Sunshine for the Soul!
After graduating from High School, I attended the University of Cincinnati (U.C.) as a Dance Major, and soon after I was offered a job with professional touring ballet company—It was my dream come true!
A sprout appears . . .
During my time at the ballet company, in the late 80’s, a Christian friend invited me to attend an Urbana Mission Conference. That was life changing, to say the least!
I came to understand that I was not on earth to fulfill “my” purposes and dreams, but the Lord’s.
I sensed the Lord wanted me to leave the ballet company and to ground myself in His Word. So I stepped out by faith and relinquished my dream to dance into His hands. I felt like a fish out of water without Ballet, but God had a plan . . .
I headed to Anderson University (A.U.) in Indiana to study Christian Education, and to seek His will for my life. While there, the most amazing thing happened! God gave back what I had entrusted to Him (dance), yet this time in a different and more powerful way!
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” —Psalm 37:4
Blossoms begin to form . . .
Long story short, I was invited to dance at the school chapel services. “Dancing for the Lord” was rare to non-existent at that time in most evangelical churches. It was so exciting to be able to share God’s love through the performing arts! Comments flooded in about how “powerful” it was to “see” the message come to life. Soon after, Gloria Gaither invited me to interpret “Eve” in the musical “In The Garden” (written by her and her husband Bill Gaither), at her church (1990). This is the video. I’m dancing the role of Eve and my partner is Adam. More doors opened for “dance ministry”. I was incredibly grateful to God for allowing me to serve Him doing what I loved.
The tiny seed I offered Him died, sprouted through its hard shell, and was now begining to bloom!
I graduated from Anderson University in 1992 with a Bachelors of Arts in Christian Education. That same year, I married my best friend in the world (Dominique), and now husband of 25 years. We moved to France and lived there 10 years. That is where I completed my Ballet teaching degree and then taught ballet for over 20 years, in France and later in the United States.
Since then, I’ve choreographed dances and mimes for churches, street evangelism, and missions trips in several countries. The highlight was being part of a dance team with Christian Sports Outreach International, traveling throughout Europe , and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ! I also trained, and served as a camp youth leader, with Ballet Magnificat (a professional Christian ballet company) at their summer dance intensive. I also trained with Todd and Marylin Farley (founders of Mimeistry), and traveled with the first USA National Mimeistry Tour Group (photo below) sharing God’s love through mime. This photo collage is from the missions trips.
Video—Leila performing as an angel in The Walls of Jericho with the Mimeistry International Troupe (1989).
A Flourishing Plant!
Dear friends, my story is not really unique. Millions of lives throughout history have been transformed through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. That is why, no matter how your story begins, with Christ, it always becomes A STORY OF HOPE!
Presently, I’m an author and publisher, freelance writer, blogger, and dog enthusiast at Grandville Cavaliers. I’m also super excited about my new book ( A Coloring Devotional) co-authored with my dear friend Nathalie Villeneuve called, Lord Help Me To Flourish.
I would like to thank you for connecting and sharing in my story. Together, let’s hold our dreams with open hands, allowing God to do with them as He wills — to shape, prune, and create beautiful blooms that would spread the sweet aroma of His love . . . everywhere we go, and in all we do.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him” (Romans 15:13).
Enjoy a music video that Leila choreographed and danced to share the hope of Christ. To view more DANCE MINISTRY VIDEOS by Leila visit this LINK.
- Lord, Help Me To Flourish. A Coloring Devotional
- My Beloved Dog Wellness Book, Veterinary Record Keeping & New Owner Resources
- Pawz and Pray, short reflections about God, life and the dogs I love!
- My Beloved Dogs, Record Keeping for the Canine Competitor and Multi-Dog Home
- A Breeder’s Companion, Record Keeping For Your Dogs’ Litters
- A Story of a Promising Puppy
- Un Petit Chien Plein De Promesses ( the french version of A Story Of A Promising Puppy)
- Reflections; A Devotional Inviting You On A Journey Towards Purity
Writing Awards and Nominations:
- 2013 —AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Public Service Award (DWAA); for the article,The BEST Gift You Will Ever Give Your Dog! published in The Royal Spaniels Magazine. Thank you to the Dog Writers Association of America and the American Kennel Club for this honor.
- 2014—Book Award Nomination; Pawz and Pray, Short Reflections about God, Life, and the Dogs I Love —Writing Competition, Dog Writers Association Of America (DWAA). Thank you DWAA for this honor.
- 2015—Book Award Nomination; A Breeder’s Companion, Record Keeping—Writing Competition, Dog Writers Association Of America (DWAA). Thank you DWAA for this honor.
- 2015—Award Nomination: The AdoptAShelter.com Adopt A Homesless Dog Award. Presented for the article, “That’s What Friends Are For” (Royal Spaniels Magazine). Thank you DWAA for this honor.
- 2015—Poetry Award Nomination: James Colasanti, Jr. Poetry Award. Presented for the poem, “That’s What Friends Are For” (Royal Spaniels Magazine). Thank you DWAA for this honor.
- Author, Publisher, free-lance writer, dog enthusiast.
- Published in the Royal Spaniels Magazine and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA National Bulletin.
- Exhibitor of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, AKC Breeder of Merit
- B.A. Christian Education, Anderson University
- English teacher in France, public and private schools
- Professional Ballet dancer and teacher. Earned Ballet teaching degree in Rouen France.
LEILA’S MINISTRY BIO:
- BA Christian Education—Anderson University
- Youth Leader—Kirkmont Presbyterian Church
- Urbana Missions Conference
- Ballet Magnificat Summer Intensive, and Camp Youth Counselor
- Mimeistry Summer Camps
- Mimeistry International Summer MinistryTour
- Choreographer and Dance Team Leader—European Mission Trip, Christian Sports Outreach International
- Profile of a Young Dancer—Leila was featured in the first series of a ChristianTelevision Program called The Real Winning Edge (Challenger Films)
- Choreographer and dancer for various churches (evangelistic outreach)—USA and abroad
- Taught worship dance and mime to youth and adults
- Choreographed and participated in dance/mime for street outreach
Leila’s blogs and web sites:
- Pawz & Pray —Dog related educational and inspirational articles, Blog. Founded in 2012
- Leila Grandemange— Sharing HOPE, Blog 2016
- SunnyVille Publishing— Leila’s Book. Founded in 2010
- Grandville Cavaliers — Founded in 2002. Exhibitor of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- Lost and Found Cavaliers Facebook page— Founded in 2014
- Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club USA
- Canine Freestyle Federation
All content © Leila Grandemange, LeilaGrandemange.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Short Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Leila Grandemange and LeilaGrandemange.com with appropriate and specific direction and Link Back to the original content. Thank you for your understanding. See Guidelines for Republishing.